Detention Pond Feedback

Name Date Resident Detention Pond Feedback
Susan Keever 11/5/2014 I'm actually still not sure if I'm considered a "pond owner" or not. If I'm interpreting the slides correctly, we have an access easement on our property but no part of the actual pond. I would greatly appreciate if someone would clarify that for me - is 400 Welwyn considered one of the "29" pond owners? Thank you for the highly informative slides depicting the location and current state of all the ponds. I am in agreement with the current recommendation for the HOA to assume responsibilty. This seems to be a community wide issue not just one for those homeowners with ponds and the bordering properties. Once the areas are brought up to standards, it then also seems fair to ask the 'pond owners' to assist in keeping the areas clear from new growth and debris.
Debbie Hatsen 11/5/2014 We support the City of Alpharetta belief that full responsibility for the maintenance of the detention areas should be with the homeowner's assoc. These areas exist solely for the benefit of the neighborhood and the homeowners receive no benefit individually whatsoever. I have heard the argument that they enjoy enhanced privacy. Once all the trees are taken down all they will be left with is an ugly chainlink fence and an eyesore as it was 24 years ago. These people do not even have access to the property in question as the property is behind a locked fence. In the event that they are held responsible, their home values will go down and lower the comps for the entire neighborhood. Would you buy a home with a large chunk of land that you are responsible to maintain but are never able to use? This neighborhood is so concerned with appearances (covenants, new street signs, new entrance signs). Now it needs to be equally concerned and willing to spend the funds to address the infrastructure that we all rely on.
Art Formento 11/5/2014 1. Alpharetta City should play a major role in the work that is required for the PONDS. The meeting with Alpharetta should simply let them know that we do not have the support from our community to utilize community funds without Alpharetta contribution. If they makes promises of assistance in any form it needs to be in writing with financial cost estimates that will show the members of the HOA how much is Alpharetta contribution vs Tuxford. 2. As the ponds (property) belong to each home owner HOA must take ownership of these ponds if the HOA is spending community monies now and later maint. How can we provide funds to someone else's property? 3. I think we can agree that the HOA should assist if after all other efforts have been exhausted. I am just not convinced we are ready this move at this point. 4. Lastly, any home owner that is not a member of the HOA must take equal ownership. Does this mean a lean on their property or legal action but we all should feel the pain to feel the benefit. Thanks so much for the board effort to try and resolve. Understanding that you are volunteers not paid employees of this community. You are important and I recognize this as many others do as well.
Randy Michael 11/5/2014 The Board needs to focus upon getting the city involved to correct whatever is deemed necessary and stop any discussion, decision or activity that could be seem by the city that the HOA is willing and prepared to assume responsibility. This only weakens our position with the city and is not in the best interests of pond owners or non pond owners. We also need to accept that since the HOA does in fact benefit from these ponds, the HOA must SHARE with the owners of this property the responsibility for their maintenance. The plan as presented has us giving into an expensive obligation, both immediately for the $200k initial work and the future maintenance. We have no obligation as I see it to take this on. And I do not believe adequate discussions with the City have taken place. What analysis has been done on the cost of mounting a legal challenge to force the City to take responsibility? With the City's responsibility for the Tuxford road maintenance, management of storm water should be included. Roads and hard surfaces are the primary cause of water runoff that must be captured with a controlled release into streams. This is a typical arrangement for any hard surfaces. So I believe the City may have taken over responsibility for drainage management by virtue of their responsibility for the street. I recommend that no vote be taken on December 15. And that no vote be taken until such time as all discussions/negotiations with the City have been exhausted. To vote now, and possibly take on this obligation, is wrong. Where I work it would get me fired. There is no time deadline and a delay will cause no harm. Why is this being rushed and ramrodded?
Dan Lewis 11/5/2014 I do not think HOA funds should be 100% responsible for those retention ponds because not every household is affected by weathered & deteriorating ponds. An optional donation from Tuxford property owners should be fair enough. Let the owners of the ponds, those who "care deeply" about those ponds, and those who are affected by the weather consequences of deteriorating ponds near their property be the ones to pay more for the restoration & upkeep. Permission to use the money of others should be considered a priority.
Frank Rizzo 11/5/2014 We have not seen any reason that the HOA would pay for the ponds. Please explain why it is HOA's responsibility to pay for the maintenance of property they do not own. Also, the significant and consistent increase in dues over the last few years which might now be being put towards someone else's property should be against the law. If there is $200,000 in the HOA, why is it necessary to keep raising the dues? To give it away and in turn make us responsible for future pond mantenance bills? We are not a charity and we are not a "rich" neighborhood.
