Fence fight in Frisco: Homeowner vs. HOA

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on March 2, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 3 at 5:10 PM

Lone Star Ranch

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FRISCO — When Shelly Smith paid her Lone Star Ranch homeowner's association dues, she never dreamed it would help pay for a lawsuit... filed against her.

"I was shocked and amazed that neighbors would sue neighbors," she said.

The Lone Star Ranch HOA requires fences to be set back at least 10 feet from the front of houses. A fence next to Smith's front garage is legal. But the fence on the other side is flush with the house.

The HOA demanded she move that fence back 10 feet. When she refused, they sued her.

"Somehow the residents should have a say if an HOA board is going to sue neighbors over petty, ridiculous issues like fence placement," Smith said.

The HOA said the battle began two years ago when Smith first asked the board for permission to move the fence 10 feet closer to the street. The board said "no," but Smith moved it anyway.

"The only time the board will take action is if someone isn't cooperative or responsive," said HOA vice-president Will Shaddock. "They will take action if it is a blatant violation."

Kelley Legg, who also owns a home at Lone Star Ranch, showed us the thick stack of documents given to anyone who buys a house in the subdivision. It explains the HOA's rules and restrictions and the board's broad authority.

"The HOA is one of the documents you sign, and you are giving them a lot of authority," Legg said. "It does make me a little uncomfortable that we're paying a lot of money and where goes it go? You think it's to make your neighborhood more beautiful, and to know that it's for legal fees is a little disconcerting."

Shelly Smith agrees. "I think somehow that the residents should be notified and have a say in how their money is going to be spent when it's this petty and ridiculous," she said.

But one lawyer says HOA boards are no different than city councils. Elected members are expected to make tough decisions for the good of the entire community.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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