Southern Highlands enters HOA Hall of Shame
The newest member of the HOA Hall of Shame lands Contact 13 in the middle of a street fight.
As Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, no one is throwing punches, but a master and sub-association in Southern Highlands are brawling over parking.
"Show of hands, who wants to be able to park in your community?" Spears asked a gathering of homeowners who all raised their hands in unison.
"And who wants to have family members come over? Who wants to have friends come over? Who has a life?!" added April Minjares, Ansedonia HOA president.
The quality of life in the Southern Highlands community of Ansedonia is suffering according to residents who came out to talk with Contact 13 about parking.
"I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the harassment and the things that are transpiring," said resident Rob Soelberg.
This isn't the first time we've profiled parking problems in Ansedonia.
A year ago, the community banded together to boot parking enforcement company Boot-It from their neighborhood.
Since then, they elected a new board and changed the rules to allow street parking.
Ansedonia's attorney Bob Sullivan says, "What you had here was a real changing of the guard where a new board came in that's much more homeowner-friendly and that's not sitting well with the master association."
Which is why they say master association Southern Highlands is fighting sub-association Ansedonia over street parking.
"You guys are just trying to live your lives here and you're representing your community and you're having trouble just doing that?" Spears asked April Minjares.
"Yup. I am. And there's just no reason. They're being unreasonable and they're just getting off on this power trip and I don't know why!" she answered in frustration.
Ansedonia sent a parking survey out to all residents last Fall.
"And of the respondents in this case, 33 respondents, 92% of them came back wanting on-street parking," Sullivan explained. "And it's believed that the three votes against on-street parking were the former board members."
Because of those three "no" votes, Southern Highlands rejected the rule change and told Ansedonia that every owner had to vote.
"One hundred percent. Out of 160 homes. So does that mean when we vote for the President of the United States if 100% of the United States population doesn't vote a president is not elected?" Minjares asked rhetorically. "That's impossible! Everybody had the chance to vote."
Those who did vote complain in their survey responses about how family and friends have to park across the street in the desert, or at a grocery store a mile away and be shuttled into the community.
One resident wrote, "I would have never bought this house had I known the problems with parking. I will be moving out as soon as I am able to sell my home only because of parking."
Even the Fire Department determined Ansedonia meets their code for emergency vehicle access with "parking allowed on both sides of the street."
"All people want to do is put their cars near their homes?" Spears asked another Ansedonia board member.
"Yes," answered Moronnica Bias. "That's all they want to do is just be able to park within the neighborhood without being harassed."
Board member Moronnica Bias says once they started pushing back, Southern Highlands started playing dirty.
"It's really been horrible," she said.
Ansedonia board members started getting violations for things like the color of their cable wires, which had been in place for years.
And non-stop parking violations on the streets and even in their own driveways.
"For me, I got one and the car didn't even belong to me," Bias says.
It got so bad they started videotaping Southern Highlands security guards and posting the videos on You Tube.
"So this is obviously bogus. This is obviously retaliation," Minjares says.
Attorney Bob Sullivan sent Southern Highlands a letter saying their security guards were "targeting certain residents with spurious parking violations... suggesting a disturbing departure from cool-headed judgment and professionalism."
"It just doesn't make sense, you know, the community's tried really hard trying to do things civilly and going through their bureaucracy trying to do things the right way and it's just nothing but opposition," says Ansedonia resident Justin White.
Southern Highlands wouldn't go on camera. They wouldn't even return my calls.
We wanted to ask them about the seemingly selective enforcement.
About the allegedly bogus violation letters sent to Ansedonia board members.
About allegations of ticketing cars on Ansedonia's streets, but not in other communities.
And about the family who lives in Ansedonia with a severely disabled child who had to file a federal complaint to battle Southern Highlands over special handicap and medical services parking permits.
But Southern Highlands wouldn't answer any of my questions.
They hid behind their lawyer who sent a written statement saying Southern Highlands has always "been consistent in its approach to parking enforcement" and that they continue to look for "a proper resolution to the parking problems."
"They did not want to do anything to resolve this as what the people would like that reside here," said Ansedonia resident Rob Soelberg.
"It seems like they're swooping in to defeat the will of the homeowners here," added Bob Sullivan.
April: "I think it's just beyond now. I think it's an ego trip."
Darcy: "Do you think this rises to the level of our HOA Hall of Shame?"
April: "Oh absolutely! Absolutely!"
There is still some finger-pointing going on between the two associations.
But both sides hope it can be hammered out once and for all at a special meeting they'll be having on the 14th.
We'll be following the situation closely and will let you know if the residents win the right to park in their community.
We've set up a link to all the You Tube videos so you can see how far this whole thing has gone. Just go to our homepage and type in the keyword "links."
Be sure to also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your nominations for our HOA Hall of Shame.