Steve Keller 11/5/2014 1. I think the plan submitted by the board is generally good. 2. I believe we should first exhaust ALL efforts to include the city and county in the effort and expense of detention area restoration before we begin any work. We need to hear an OFFICIAL YES or NO from those two governments before any work is started 3. I respect the decision of a couple Tuxford residents to not join the HOA 4. I encourage to board to significantly increase the HOA initiation fee for buyers of property now owned by non members and also allow those non members to become members with no penalty 5. I believe the wet detention area should be the responsibility of residents that own the "lake"
Gina Rosen 11/6/2014 Hello, I have been a resident of Tuxford since March of 2014. I enjoy the community and having served on an HOA Board in the past, I sincerely appreciate the time and work involved in serving on the Board so thank you for that. Having said that, I have reviewed the presentation on the proposed plan for the detention ponds and reviewed several emails on the matter. After evaluating this data, I'm in favor of taking an alternate approach to the one proposed. I would like to see our HOA attempt to negotiate with the City of Alpharetta *first* instead of immediately pushing forward with remediation. Doing so erodes our negotiating arm as it's unlikely The City will offer assistance if they see the Tuxford HOA is already willing and able to pay for these high dollar cost events. Last I checked we all pay The City of Alpharetta taxes in addition to Fulton County taxes so it seems more than reasonable to approach those entities on the matter. Ultimately, the issue needs to be addressed. I just disagree with the recommended approach. Taking full responsibility for remediation & ongoing maintenance is the worst case financial scenario and one that I think is unwise to start with. I'm also concerned that the Board would move forward with such a costly solution without soliciting a majority vote of the HOA. I am also willing to assist in any way I can as I imagine this will take a lot of work. Thanks for your time and consideration. Gina
Jennifer Dwyer 11/6/2014 Certainly an issue we need to bring to resolution, but timing does not seem critical. To bring to resolution I feel the HOA should pay the $200K to bring the ponds up to the standard mentioned. I don't see the pond owners paying today an unexpected expense that is not critical. I do feel the Pond Owners must have some additional cost as they get more value than the typical Tuxford resident. So if the HOA pays 100% than going forward the pond owners should pay a certain amount in a special assessment for forward maintenance. If the cost yearly for instance was $2000 then the pond owners should pay a certain percentage for instance 25% of that cost in addition to the Tuxford HOA assessment. This would be an additional $17.25 for the pond owners each year. Not a big expense, however, in the future if more needs to be done then we should have a legal agreement and the HOA should be able to put a lien on a pond owner that does not pay the special assessment so eventual the HOA gets it's money. I would think the pond owners would accept this arrangement so they could bring this to resolution. All the Pond owners that own a pond would have to agree and sign the legal document before the HOA releases money for that pond to be brought up to the standard.
Wayne Borysewicz 11/6/2014 We agree that any and all discussions with the City of Alpharetta need to take place before the HOA decision is made. I do favor the direction the Board is going, but the Board's timeline is too brief. The storm water drainage comes from the entire Tuxford neighborhood and should be a "SHARED" responsibility. Without the storm water drainage system where would the "non pond owners" put THEIR storm water? It is unfortunate that the drain/detention pond integrity has deteriorated to a point that it needs major work and a high cost to correct, but the present condition is do to lack of upkeep and lack of assumption of responsibility. After reading the city ordinances I do believe, as I think you do, the City of Alpharetta would prevail in this dispute, but I also see a big divide in this community which I, as a new resident, find very unsettling. I pay taxes and insurance for property which is unusable and has us holding an uncomfortable liability related to the pond. We would favor contributions of materials and services from the City of Alpharetta, and would be very willing to contribute " sweat equity" in this project. Good luck!
Matthew Walker 11/6/2014 This needs to be settled by an outside party. It reeks of cocktail party handshakes, winks and nods. I hope it is not lost on the neighborhood that the board has been busy pushing through pet projects at great expense for the last 5 years while this issue was on the table. It does not take that long to get a legal opinion and make some clear cut recommendations to the neighborhood. And clearly this issue has already increased our dues, that is why the board has enough right now to fund it. It is all baked in. I hope the board makes the appropriate decision to get some outside help on this. It is also an issue that deserves a full 100% vote by every resident of this neighborhood.
Don Hoffman 11/6/2014 How do we all see the comments and questions being posted by our neighbors?
Greg Genske 11/6/2014 I am extremely concerned that the board has determined to make the final vote on this issue rather than to put it out for a vote by the membership. According to the bylaws, the board cannot borrow funds over $10K without a membership vote. The expenditure of $200K exceeds the spending authority of the board.
Jennifer Dwyer 11/7/2014 I sent in my comments and wanted to add that I believe all home owners should vote on any resolution. This should not be just a board decision as the committee apparently did not represent all home owners throughout the entire process as had previously thought.
Jay Weiser 11/7/2014 After reading through the content, I believe the HOA must take all possible steps to involve the City of Alpharetta and Fulton County and engage them in this discussion. This is a huge tax on our HOA and homeowners. I think we need to pursue this as far as we can. Second, if this falls back to HOA I think there needs to be some additional commitment from 29 property owners - especially if they owned the property prior to the homeowners association when they were in fact liable. The solution needs to be made far for all parties and the current proposal does not address these issues.
