The new entrance landscaping is starting to bloom out now and more landscaping renovations continue. The changes and improvements are becoming very noticeable. The professional landscapers are doing a great job and moving forward as the sprinkler company is able to renovate our defunct sprinkler system one controller at a time and one area at a time. New borders are visible at the clubhouse and the playground is undergoing renovation to ensure a safe and fire-ant free area for children to enjoy themselves. The new lighting system is almost complete with attention now on the dark area where the playground tunnels and equipment are placed. After full renovation, the security perimeter fencing will be next. Interestingly, I see old board minutes referring to these problems from long ago (A YEAR+) but it is only now we have finished them and addressed them all.
The clubhouse now has ‘nest’ system for the AC which saves us money and regulates our system. This feature plus the new LED lighting system will substantially save us money. The board has cut the operating budget by thousands monthly while substantially improving our assets and value this year.
Thanks to the board members who have easily devoted forty and fifty volunteer hours weekly for a year and a half now. Board members receive NO compensation for their duty. It is a commitment of great sacrifice and loyalty to the community. The ONLY ABSOLUTE DUTY of any board member is to ENSURE the governing documents of the community (CCR’s) are ENFORCED and thereby to retain property value for the community. A board member who takes this position and does NOT enforce the documents as they are written is in violation and breach of their fiduciary duty. Board members are required to go through board training and required to study the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of the community. Our CCR’s are the ‘rule and law’ of our community (to quote our HOA Attorney). Homeowners are encouraged to study them as well to avoid violation notices and subsequent fines for not following the written rules.
The rules of our community are no different than the rules for city roads. If you drive 100mph down a 70mph road, you will get a ticket. The same types of fines are written into our governing documents. Everything you need to know about how to live peacefully in the Parks of Deer Creek Homeowners Association, Inc. is in the CCR’s. The process for any modification to your home is identified, what to do and how to do it. Additionally, the process for violations to the CCR’s is defined as well, and the fining policies are clear. Acquaint yourself with the rule and law of the community and follow it. ALL modification requests which comply with the governing documents will be approved. Modifications done without submission will be in violation and will be subject to being fined.
There seems to be a lot of misinformation in this community. The biggest culprit of misinformation is unapproved social media where people write information which is not true and has no basis in truth. I continue to repeat the ONLY source of correct information is our APPROVED COMMUNITY WEBSITE: http://www.parksofdeercreek.com or http://www.parksofdeercreek.net (on the marquee). Additionally, the ONLY SOURCE of TRUTH is the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Again, this is the ‘rule and law’ of our community.
Board members do NOT change the rules. Board members do NOT write the rules. Board members only have a DUTY TO ENFORCE the rules which are already written. The CCR’s were written and filed of record with Tarrant County Court in December, 1999. They have NOT CHANGED SINCE then.
To dispel some of the misinformed rumors which swirl on social media:
The HOA cannot be dissolved with a petition.
The HOA is a corporation and is made up of members of homeowners who own a lot and parcel in the community identified in the association. To dissolve an HOA there would have to be a unanimous 100% vote of all homeowners to do so. But even with such, bigger hurdles exist which cannot be jumped. The City of Fort Worth would have to agree to ‘take back’ all of the property in the community which belongs to the HOA. The City of Fort Worth now requires ALL developers in Tarrant County to establish an HOA and to identify city rules and regulations within the documents. The City encourages HOA communities and would have no interest in dissolving any of them. Furthermore, every mortgage on every home in the community would have to release the HOA from the loan. That would be a refinance and would lower the value of the home with the loss of the HOA. The lenders are not going to agree to that either. Consider there are 858 homes in this community and you can begin to see how ineffective that idea becomes. It appears working WITH the HOA is a better idea than working against it. The FACT remains you purchased a home within an HOA and it is a contract wherein you agreed to follow the covenants. It is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the covenants you agreed to follow to ensure peaceful coexistence within the community. That is, after all, the design…TO WORK FOR EVERYONE’S BENEFIT AND VALUE.
