Update on Landscaping of Fenced Yards
Background. In January 2022, the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) stopped providing mowing and pruning services to fenced yards throughout New Town. This decision was based upon our governing documents which contain language prohibiting:
"mowing, edging and trimming of grass within portions of lots inside a fenced area," and
"trimming of shrubs, trees and bushes within portions of lots located inside a fenced area."
Not all of the ten supplemental documents that established the Charlotte Park neighborhood included this language. This statement was missing in Supplemental Declarations 1, 2, 3, and 4. In fact, landscaping was not even addressed in the first four Charlotte Park supplementals.
The 2021 Board requested legal guidance on this overall issue and the specific Charlotte Park inconsistency. Legal counsel advised that the missing section in the first four supplementals was likely the result of a developer oversight and that the Board should follow the intent of the majority of the supplemental documents and provide landscaping for all homes in Charlotte Park with the exception of areas that were fenced. Legal counsel emphasized the fact that the NTRA Board must follow the Association’s governing documents.
As a result, in 2022 the NTRA Board ceased providing mowing, edging, and trimming of grass and pruning services in fenced yards throughout our community even though the Developer Boards of Directors had consistently provided this service to fenced areas. The past actions by the developer-controlled Board of Directors, multiple inconsistent HOA documents, and much misinformation became and continues to be a very contentious issue in New Town. It needed positive resolution.
The NTRA Homeowner Board of Directors attempted to resolve this issue by developing and presenting a revised set of governing documents to owners in 2022 that would have provided landscaping services throughout New Town without regard to fencing. Unfortunately, although the vote in favor was very close, these votes did not reach the needed two-thirds of owners needed to pass the revised documents.
The interim solution. The current NTRA Board of Directors has found a work around that comports with our governing documents and provides full landscaping services for fenced yards. This workaround treats fenced yards as a “limited common area” and allows the Association to collect a special services assessment from homeowners with fences under the provisions of Article 5.3(c)(2)(ii) or (v) of our Master Declaration and to use that assessment for the limited purpose of providing mowing, edging, and trimming of grass and pruning services in fenced areas.
Since we are at the last quarterly assessment payment this year, a limited common assessment of $6.00 per service (each cut) will be charged with payment deferred to 2024 for those homeowners who wish to begin receiving landscaping services of their fenced yards for the rest of this calendar year.
For 2024, a limited common area assessment will also be an option for homeowners desiring full landscaping services inside the fenced portions of their property. This temporary solution meets the requirements of our documents and at the same time provides full landscaping services to the fenced yards as desired by many of our homeowners.
Landscaping of fenced yards in New Town has been a very contentious issue over the past two and a half years. Your NTRA Board of Directors hopes that its temporary solution to the fenced yard landscaping problem will help unite New Town and restore harmony to our community. It is, however, only a temporary solution that will be used until the NTRA can pass new HOA documents that do not prohibit the full landscaping of fenced areas.
. Another effort to pass new documents will begin in the near future. The existing draft revised documents will be used as a starting point for new HOA documents that remove developer language, clarify ambiguities and allow flexibility for future NTRA Boards of Directors. If you are interested in reviewing these drafts and making recommendations for changes, please make your interest known to the NTRA Board of Directors (firstname.lastname@example.org
). We would like to have new draft documents completed and ready for a vote by late spring/early summer 2024.
Be assured that your NTRA Board of Directors is committed to solving problems and serving the NTRA’s best interests. Our goal is to continue improving New Town with your help. Together, we can keep it excellent place in which to live.