Jon Heibel 11/8/2014 Can I please get an estimate for each pond. The only cost I am seeing and hearing about is the total cost for all ponds. Also, off topic. Can we please turn the Christmas lights off at the front entrance until after Thanksgiving. We appear to be the only subdivision with them currently on.
Jack Calhoun 11/9/2014 Each homeowner family (with 5 exceptions) is the HOA. There is no magic here no pot of money that comes from anywhere but US. The board acts on behalf of all Tuxford residents who are members we elected them. We are a neighborhood that has a place in a larger community; joined and governed by rules, ordinances and laws and have responsibilities individually; collectively. Not everyone will be satisfied with the final plan, financing and timeline. Someone once said you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Some detail was glossed over in the timeline, i.e. the action by the homeowners on the wet pond to dissolve a specific and discrete set of covenants that applied to the pond itself and pond use, maintenance and repairs, liability, etc. The original covenant document specifically defined the property on the wet pond as Lake Lotsand recognized the incremental value that being on the lake provided to the homeowners. The dissolution of this set of covenants was done early in 2009. The timing on this coincided with a 20 year review of those covenants, however, it also aligned with the ordinance in 2008 and the announcement of the major work needed. NOTE “5 years have passed since that happening. These ponds “ wet and dry “ are acknowledged: 1. to be required by Fulton County. City ordinance says the HOA is responsible for them 2. to be privately owned by the homeowners that live on them 3. to provide a needed function to help control the velocity of storm water release to Long Indian Creek and also Big Creek. They do nothing to control volume of storm water Mother Nature is in charge of that. 4. to control flooding that could show up in our basements during heavy rains We all need these ponds however, the HOA does not own the land. We should be careful in accepting responsibility to maintain any homeowner's property. This has the potential to set a precedent for future situations that might not be as compelling on a community level. As far as the accounting summarized in the presentation: 1. We're fortunate to have a reserve that will cover the 5-year plan proposed. 2. If we take on the major work to bring the ponds into compliance this should NOT be a beatification project we are making these ponds functional, safe and keeping us in harmony with a larger system and the city. We need clarification on ownership, responsibility and access. 3. On-going maintenance should NOT be the responsibility of the HOA. Each owner MUST maintain their own land, property, fencing, etc. We need to present a common voice to Alpharetta we are stronger as a group than we could ever be as 29 pond owners or 386 homeowners. We need to hear from our city, how will they help pretty sure it won't be with a check for the work, but they could offer help that would reduce our cash outlay materials, labor, etc. While the thinly veiled potential of prolonged battles was duly noted, I'm hoping we can get there without everybody hiring their own attorney that would be a tragedy for all.
Bob White 11/9/2014 I agree with the majority of the comments on this page supporting a full vote of the membership on this issue. To do otherwise seems foolish. As well, what is the City Ordinance. I would like to seek my own legal opinion. Finally, Can someone PLEASE explain to me why we would not at least attempt to engage the City and County in this issue? It would seem like we would have very little to lose and much to gain with this strategy? At best, we could get some assistance; at worst, the HOA would need to shoulder the responsibility - a position the Board seems to think is the best solution anyway?
Bob White  11/9/2014 And, one other question: If Fulton county was initially responsible for the maintenance of the ponds AND DID NOTHING FOR OVER 20 YEARS isn't there some way we can sue for some participation?
Bob Pracht 11/9/2014 Sounds like a bunch of 10 year olds fighting over whose bat and ball it is. Why are you not negotiating with the City of Alpharetta over splitting the cost of updating and maintaining the ponds. It seems that any money at all contributed by the City would be to our benefit. But if the board refuses to even talk to the city then it seems that the property owners who own property on the ponds are responsible for the cost. They bought the property with full knowledge that the retention pond was there and some day circumstances would change to make them to a degree responsible for any thing on your property. But again, in my mind, the home owners and the HOA should talking with the city and the county for them to foot, at least partially, a major part of the bill.
Dan Mayville 11/9/2014 I'm not convinced that we should let Fulton County or Alpharetta off the hook so easily and trip all over ourselves to resolve the issue. In my opinion, Alpharetta began the negotiation by notifying us that the HOA has to bring the retention ponds up to code. The exorbitant cost to accomplish that is the result of County/City negligence. Neither the County nor the City have granted us access (or done their job to maintain them). Let's make it clear that Fulton/Alpharetta are responsible for the current state of our retention ponds. It should be noted that the wet pond is in much better shape than the other two retention ponds because owners have taken advantage of their access to maintain them. That's the argument we present to the City: Had we had access, those owners would have taken similar measures on the other two retention ponds. We should also push for a longer timeframe to get things back in order. They haven't been maintained for 25 years; we should get 10-15 years to bring them back into order, so long as we demonstrate progress each year. Throwing money at it to get it done sooner is the last thing we should do. Once the City has made their contribution to the remediation of our retention ponds, we should assess the remainder of work to be done and come up with the contribution from the HOA to complete the effort. Going forward, there should be a plan for granting access so that home owners are able to maintain them. I don't think it is necessary for the HOA to take on recurring maintenance of either the retention ponds or the numerous drainage ditches that support our neighborhood, but I also don't think we have a clear enough understanding for what that "annual maintenance' would look like and for that reason, we aren't ready to make a decision on that part of the issue.