One cannot change the rules by electing new board members.
As stated before, a board member’s DUTY is to enforce the CCRs and thereby retain property value. That is the purpose of the HOA. It is unfortunate this community has operated with some inexperienced board members in the past. As a result, previous management companies somewhat ‘ran over’ the board here without direction or focus. With all respect to previous board members, they just didn’t have the experience to set off their alarms. We are doing what we can to build a solid foundation now for this community with a solid experienced well known management company with experience in understanding governing documents and policy. As mentioned before, we now have our own HOA Attorney which works FOR THE ASSOCIATION. When we have questions, we go to our attorney and then we inform management how to proceed. In previous years, the association was left without representation and subjected only to the legal representation hired for management. This circumstance left the association at the mercy of management without focused direction. Furthermore, management was working towards its own interest rather than the interest of the association. A board position is not to be taken lightly. It requires diligence, effort, availability at inconvenient times, and a willingness to study and learn. Even after studying the governing documents twenty times, there are still questions which require a conference with the HOA attorney to clearly comprehend to always do the ‘right thing’. We are doing everything we can to establish a strong footing to ensure the next generation of board members will have the training, support and necessary tools to effectively perform fiduciary duty in the future with availability of legal training to help them do what is required. We want our community to continue to grow to its greatest value and be an enjoyable, safe and beautiful place in which to reside, raise families and make lifelong friends.
Changing existing Bylaws requires a very large community vote.
The documents explain the process. If you don’t like the governing documents, get involved and learn about them. Learn why they exist and what they mean. Involve yourself in your community. Recognize it is important to honor what we have while working to make things better. In the case of a conflict between Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation, the Articles control. In the case of a conflict between Bylaws and the Declaration, the Declaration controls. Any change in Bylaws requires a two/third majority vote. In our community, we have 858 homes. That equals a need for a vote from 572 homeowners all in agreement. I encourage you to encourage your friends and neighbors to become involved in the community. We are lucky to have twenty-five homeowners at the meetings. As you can see, we have a LONG WAY to go.
The ONE THING everyone in this community has IN COMMON is we are ALL homeowners in the association. No matter your heritage, your sex, your religious preference or what you do for a living, we ALL have the best interest of our community and our property value in common. We will continue to build on our common solid foundation to make our community the best it can become.
Before closing, I want to address other misperceptions about board meetings. The monthly board meetings are held to give the board time to address the business of the community. There is a closed session first which contains sensitive material which by Texas Law is considered private. The next part of the meeting is ‘open’ and this is the opportunity the board gives to the community to ‘observe’ the business of the association. If there is time at the end of an ‘open’ meeting, the board, at its discretion, may elect to have a question and answer period.
An ‘open’ meeting is NOT the time or place to contest or complain regarding violations you may have received. Quite the contrary, these violations MUST be addressed in a CLOSED meeting due to the Texas Property Code 209 rule regarding privacy of homeowners. If you want to address the board, the procedure is IN THE DOCUMENTS. Write a note to the board describing what you wish to address. Send it at least three to four weeks prior to an upcoming board meeting; the documents state you MUST receive a confirmation of your request IN WRITING TWO WEEKS PRIOR to the board meeting.
Decorum is mandatory. Meetings which are ‘out of order’ will be promptly closed and everyone will be asked to leave. Remember, the board works FOR the community and does so in a voluntary capacity. It is very demanding and we do our best to cover as much as possible in the monthly board meetings. We have tried holding ‘other’ meetings designed to bring the community together; however, they have not been successful. It is our deepest desire to encourage people in our community to engage in helping the community grow. Please do not come to a meeting only to complain. Please get involved to help make things better and understand how you can do just that. Please consider joining a committee. Getting involved is the answer, not complaining from a distance.
Happy Fall. Deborah Danilow, President, PDC HOA BOD