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Fall 2020 Newsletter
Trees, Landscaping, etc
Improvements in the works
Rewriting of the Restrictive Covenants
Hello, homeowners! By now we think everyone has probably figured out that we had to cancel the regular August HOA meeting due to COVID-19. Basically, no place, such as the Library or Old central was allowing any gatherings and the only other option might have been an outdoor meeting in someone’s backyard. But, Oklahoma in August isn’t the nicest place for outdoor meetings unless there are lots of cold beverages being served! So, we decided to do a newsletter instead and in so doing bring everyone up to date on the goings on in Honey Creek.
Trees, Landscaping, etc
This past year the board voted to replace some dead trees along the Mingo Road frontage. Brian Towers of TNT Landscaping was able to obtain a good price on some Shumard Oaks and got them planted for us. Unfortunately, some of the old sprinkler lines were laid out willy-nilly and one got nicked in the planting, but was easily fixed. Shumard Oaks are very hardy and do well in Oklahoma’s wide variety of weather conditions. We also got some TreeGators which some of you may have noticed. They’re the green triangular bag looking things attached to each of the new trees. They each hold 15 gallons of water and slow-trickle each tree to keep the roots moist during the early stages of development after planting. One of our board members keeps them filled during the hot dry days. ;-)
Some dead trees have been removed around the east pond along 100th East Avenue, and the west pond aerator has been up and running for about a year now without a hitch. Islands in cul-de-sacs and the bell tower circle are showing improvement from the weed treatment applied in the spring with another treatment coming this fall. There were some moles and gophers tearing up the soil around the east pond, so we got them eradicated. They made the soil so unstable it couldn’t be mowed, especially with all the rain this spring and early summer. The weed treatment will help the grass grow and we may well be adding some sod to fill in the areas where it previously died or got washed away.
Improvements In The Works
During the winter, the board was in negotiation with the re-forming HOA in Coventry Gardens. Several years ago, their HOA simply disbanded when the officers moved away. Not good! So, one of their residents took it upon herself to get it started up again as there was work that needed to be done, and paid for, but no one to approve the work, approve the contractor or make the payment! She met with Forrest Hess, our attorney, and got all the legal ramifications ironed out and the HOA restarted. Due to limited funds, Coventry couldn’t afford to pay to mow and trim the main island at the 96th Street entrance. So the board negotiated to have Coventry deed that island over to Honey Creek and we would assume responsibility for maintenance of it. We used to mow it but had run into an issue of liability that could be a big problem should anything happen to a person or a vehicle while we were mowing the island which didn’t belong to us. So, all is resolved now and Honey creek owns the island on N 102nd East Ave at the 96th St entrance.
Along with acquiring ownership of the island mentioned above, come some possible improvements. We’re working with Brian at TNT to make plans for Christmas lighting at that entrance and to see about either installing new sprinklers or seeing if there are old ones buried in there somewhere which we can put in working order. By the way, an FYI to everyone about the 96th St entrance, the property at that entrance has three owners: Coventry Gardens owns the west side and along the west side of 102nd East Ave, Honey Creek owns the center island, and Owasso Public Schools owns the east side of the entrance along 102nd East Ave up to the first lot in Honey Creek. Anyway, we’re going to try to get that entrance gussied up a bit with Christmas lights so it looks nice. Power should be an easy fix as the street light there is paid for by our utility bill, so we should be able to access power from that light.
Think about it: what’s your biggest single investment? For most people, it’s their home. We may have a lot tied up in a retirement plan or in stocks, but that may not always be readily available whereas equity in our homes is most often the quickest way to access major funds via a home equity loan if we need them. So, with that in mind and considering that we are presently in what realtors are calling a seller’s market, it behooves us to keep up our properties to the best of our abilities. The board has issued several covenant violation letters this year for a great variety of violations. Over the summer, there have been many yards left unmowed and trimmed/edged with grass growing upwards of 8 inches or more and growing out into the sidewalks. Now, many might think that this is nit-picky stuff, but ask a realtor sometime about outward appearance. Ever heard of “curb appeal”? Outward appearance can make or break a sale. A yard that’s poorly kept can also indicate a home that’s equally so on the inside. Also, if we get rid of all the weeds, the rest of the lawn will be much easier to maintain as weeds are the fastest growing and most ugly culprits. And by not maintaining a neat yard, we’re not only hurting our own property value, we’re hurting our neighbors’ property values too. Again, ask a realtor……sadly, terrible curb appeal next door can hurt your efforts to sell your own house.