Erin Owens 11/9/2014 I am in favor of the recommendation given by the Board as long as we continue to pursue what ever actions are available to us with Alpharetta or Fulton County. One clarifying point, although my wife and I are detention pond owners (new to the community), the current state of our small area of the detention pond is in good condition. Can someone explain the logic behind why we continue to group this issue into 2 groups.... Pond owners and non-pond owners..... There are multiple ponds in this community that require different levels of remediation. I don't think it is reasonable to combine all the costs related to these ponds and expect that the pond owners will share these costs evenly.
Christine Cavin 11/9/2014 We support the current process the board is following, the initial recommendation from the committee, and the City of Alpharetta's belief that full responsibility for the maintenance of the detention areas should be that of the HOA. I also support further negotiations with the city as stated in the recommendation to see what help they will provide. To believe that individual homeowners should be responsible for maintaining such a critical part of the community's storm water management program is like asking individuals to maintain fire hydrants and emergency sirens. I don't feel comfortable relying on an individual to properly maintain such utility structures that we all rely on. I personally know someone who had their home flooded and lost many of their personal belongings because of the failure of a storm water management system "upstream" from their home. We don't want this for anyone in our community, and it is further evidence to me that we all benefit from these structures, even if we don't live near them.
Marty Bohan 11/10/2014 I support a general membership vote on this matter. It is too large and complex to leave to a committee. The committee has done good work accumulating and disseminating information. Currently I have no more say in the matter than non member pond owners who benefit most from the current recommendation. You claim a vote is not necessary because it's simply complying with the ordinance. At other points you mention the legal opinion that the ordinance is unenforceable. I also agree with the concept that pond owners should participate more than the current recommendation. They are the greatest beneficiaries and should shoulder more of the cost. The "culvert" owners that spoke raise good points about their responsibilities an and not burdening the board or membership with their costs. I recognize their is not an ordinance on this making it different. I think the concept of what's fair and equitable for them in light of this has been pushed aside
Tim Carpenter 11/10/2014 Please post the ordinance as has been requested several times now. I am perplexed by the lack of action in this area. I brought it up at the meeting and I have made a comment about it on the message board. If you really think the neighborhood will be acting illegally by not maintaining these detention areas, then I recommend you show just how clear the Alpharetta ordinance is. As long as you operate in secrecy, your motives will be questioned. Put everything out there! I appreciate the work you have done on this. I well know what a challenging issue this is and I am willing to help these property owners in some way. I just don't think the HOA should foot the entire bill. The ordinance by the way does clearly spell out that the owners of the property are responsible for maintaining easements. Put the vote to the community please. It appears there's enough apathy in Tuxford where your resolution would pass as is. You really have nothing to lose by allowing the vote. Those of us who disagree with you would have to move on then.
Sokol Xhemali 11/10/2014 As you mentioned in your background information, Tuxford HOA is an exception to the Alpharetta law. HOA does not own the properties. 29 Owners have the property right to the ponds. There is no citation from the city of Alpharetta at this time. There is no emergency maintenance required at the moment. That allows the board to work closely with the city of Alpharetta and Tuxford resident to resolve the issue. Why is the board rushing to accept full responsibility for the ponds maintenance? The resignation of two committee members should have served as a warning to the board that the committee was not functioning properly. Why did the board accepted the committee suggestions when it knew that residents were not represented equally in it? All Tuxford residents voice should be heard. The financial impact of maintaining the detention ponds is great for HOA and residents. This issue requires the vote of all residents. We urge the Board to listen to all Tuxford residents and allow them to vote on the issue. Why is the board reluctant to hear the voice of the residents? If the Board accepts 100% responsibility for maintenance of the ponds, will they become common property for all residents to use? Thank you, Aida and Sokol Xhemali
Don Hoffman 11/10/2014 Is it really true that back in back in 2009 there was a group of pond owners who actually met with the City of Alpharetta and tried to get the City to muscle the Tuxford HOA to accept responsibility for the ponds? A former board member is also claiming that these pond owners actually used the CMA lawyer who billed the time to the HOA. Please tell me that our neighbors really did not do this.
