Vanishing amenities create resident backlash at HOA

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by By JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 12:28 PM

VANISHING AMENITIES

Jonathan Betz reports

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CROSSROAD, Texas - Homeowners in one North Texas subdivision said they feel abandoned after their homeowner's association suddenly closed their pool and shut down the gym.

Two years ago, the Levy family thought they had found their dream home in the Cross Oak Ranch subdivision in Crossroads, Texas.

"When we first moved here this was like the wow factor," said Kevin Levy of his neighborhood in rural Denton County. "You see this beautiful community up in the middle of the country."

It's a beauty he and others now fear is fading. For weeks, homeowners have complained the fountains haven't been working. One of two community swimming pools was suddenly shut down on Friday; the gym in the community center has been cleared.

Earl Sanders formed a resident advisory council to bring his neighbors' concerns to the homeowners association.

"A major reason why we have an HOA is for the appearance and upkeep of the community," he said. "And in that respect, they're failing miserably."

Residents have said they are especially angered that the homeowners association raised the dues in April to nearly $400 a year.

"Absolutely, we feel abandoned by them," said Robert Hantson, a homeowner in the neighborhood. "They're not communicating with us."

Plano-based CMA Management took over the maintenance of the subdivision in May. Manager Ed Griffin called the closings a necessity.

"We made a business decision based on the amount of money coming in," Griffin said.

He said 442 homeowners out of a subdivision of 800 homes have not paid their biannual dues. An indication of the bad economy, Griffin said.

"We can expect those who can pay will pay," he said.

CMA said it waived some penalties and is working to collect homeowners' back dues.

Maintaining the subdivision, he said, costs nearly half a million dollars a year, although he would not say how much money the subdivision has lost.

"It's a whole lot of money," Griffin assured.

Griffin said directors decided to close the pool to afford other homeowner demands, like more security.

"We're starting to get extremely angry," Hantson said. "We're frustrated. If they want us to have some sort of sympathy for their position they need to have some sort of sympathy for the position we have out here."

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All equipment has been removed from the exercise room.

He and other homeowners feel there are less expensive solutions and want all the amenities they were assured when they moved into the subdivision.

"It's not my problem," Sanders said. "If I pay my dues I should get the amenities I paid for."

Meanwhile, the Levy family said they feel trapped. They said their home's value has dropped $30,000 since they moved in two years ago.

"It's pretty scary, pretty scary knowing everything you've invested here, to just see it vanishing," said Darchel Levy.

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