Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The back story on the great "Fence Attack"

I apologize in advance for a very long post. Here is the back story to the post about our “Suspicious Vehicle”. We moved into our new house/neighborhood just over a year ago when we built our house. It's a brand new community and less than 50% of it is currently developed/occupied. Because we "the residents" don't own enough of the properties yet (some are still under construction and some just haven't sold yet from the two builders in the community), so the developer owns the Home Owners Association (HOA) and runs it along with the help of a management company (which is pretty much at the mercy of the developers) and they aren’t very responsive to the residents requests/concerns/etc.

We LOVE our neighborhood and MOST of our neighbors. We started working on the house Halloween night last year (closed on the 30th but didn't "officially" move in until the 2nd) and met a ton of neighbors who came to introduce themselves while trick or treating. We also learned of a "Community Facebook Page" - which was at first a public "page" and then within a week of us joining (aka "Liking") the page it was suggested to be turned into a "Private  Group" and only the people in the community could join and post/see what was being posted, so now we have a community group. I really love this idea. I belong to several groups on Facebook and they work really well for groups of people who don't want the world to see every thing they post about specific things and you don't have to be FB Friends (unless you want to) with each other to communicate so there is still some privacy with your own page. There is also a site called "Next Door" that is kind of the same concept, we have that too for the neighborhood but no one ever uses it.  With this group, it was a great way for everyone to introduce themselves and their families and arrange get togethers, post concerns, questions, city events, find baby sitters and lawn service recommendations.. you get the picture. This also helped us meet a lot of neighbors. In fact, when I went into labor  at midnight and knew we weren't going to be home for a few days and we had NO ONE to watch the dogs, some of our new neighbors helped us out and we contacted them through the group.

So, with a group of lots of people with different backgrounds and opinions (some stronger than others), you know what comes next: DRAMA! A few weeks after moving in, people had been complaining about how slow the HOA was to approve certain requests so when we got our approval to put in our new fence I proudly posted something to the extent of "wow it only took 15 days and we already got our approval for our new fence!" This was only a few days after having EM too. Well, apparently several people have VERY strong opinions on fences in the community and they were NOT keeping quiet. Even though one of the first things we asked when looking to build in the community was their rules on fences (we have two dogs who like to run in the backyard plus know we want to have some privacy for parties and for EM when she's older and playing in the back yard) and knew before starting the process that white, vinyl privacy fences were allowed as long as your property didn't border water (and our lot doesn't). We went through the proper HOA approval process with the ARB (Architectural Review Board) The community group BLEW up. We were told we should think of our neighbors and how it'll affect the community property value by putting up an ugly fence, that "people like us" weren't wanted in the neighborhood, why did we move into a neighborhood like this and WANT to put up a fence, you should have picked a lot that everyone wouldn't see your fence, etc. Mind you 90% of the comments came from 4-5 people (or families and the nastiest comments were from one of the first people we met on Halloween who I thought was super nice (she also lives the closest to us, across the street from the corner side of our lot). Several people stuck up for me during this "attack" of the young new mom of a newborn (those people we have become pretty good friends with). 

We weren't breaking any HOA rules, we asked the right questions before signing a contract, read through the HOA docs, there is no reason some of these people should be so upset. We were also called trash for having a DirectTV dish (also HOA approved although there is a Federal Statue that supersedes the HOA anyways). At the time, there was only one other person who had a white vinyl fence (also HOA approved) but because their property wasn't on a corner lot in the front of the neighborhood they didn't get as much heat. Apparently some of those people claim that when they moved in (they were some of the first residents in the community) that fences of any kind were not allowed per HOA (I have no idea if this is true or not and haven't seen anything to prove it and then were under the impression that only wrought iron fences were approved and pretty much I got the heat Well we proceeded with our approved fence anyways, and several people commented in the group about it, and it's come up several times and the same stuck up people give whoever posts about it heat. Now there are probably a dozen or more fences up and every single time a new one goes up, I chuckle to myself a little more. 

And what is even funnier to me is the the nasty neighbor I mentioned who was all strung out on our APPROVED fence, well she breaks rules all the damn time. It was election time during the initial fence debacles and this house had a Romney sign out (Political signs are against the HOA rules), and during the "attack" G called them out on it and her response was "well that's only temporary and I guess we know who you voted for" which is funny because we both voted for Romney and that our comment about it had nothing to do about the actual sign just pointing out that she's breaking a rule and we well, weren't.  Then every single day (even though they have a 4 car garage) they park a "commercial vehicle" in their driveway, also against HOA rules. It's obviously their personal vehicle with a company logo on it and when we called her out on it she response was once again "it's only temporary". Well the Romney sign is down but the truck is there every day, a year later.  It is also parked on the street often (also against HOA rules but is superseded by city law since it's not a gated community, so it can't be enforced).

The rest of the people who were mean to us during the attack are "nice enough" if we see them around and we just kind of "ignore" each other in the Facebook group, however this lady won't even look at us, and she's probably the one we see the most often given where her house is. Some of the people, I could have actually seen us getting along with and hanging out with, so it's a shame that they hate us and won't even give us a chance because of our fence. And what's even more sad is they should never have gotten mad at us, if anything they should be mad at the HOA, not attacking people who are following the rules and getting approvals. Oh well, can't be friends with everyone. And with the friends we have made in the neighborhood (and others who know the story), We all joke about our trashy fence and satellite dish because of how ridiculous it all was. We play Fantasy Football together, have pool and holiday parties togethers, and have been invited to each others kids birthday parties, borrow things, and meet for dinner. These friends are what make living in our neighborhood so great and for the 4-5 families that dislike us because of our fence, too bad for them!  I'm still happy to call this place HOME and raise my family here. And the drama has significantly died down int he Facebook Group (thankfully).

**I do want to caveat that we may have not been as nice as we could have been during the "attack" for obvious reasons and maybe should have just "let it go" but G has a strong personality and wasn't going to take their shit so after a while, I just let it go, and he kept responding, never nasty, but very "matter-of-fact" so that just added fuel to everyone's fire.**

yes, yes you are

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