Ron Gonyea 11/12/2014 Before any decisions can be made by the neighborhood and the board, we have got to meet with the city of Alpharetta and learn what kind of financial commitment they would make. At that point we would have a much better understanding of the financial outlay that will be needed by the pond owners and the homeowners association, whether Alpharetta supports us or not. After learning what the financial commitment would be from Alpharetta. I would recommend to the board that time the homeowners association pay 50% and the pond owners pay the remaining 50%. Moving forward Tuxford homeowners Association would be responsible for all maintenance and upkeep of the ponds. One concern for myself is the Tuxford pond dam that will need major work done on it in the not-too-distant future. Who will be responsible for that? The HOA or the pond owners who own the dam? I feel there needs to be a lot more discussion and information shared to the neighborhood. Then a vote taken by the neighborhood to decide who is responsible for the present financial output for the ponds as well as going forward into the future. Ron Gonyea
Don Hoffman 11/12/2014 To all my Tuxford neighbors: I have been contacted by a board member who has assured me that while he was part of a group of pond owners who actually did meet with the city in 2009 in an attempt to gain clarity on the responsibility of the HOA for the detention ponds, he himself did not meet with the city. I personally accept this as being the truth and will give these pond owners the benefit of the doubt that they had the best interest of Tuxford in mind when they met with the city. If you have any ruther question about this, please feel free to call me.
Don Hoffman 11/13/2014 Is There A Reasonable & Amicable Way to Resolve The Retention Pond Issue? The answer of course, is absolutely! It starts by not only recognizing that all of Tuxford benefits from these ponds, but also that even if the City of Alpharetta would be successful in holding the HOA responsible for ensuring the ponds are in good working order, this does not necessarily mean the HOA is responsible for all the costs. The HOA could as an example, choose to legally hold the pond owners responsible for maintaining their property. All this of course could involve a great deal of legal fees (City; HOA; pond owners) and turmoil within our community and we all need to minimize this. A reasonable compromise is one that allows all parties involved to make meaningful contributions to resolve this issue. It certainly does NOT involve the HOA or the pond owners to pay 100% of all current and future costs. I believe that a reasonable compromise that the board should pursue is the following: - Maintaining that the HOA is not responsible for the ponds, the HOA Board should aggressively pursue the City of Alpharetta to contribute to the resolution of this issue. We should agree that if the City does make significant contributions, the HOA would in turn accept future responsibility for all infrastructural maintenance of the ponds. - The HOA and pond owners should equally share (50/50) the financial remediation costs (~$200K). In the event that a pond owner finds their share of the contribution to cause a significant financial burden, the HOA should consider special financing terms to assist them. - Once the current problems with the ponds are resolved, the HOA should agree to be responsible for all future infrastructural repairs. This reasonable proposal would enable the City of Alpharetta to satisfy their responsibility to the county and state; allow the Tuxford community to put this matter behind us without raising dues or draining our contingency funds and remove the cloud of uncertainty when the pond owners sell their homes/property. Contact all your neighbors and make sure our Board hears our collective voice. Call and email all of the board members and let them know that their proposal is NOT reasonable and that HOA members should have the right to vote on such a important and large financial commitment. Don
Don Hoffman 11/13/2014 Contact Your HOA Board Members & Tell Them to Focus Their Attention on the Right Issue. Tuxford pond owners or non pond owners, we are all residents of Tuxford and the plan being pursued by the Tuxford HOA board is hurting all of us. The HOA board should not be laying out a plan that has the HOA funding 100% of the current work required (estimated to be about $200,000) as well as all future maintenance (could be even more significant), as it clearly sends a signal to the City of Alpharetta that the HOA is prepared to take on this responsibility. Instead, the Board needs to focus their entire attention to make it clear to the City that we disagree with their ordinance (which our attorney has stated is not enforceable as written) and that the HOA is prepared to pursue other alternatives which could leave the City dealing with 29 different owners of the ponds; something they certainly do not want to happen. Contact your HOA board members and make your voice be heard. Tell them that they need to abandon their current plan to assume responsibilty and focus upon partnering with the City to address the maintenance of these ponds. Clearly the HOA, which was not even formed until well after Tuxford itself and the ponds were put into place, should not be held responsible for the current condition of these ponds. There is plenty of time for all of us to argue over how much the HOA & pond owners may need to pay, but now is not the time.
