HOA nudges residents about rules as they recover from hailstorm

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on April 11, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 12 at 10:55 AM

PROSPER — An e-mail sent by a homeowners' association in Prosper is angering victims of Sunday night's thunderstorms.

Neighbors in the Preston Lakes subdivision worry that community rules outlining homes' appearance may slow their rebuilding from damage caused by the violent storm that pelted properties with golf ball-sized hailstones.

"You don't say that less than 24 hours after something like this hits you," said Cindy Stuver, who lost nearly half her windows to the hailstorm. "That's wrong!"

She and others are furious about the e-mail blast sent out by the local homeowners' association.

"This e-mail is to just make sure that everyone in our community is OK," HOA board member Shelly Van Blarcum wrote. The message went on to remind residents of the neighborhood guidelines that dictate homes' appearance — including the type of windows used and the color of shingles.

"Please check your CC&Rs [covenants, conditions and restrictions] regarding the requirements for shingles," the e-mail continued. "There are stipulations indicated in the CC&Rs that will help you with the minimum requirements when speaking with your roofing contractor."

Several storm victims scrambling to replace broken windows and patch roofs were infuriated by the e-mail message.

"At a time like this, I find it offensive somebody's going to remind me of the rules and regulations when I'm trying to worry about whether my roof is going to leak or fall in," Stuver said.

The Preston Lakes HOA is managed by Dallas-based SBB Management. Fred Shapiro, SBB's CEO, said the e-mail was sent by a volunteer board member trying to assist her neighbors. The e-mail even suggested a window contractor.

"It was not an attempt to harass," Shapiro said. "It was an attempt to help."

However, he notes that the neighborhood rules still stand, and board members simply didn't want to see storm victims radically change the appearance of their homes as they rebuild.

Homeowners agree to the rules when they move into the subdivision — including, Shapiro says, the requirement that any changes must first be approved by the neighborhood's architectural control committee (ACC).

Despite the storm, Shapiro suggested homeowners should still submit any repair plans to the ACC before they rebuild. He said the committee will speed up the review process.

"The idea is to make the process easier for them, not harder," Shapiro said.

The idea of submitting repair plans to his HOA angers homeowner Chris Johnson. He suspects his house will now require a new roof, and possibly waiting for his homeowners' association approval is an extra stress he says he doesn't need.

"It did strike me as odd that they would want somebody to wait and make sure the architectural committee approves whatever color shingle you were going to install," he said. "It's a little more control over a homeowner than I really want."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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