Lastly, regarding violations, the board issues two warning letters before issuing a fine. Eliminating the violation within 30 days after the second letter avoids the fine. However, if the same violation occurs again at the same residence, there’s NO warning violation letter, just an automatic fine since the warnings have already been issued. So, landlords and rental agents take note! If you have a tenant who violates the covenants and remedies it after two letters but then is replaced by a new tenant who commits the same violation, there’s no violation letter(s) issued, but a fine as the two warnings were already issued previously. So, it would be in our landlords’ and rental agents’ best interests to provide all new tenants with a copy of the covenants! Here again, this will help your investment(s) keep it’s value up!
Regarding fines levied for violations, if not paid and/or issues not resolved, a lien will be placed on the residence.
Fences are another big issue, and an expensive one, too! Here again, appearance is everything! Sometimes, all it takes is a gallon or two of stain and a roller or sprayer. But, it pays big dividends! The HOA used Liberty Fence to replace our fence along Mingo a few years ago, almost $18,000, so it ain’t cheap, folks! But, we were very happy with their work. They’ve done a few other fences here, including mine, and I’d recommend them. The city has an ordinance against “dilapidated fences”, too. So, if you need to, get it done before the city writes your fence up. Besides, it’ll help your property value!
Commercial Trucks/Vehicles…. this is a big problem currently. The covenants are very specific about such vehicles, along with trailers of any kind, campers, motor homes, etc. Basically, a commercial truck or any commercial vehicle with painted advertising on it, whether it be a simple sign on a door or painted all over the vehicle, is not allowed to be parked in the driveway or in the front, side or back of a residence in Honey Creek where it is visible from the road. One fix is to make sure that the vehicle in question can fit into a garage, in which case it can be parked there out of sight. Another solution is to put a blank magnetic sign on the door with the advertising to cover it up. This may or may not work for everyone, however, but it has for some. Many folks think we just go around looking for violations, but that’s simply not so. In case you haven’t noticed, we have many walkers in our neighborhood. We get calls and emails from these folks and we have to look into them. That’s where we get most of our info. On top of that, consider again what was mentioned above regarding “curb appeal”. Would you want to see commercial vehicles with big signs advertising “XYZ Contracting and Excavation” or “Joe’s Appliance Repair” or a huge backhoe and dump truck parked in the driveway next door to the house you’re thinking of buying? Again, ask a realtor….
Regarding campers and motorhomes, we’ve tried to be flexible as we know that they have to be made ready for trips and cleaned up after use. So, we figure a couple of days prior to and after trips allows for the time needed to prepare or cleanup the vehicle. We’ve asked people to just let us know if they need to keep a camper, trailer, or motorhome for a longer time so we won’t send out a notice and can tell folks that work is being done on the vehicle by the owner and he advised us about it. All the above leads me into the next topic….
Rewriting of the Restrictive Covenants
If you read the by-laws and covenants, you find that the covenants were originally written with very particular stipulations requiring almost unobtainable majorities in order to bring about revisions or changes. Honey Creek 1, being over ten years old, has been lowered to somewhere around 60% approval required to enact change or revision. Honey Creek 2 is still under a 90% requirement. However, our attorney believes that such a requirement has been nullified by statute as such a percentage would be virtually impossible to obtain. We’re looking into that, for sure. Anyway, what we are thinking about is a complete rewriting of the restrictive covenants. We are thinking of combining both sets of covenants into one new set for both HC1 and HC2 which will make the covenants for both sections of Honey Creek the same. Right now, there are differences between the two. Why, I don’t know, but that’s how the original developer(s) wrote them. So, we want to bring them into one document with both sections of Honey Creek under the same covenants.
The rewrite would include most of the current restrictions, but would also be more specific as to exceptions, time limits, and acceptable work arounds for what might be special circumstances including the ability to request variances, etc. Please keep this in mind and review the current covenants for yourself on the website. If you see something you think should be addressed, please let us know! When the rewriting is completed, we’ll make it available for review and then for a vote of approval by HOA members in good standing.
The latest financial information of HOA income and expenditures is available to members on the website.
HCBR HOA Board