Don Hoffman 11/13/2014 Are All the Pond Owner's Being Unreasonable? My inbox is full of emails from Tuxford residents who are shocked that our neighbors who own these retention ponds expect the HOA to pay 100% of the current costs (~$200K) as well all future infrastructure maintenance costs. In these emails, comments about how unreasonable our neighbors are being often are made. My response to these comments is that I do not believe that ALL of our neighbors who are pond owners are being unreasonable. The reality is that the proposal calling for the HOA to pay all costs was created and presented to the board by just 4 of the 29 pond owners in Tuxford. I nor the HOA Board have any idea if the other 25 pond owners believe they have any responsibility to share the financial burden of maintaining these ponds. The retention pond committee suggested that we meet with all pond owners to discuss what we learned over the better part of the year and what an agreeable compromise might look like, but surprisingly the board refused to allow us to do so. Another suggestion has been that the HOA should fight the City and force them to hold the owners of this private property to maintain them. While I can understand the frustration being expressed, I do not believe this is the right answer for Tuxford for a couple reasons: - Even though we do not own this land, we all do benefit from these retention ponds and we should be willing to SHARE in the cost of maintaining them. - I could no more accept and feel good about putting the entire financial burden on our neighbors who own the ponds than I can accept or feel good about the HOA paying all of the associated costs. So as we all struggle to work our way through this difficult issue to find a reasonable and amicable solution, let's remember that we are all neighbors who live in a great neighborhood. We absolutely can find a solution as long as one side or the other does not demand to have it all their way. Don
Don Hoffman 11/13/2014 Clearly, we are all struggling to find a reasonable solution to a problem that dates back many years ago when Tuxford was first established. There is little doubt that our government (Fulton County & City of Alpharetta) has failed all of us. Instead of taking care of the storm water infrastructure, they have sought ways to limit their responsibility. They have attempted to put the responsibility upon pond owners; when that is met with resistance and the associated costs & pains are felt to be too high, they go after the HOA's. In our specific case, an HOA that did not even exist when these ponds were built. There are several key questions that the HOA board needs to answer: - Why is they so willing to accept responsibility on behalf of pond owners and non pond owners alike? Shouldn't they focus they or the retention pond committee focus their effort convincing the city that they or the county need to step up? - Why are they pressing so hard to make a decision by December 15? There are no signs that the detention ponds are in jeopardy of failing. There are still many unanswered questions (Will our dues be increased in order to make up the contingency funds?) The timeline they have provided to us is arbitrary and can be easily changed to allow the proper steps to be taken. - Why is the Board so eager to make this decision on their own vs. allowing the membership to make the decision. A financial commitment of this size and with this unknown risk should be decided by a membership vote and not by just a simple majority of the board. Contact your board members and tell them to stop all activities, plans and decisions until they have exhausted all alternatives to have use our tax dollars pay for this expense. Should they need to bring forth a proposal to deal with the expenses in the future, demand that they allow the membership to vote on it
David Jackson 11/14/2014 Having read all the recent correspondence on this issue, it does seem to me that the board is jumping the gun a bit in deciding to begin the work without a definitive agreement with the city I have been a board member and president of a sailing club with facilities on Lake Lanier and we have several times successfully negotiated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over similar infrastructure issues. No government wants to admit responsibility without being pushed I believe Tim and Don's options are valid and we should challenge the City and give the neighborhood an opportunity to vote on the reasonable options they have outlined
Don Hoffman 11/19/2014 When will all the feedback that the Board received on October 27 be posted? There were some really good questions and input given to the Board and it should be made available for the entire HOA to view.
Mack McCord 11/20/2014 it appears to me that financial responsibility lies in 3 parties hands - the county/city, the HOA & the individual owners. I am a storm water engineer & it is nasty business - especially when dealing with municipalities. I deal with these types of situations regularly & it appears to me that the municipality has some responsibility. The most reasonable way to deal with the municipality is to essentially lobby the council people from the start - dealing with county/city employees is a pointless exercise as they report to the council & their #1 job is to protect the financials of the municipalities. It must be stated that there is shared responsibility & that we are willing to handle ours but they must be willing to come to the table as well. In saying this, HOA legal council & the HOA board must be confident there is legal standing & it must be understood that we are willing to go to the mat in order to bring the municipality to the table. If they are unwilling to negotiate, a well worded letter stating the HOA's legal case from legal council to the municipality council members & legal team will typically bring them to the table - but again, you must be willing to go all the way. I have no idea about the quality of the HOA's legal council - we employ several big guns around the state to aid in these matters. I do believe that the individual owners should carry a larger burden than non-owners. Just my 2 cents on these matters after dealing with these entities for years.
