Some Arrowhead Ranch Phase II homeowners are upset with their HOA for recent renovations made to the neighborhood lake and for not listening to their pleas.
The board’s attorney said, however, the HOA is within its legal limits to renovate the property.
The northwest Glendale community has about 1,200 homes between Loop 101, Union Hills Drive and 75th Avenue, according to the property’s website. One of many lakes in the neighborhood, Lake 10, had dealt with water-level issues for years, prompting a “shoreline restoration project,” according to residents.
Construction started around early April, costing nearly $500,000 in HOA fees, according to longtime resident Chris Gilbreath. Four-foot walls and a walking path will surround the lake, with 6 feet of rock — or “riprap” — leading out of the lake, and another 6 feet going under the water, all starting 10 feet away from each house’s property line, according to plan documents.
While several residents understand the need to keep the water level under control, Gilbreath believes the board in charge of the decision has gone against the wishes of nearly every resident on the lake, making changes he deems unnecessary and even harmful. Among his biggest complaints is the removal of part of his fence that runs into the lake, which had closed off his backyard from other yards, in order to put in the walking path.
With families of children nearby, he wants to keep his pool safe and others out of his yard, an issue he never had before.
“It’s an HOA run amok,” Gilbreath said.
Among complaints from residents are the loss of greenery and wildlife. What they described as luscious and green before now is much more barren.
Fellow resident Diane Killeen said several old and beautiful trees and plants were torn down in her yard and others, which not only lowers the view from her yard, but reduces privacy, as now people have an easier view into her windows. She also had several heron and other exotic birds that would regularly visit her property. Now, she claims the only animals regularly making an appearance are rats that have been displaced due to construction.
“It’s really sad when you think about all of it,” she said.
Attorney Mark Lines, who represents the board, though, said the renovations are within legal limits. Any claim they are not can be disputed through the legal system, but the board has tried to be open to its community members.
“The association has a right to improve its own property, and even an obligation to maintain the lake to keep up with the other ones. And, the owners have had chances to speak with the board about any issues they may have,” Lines said.
But Gilbreath said there has been a lack of understanding from the board, which he recently joined to try and combat, on where the property lines are to be drawn. Construction, he claims, has crept closer to his property than the 10-foot line allowed without his consent.
The renovations, these residents believe, not only hinder their view, but potential property value as well. Neither Gilbreath nor Killeen said they are in any immediate hurry to leave their homes, but, because they believe the view will be lower quality, and there is less privacy, the value of their homes could decrease.
“It’s hard to tell because we don’t know exactly how it’s going to look when they’re done with everything. We can’t give an accurate assessment until it’s all done, either. They’re just doing whatever they want,” Gilbreath said.
Several of the residents upset by the recent renovations claim to have attempted to let their thoughts be known to the HOA board. However, they feel their opinions are not being considered by the people in charge of hearing them and making change, even when the community meets.
According to Gilbreath, when construction was set to begin, 41 houses on the lake were given notices to ask for variances — or exceptions to things being taken off the new HOA property — but not asked for their approval on the renovation itself. At a meeting, he said he was told 15 people had responded, which he believes gave the board the impression the rest of the homes were on board with plans, despite not saying so directly.
And, at regular HOA meetings, those opposed to the method of renovation do not feel they are given ample time to respond and have their voices heard.
“They give us two or three minutes at the end after they’re done with the other stuff, but we don’t really feel like they’re really listening, and they don’t answer our questions,” Killeen said.
Lines, though, said the board maintains it has allowed for more communication than that.
The board could have gone to court at any point in the proceedings in what is ultimately a legal dispute, he said, but he maintains it has held back from doing so in order to try and find a civil resolution.
They have given the owners ample time and energy, rather than heading straight into a legal battle that would ultimately cost more money and put added stress on all parties involved.
“They hope to come to a resolution by reasonable means,” he said.