Let sun shine on HOAs as it does now on flag 
Article Courtesy of The Arizona Republic
By Art Thomason
Posted Aug. 24, 2002 

It took an act of the Legislature so more than 800,000 Arizonans could fly the American flag in their yards.

Think of it.

Until Thursday, when the law went into effect, homeowners associations could prohibit members from raising Old Glory. Some actually did.

But the Legislature didn't go far enough.

Homeowners associations, which are becoming the rule instead of the exception in the East Valley, still have too much power, and nobody in government is looking over their shoulder. Or wants to.

Thanks to our lawmakers, HOAs are still empowered to collect dues, assess fines and seize property. And do it while remaining a far cry from what most of us expect from open government.

"All we want is accountability and responsibility," says Pat Haruff of Mesa, a self-appointed HOA watchdog. "The door is wide open for abuse."

Justice of the Peace Tom Freestone says HOA disputes now account for 30 percent of his small-claims caseload. Many of those cases, says Freestone, are the result of homeowners failing to pay their dues. 

"Most of the time," he said, "the defendant doesn't show up. They've either lost their job or can't find the means to pay."

Fortunately, none of the actions has moved as far as the Aug. 1 eviction of a 77-year-old Peoria woman from her home so it could be sold at auction.

Freestone's South Mesa-Gilbert district includes the entire Town of Gilbert, where the HOA per capita ratio is among the highest in the state because the municipality requires all new developments to have HOAs.

Perhaps it's an irony that Freestone, of all justices of the peace, is trying so many HOA disputes.

Before he was elected to the bench, Freestone was a state senator who called for HOA reforms.

One of them would have subjected HOAs to the Arizona Open Meeting Law.

Every other governmental entity, including HOAs, is under that sunshine statute.

Now it's time for HOAs to strictly adhere to that law.

HOA manipulates Arizona new flagpole legislation
Here's the first attack on flying the flag in Arizona. It's an obvious move to get around the new legislation to become effective in a few weeks.  The author is a resident of Terravita.
Posted 8 -18 - 2002 
By William M. Brown
This past Thursday evening (08/15/02) the Terravita Community Association, Inc. Board of Directors held a Special Meeting of the Association to discuss and vote on two motions, Landscape Maintenance Contract and Flagpole Guidelines. The landscape motion was disposed of in a matter of minutes by a unanimous vote of the board.

Notwithstanding the provisions of SB1055, American flag; patriotic display, enacted by the State of Arizona, 45th Legislature, Second Regular Session, the TCA, Inc. Board of Directors, by a vote of 5 ayes, 1 abstention and 1 absent, passed the following “Association Rules Relating to the Installation of Flagpoles” exactly one week prior to the bill becoming law (August 22, 2002) in Arizona:

“Flagpoles. No flagpole or flag shall be installed without prior written approval from the Modifications Committee. Only one flagpole shall be permitted per lot in residential areas. Flagpoles shall be no greater that fifteen (15) feet in total height as measured from the normal elevation of the lot. Freestanding vertical flagpoles are permitted only in the rear yard of the lot, the exact location to be approved by the Modifications Committee.

Only one flag of the United States of America may be flown from the flagpole. All flags and flagpoles shall be maintained in a condition that is consistent with the community-wide standards.

The above guideline was adopted by the Board of Directors and Modifications Committee of the Association.” (August 15, 2002)

This morning (08/16/02) I had occasion to relate TCA’s board’s new rules re the installation of flagpoles in Terravita to friends from Phoenix. Familiar with flags and flagpoles, they questioned the availability of residential flagpoles limited to fifteen (15) feet as measured from property’s grade. The more important question concerned the quality of commercially available flagpoles of only 15 feet. After less than 30 minutes on the Internet surveying multiple sites offering flagpoles, their answer decried the quality of poles not more than fifteen feet in height as “cheesy and cheap.”

A similar survey of those and other sites (provided to Bart Park/CCMC for the benefit of CCMC’s managers and other associations) found the industry-wide recommended height for residential flagpoles and flag size appropriate to the flag’s display from a flagpole greater than fifteen feet. Did Terravita get it right? What is the City of Scottsdale’s maximum permitted flagpole height? Does the Modifications Committee and/or TCA board know? Do they care at all? 

If Terravita is at all concerned with appearance and aesthetics (whether TCA’s landscaping of Terravita’s common areas or TGC’s golf course [Maintenance Standard, Special WD]), then one must ask what will Terravita get with fifteen-foot flagpoles? Did anyone do anything more than make a trip to Home Depot to find the shortest residential flagpole possible? Would 30 minutes on the Internet caused the board to reconsider its “Association Rules Relating to the Installation of Flagpoles?” Given the volatility nationwide of issues surrounding a homeowner’s right to display the American Flag, the political temperament in Arizona, TCA’s curious need to interpret the Legislature’s intent, any advice and counsel provide the Modifications Committee and the board by its managers and lawyers and Terravita’s sad flag history (CV97-00435, TCA, Inc. vs. Wussow), why was the board determined to adopt a set of rules and regulations (whether reasonable or not) regarding the placement and manner of display of a member’s flag exactly one week prior to the bill (SB1055) becoming law (08/22/02)? When may the members in Terravita expect their boards to understand and execute the duties of a fiduciary? When may the members expect more from the professionals (managers, lawyers and others) that serve the corporations, their boards and hopefully, the members?

Would Doc and Joy Wussow’s flagpole erected in 1997 be permitted today in Terravita under the new statute and/or the “Association Rules Relating to the Installation of Flagpoles”? Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is simply ignorance ! 
[ Special Warranty Deed (Golf) ]. Fire aim ready!

Flags and Poles Direct      
Anchor Flag and Flagpole
AFS Flagpoles                 
Please read our other articles by clicking here!