Tim Elmore 11/29/2014 An Open Letter to the Tuxford HOA Board As residents of Tuxford, as well as former members of the Detention Bond Committee, we respectfully request that the Board reconsider the current course of action related to the Detention Ponds. We feel that the HOA should not be held responsible either for the remediation or the future maintenance of the ponds, and we ask that the Board consider a much more aggressive approach to this matter. Perhaps the HOA should participate in the maintenance of the pond areas in the long term; but we should not accept unlimited responsibility for property we do not own or control without appropriate consideration from the City of Alpharetta. While we recognize the hard work of many Tuxford residents to address this issue, including the Board and the Detention Pond Committee, there clearly a lack of consensus on how to address this matter. The Committee did not reach a consensus recommendation that fairly represents both pond owners and non-pond owners, and the legal obligation of the HOA is far from clear under the current ordinance. The original pond owners purchased their property with the full expectation that Fulton County would maintain the detention pond areas, and the responsibility for those areas has been unclear for a long time. We believe, like previous Tuxford Boards, that Fulton County or the City of Alpharetta should bear primary responsibility for these ponds. Consequently, it makes little sense for the HOA to assume this liability at this time, especially without a community-wide vote that addresses our primary options. The board's time would be better spent by negotiating with the city and county on behalf of the pond owners who live in Tuxford. If we have no sensible recourse after discussions with the City, then the Board can consider a more limited number of options. We respectfully request the current Board to follow the lead of past Boards and continue to maintain the position that the HOA is not responsible for the detention ponds. The board should be ready and willing to pursue legal actions as required. This is essential to ensuring that the City seriously negotiate with the HOA to help us resolve the Detention Pond issue. Tim Elmore and Don Hoffman
Brad Meisburg 11/30/2014 We've been a resident of Tuxford since 1993, and it also was our belief that Fulton County and then the City of Alpharetta after annexation had responsibility for detention pond maintenance. Since this appears now to be vague at best, we agree with previous posts that we should negotiate with the City/County prior to moving forward. Depending on how these negotiations go, we could then vote on an appropriate plan. We appreciate the hard work already done by all on this issue.
Jack Bohner 11/30/2014 I would like to see the Board try to work with or challenge the city if needed on the detention pond issue before we decide to do anything. I know there is a city ordinance but I don't believe the City can actually force an HOA to spend money on property we don't actually own...or more precisely I believe the City would lose if challenged in Court. I have not been involved, but looking form the outside it has been several years since this was passed and it does not appear the City has been aggressive about enforcing. I believe there is good reason for that. There is just something un-American about maintaining property that we don't own. The County has been negligent for 25 years and now that we are part of the City, they are trying to pass the buck to the HOAs. However, getting past that, the detention pond requirements have already been changed at least once from the County to the City. What are the chances that they will be changed again? If we agree as an HOA to shoulder the costs, then we basically agree to shoulder all costs going forward, not matter what the new statues become. Also, does this make the HOA liable to other property drainage issues that involve more than one lot? I ask that the Board to set up another Q&A session after we have pushed on the City. But this time, please invite our HOA Attorney so she can answer questions directly from the residents. For example: is there precedence one way or the other for subdivisions in a similar situation? What's the project cost if actually taken to court? What if we do nothing? What are chances of winning an out of court settlement? I'm sure the residents have many more. Finally, speaking as a past HOA President on the board during the annexation, I know this is a grind. I also know you would like to put it behind you and move on to other issues. I think the board has done a good job with trying to sort through the issues. I don't have an issue with your process. I just ask that the board not take a vote in December. Let's push the City and possibly the County. Let's be sure we look at all options. There appears to be time. If the City wants to fine us in the meantime, I believe they would lose in court.
Tom Luptowski 11/30/2014 Let's focus energy on negotiating with the City
Kevin Scholberg 12/1/2014 We are 24 year Tuxford residents who do not own a pond in Tuxford, however we are retention pond owners in The Pines at Kimball Bridge. That subdivision was built about the same time as Tuxford, with the same retention pond issues. When people purchased retention pond homes, there was no obligation by the property owner for the maintenance of the retention ponds, although the property owners were responsible for paying the property taxes on the ponds. Property owners were given that information as part of the purchase of their homes. Since our neighborhood was built the legal rules have changed and newer subdivisions retention ponds are now owned by the HOA, with the association paying the taxes and maintenance on retention ponds. We are fortunate with our retention pond, that the homeowners association has taken full responsibility for the cost and care for the pond. It is their belief that it is the legally correct thing to do, and 'the right' thing to do. They have stated that if there are issues with the retention pond, it can start backing up onto other properties, and it becomes a whole neighborhood issue anyways. At one point in our spring yard maintenance while having some trees in our yard cut down, we tried to be helpful and take out some trees in the retention pond area ourselves to save the association some money. A hefty fine later we learned that there are a lot of legal and environmental rules for retention pond maintenance. Do we know of any other subdivisions that require the retention pond owners to pay for the retention pond maintenance? What have other subdivisions done concerning this issue? What happens to the property value of a retention pond home that has to pay for maintenance? From what we understand, the city of Alpharetta requires HOA's to maintain the pond. We understand it may not be an enforceable law, but how much time and money will be spent in finding out? (Alpharetta and/or Fulton County will spend millions to fight us on this to avoid establishing precedent.) How much emotional cost will there be in neighborhood harmony? We agree that the retention pond issue is not a good situation. However, we think that 'it is what it is' and it just needs to be dealt with as a whole neighborhood issue. It seems a bit odd to us that some have proposed a vote on this, as it is a code compliance / safety issue...not optional. So we spend $200,000.00 for 30 years of ponds maintenance (25 past years and 5 future years). That's about $20 a year for each house. Not worth all the fuss. Kevin and Lisa Scholberg 325 Kestrel Cove (See also some other good points made by Christie Cavin on 11/9/2014)
Don Hoffman 12/9/2014 During the HOA meeting on Dec 8, Ken Lawler once again stated that the Board is willing to consider allowing a membership vote, as long as it would not result in a decision to do nothing which would put the HOA in a position of choosing to be in non compliance with the City ordinances. Last evening, Ken asked for input on this and here is my suggestion: I request that the HOA membership be allowed to accept or reject the current plan which is being proposed by the HOA Board, which is much different than a decision to do nothing. Should the HOA membership accept the proposal, the HOA Board would be free to pursue their current plan. If however the HOA membership rejects the proposal, then the Board (or if they choose a designated committee) would need to bring forth a different proposal that would keep us in good standing with the city ordinance and which the membership could evaluate.
Jay Weiser 12/9/2014 I concur with Don Hoffman and respectfully request that the HOA Board allow the association membership to vote on whether they want to accept or reject the current plan being proposed by the HOA Board. Should the HOA membership accept the proposal, the HOA Board would be free to pursue their current plan without question, knowing they have the support of the community. If however the HOA membership rejects the proposal, then the Board (or if they choose a designated committee) should be tasked to bring forth a different proposal that the membership could evaluate, and which of course would not cause the HOA to be in a postion of non-compliance.
Gerald Gonthier 12/10/2014 1. I know that the detention ponds benefit everyone who lives or uses highway bridges within the watershed. So a large entity, such as the City of Alpharetta or Fulton County should be responsible for the maintenance of the detention ponds. That's the direction we should take. 2. Also ownership of the detention ponds should be transferred to the entity that maintains them. As long as the owner and maintainer are different parties, this will always be a mess. I understand that restructuring ownership would very difficult. It would have to be done, anyway. 3. I would say the City of Alpharetta can build new detention ponds close to Long Indian Creek, leaving the old detention ponds to the private residences. But land all the way to the creek is privately owned. 4. A lot of mistakes have been made over the years. Tuxford HOA shouldn't have to pay for them.
Todd Poer 12/10/2014 We think the HOA should handle this issue as a legal matter, and the board and HOA members should not vote on anything until the HOA’s lawyer has worked with the county/city and reached a legal decision. The HOA definitely needs a lawyer who has experience with this type of issue since there are many important details to settle. Trying to decide who is responsible for the deferred repair costs is one concern. Another concern is if HOA funds are used to pay for costs on private property then that can set a precedent for future liabilities to our HOA. Also, there are many properties (not on a pond or retention pond) that are situated on Long Indian Creek or its tributaries (see page 3 of Presentation – October 27 Meeting) Can these properties be considered part of the storm drainage system in our neighborhood? If the HOA pays for repairs on ponds, will the HOA be liable for erosion/flooding costs on the private properties along the creek?
Larry Bracken 12/11/2014 When I initially spoke with Board members and others about this issue, I was under the impression that our attorneys advised that our case to challenge the ordinance was not strong. In some of the recent feedback, it appears that at least some of you think we may in fact have good grounds to challenge the ordinance as applied to us. I intend to call Ken Lawler to ask what that legal advice is and what the cost of a challenge would be. If our case is a good one, I would prefer in the first instance to approach the City to (1) attempt to negotiate a significant contribution from the City for remediation, and (2) to lay out our legal case, i.e., to explain that the HOA is considering a challenge to the ordinance and to set forth the basis for that challenge, again with the goal of negotiating a resolution under which the City pays for a good chunk of the work. Several of you have correctly pointed out that the City will fight hard in a lawsuit because of the precedent a decision will set. As someone who has 3 decades of experience representing corporations and municipalities in high-stakes litigation, however, I can say that this effect can also cut the other way; that is, the City may want to settle with us and pay something in order to avoid unfavorable precedent that would apply to many other HOA's. If we have good grounds, let's see what we can get in return for our agreeing to assume the remediation and maintenance obligations. Finally, in several of the posts I have seen comments expressly or implicitly questioning the Board's motives. We all have the right to question their decisions if we disagree, but questioning the Board's motives is not helpful and I think unfair.
Ken Reed 12/11/2014 It is my understanding from brief reading that Fulton County cannot legally maintain any property in another municipality and municipalities very rarely maintain property that has not been legally transferred to them. Has there been any discussion about the possibility of pond home owners who do not want or cannot handle the responsibility of pond upkeep to collectively transfer the pond properties to the City or to our HOA? This would indeed take the maintenance costs off individual homeowners and put it legally and forever onto an entity that is vested in and capable of properly handling all maintenance and related issues for the best interest of the whole now and going forward? If Tuxford HOA owned the pond properties they would be in full up-to-date compliance with all new development approaches and city retention/detention pond ordinances. In this instance I would no longer have an issue with our HOA paying for immediate and on-going maintenance and would feel reassurred that we have all the legal rights to do as our HOA deems best regarding all of our interests and investments on these properties.