Frequently Asked Questions
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▼ Do I have to do anything to let the Initiative know about my opinion?
Yes. This is very important.
▼ What is the actual procedure to 'Exit' the DVLA?
There is one procedure that was established when
previous subdivisions left the DVLA,
It stands for 'Dammeron Valley Landowners Association'. DV has about 15 neighborhoods that are technically individual subdivisions with their own CC&R's. Some are established some 40 years ago, others just recently. However, instead of each having their own Board of Directors the subdivisions have a clause in their CC&R's to accept a mandatory membership in one general Association, with one Board of Directors and a set of common rules and regulations. That is the DVLA. Residents of each subdivision have the right by law to make changes to their own governing documents with a simple procedure by petitioning the DVLA Board to accomodate the required change by initiating a voting procedure.
▼ What is an association and what powers does it have?
A homeowner association is typically a non-profit corporation that is created by the developer when a community is in the planning stages. Membership in an association is mandatory and you automatically become a member upon purchasing your home or lot. Usually, especially when a subdivision is fully established as in our case, members have the right to choose to stay within the association, or to leave it.
The association is governed by a board of directors, that set the rules for the community and enforces them. The Board of Directors speaks and acts in behalf of its members without the direct involvement of the owners.
In this regard we have to make a personal decision. Are you someone who says: “Do not make me think; just tell me what to do. That is easier”? People may prefer being told what to do instead of using free will to speak for themselves. What about you? Do you like making your own decisions, or do you prefer that others decide for you? How do you view the matter of freedom of choice?
▼ Will I end up with a pink house next to me?
The questions are rather 'What are the chances of that happening'
and, 'can this even be prevented from happening if an Association
regulates that' ?
So, what if someone violates an Association guideline in regard to size, design, or color scheme ? Not much. We already experience a huge variety, different sizes, designs and color schemes around us now. Some we might not even like personally. It almost seems that there is no consistant plan of development in place. But nothing can be done, except threaten and enforce, even with litigation ... with uncertain chance of success.
On the other hand, there are extensive County codes and regulations in place that prevent significant changes in the overall appearance of neighborhoods. The County has much better enforcement powers than an Association.
Here are the answers to the questions above: The chances are slim, and, it cannot really be prevented.
▼ Exit DVLA. Then what?
Some people may have a concern that after leaving the DVLA something bad will happen to them. Don't worry. The DVLA is just an administrative organ. Other Dammeron Valley services are not affected by your decision to leave the Association. For example, the Fire Department (SSD) is not part of the Association, neither is law enforcement. Utilities are not associated with the DVLA, so, the DV Water Works, Power and Gas Companies etc. will provide their services as usual.
So, what actually does it mean for someone who leaves? If a subdivision decides to leave the DVLA they will not be governed or ruled by the DVLA anymore, but only by State law and County ordinances. Consequently, residents will not be represented by a Board of Directors, but will have the right to their own voice when it comes to future decisions affecting Dammeron Valley. This is specifically important when we look at the history of decisions of the DVLA Board. The residents will not have to pay the Association fee anymore. Also, they will not be liable for actions or ommissions of the DVLA Board, nor any judgement at the time, when their exit is recorded.
▼ What is 'the lawsuit' everybody talks about?
Many people have questions about the current lawsuit against the Association, it’s past president, a current Board member and others. That is a complex topic. In short, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant’s, all or in part, colluded to breach his contract, did not act in good faith or deal fairly and interfered with his business interests that resulted in a monetary loss. (Read more details here)
By the DVLA's actions and omissions they breached their fiduciary duty and harmed the membership at large on multiple levels. Here are most important things that we learn from this:
1) The DVLA Board does not act upon their own governing
However, the fact that the DVLA is involved in a lawsuit results in
one simple question:
▼ Is the lawsuit a one time incident or can this happen again?
It depends. If the Board adheres precisely to the governing documents, and does not let the developer or others interfere in Association business, it might minimize the risk to a degree. However, a Board does not have any influence on litigation that is brought upon them by a third party, even if the case may not have any merit.
Moreover, a Board has very limited enforcement powers if it does not follow through, when a violation occurs. Just threatening a violator with litigation may often not be enough. Besides this, litigation is always time-consuming and expensive for the members. Many cases get settled and both sides end up paying their own costs.
Last but not least, there is always a higher chance of litigation when there is an increase of new building projects.
Therefore, members of an association face always a higher risk to be
involved in litigation.
▼ Will I lose my fire protection if I exit the DVLA?
Protection and EMS services are provided by
the Dammeron Valley Fire Special Services District.
This is a quasi-municipal entity that was created by Washington
County and reports directly to the State.
The DVLA is not involved in it’s administration or operation, and
it is overseen by an elected board made up of community members.
It is funded by a $250 annual assessment (and grants), and
not by your DVLA dues.
The DVLA currently has more than $150,000.00 in excess of what is
needed to fund their annual operation and required reserves.
It is a somewhat unusual
for a homeowner’s association to accumulate such a large amount
of excess capital.
been suggested that these excess funds be transfered to the Special
Services District and that the annual $250 fee currently charged
to residents be waived
amount is used up.
supposed to be a vote on this in May.
▼ Will I lose my water if I exit the DVLA?
Water in this service area is provided by Dammeron Valley Water
It has nothing
to do with the DVLA.
It is a
private water company that is regulated and overseen by the State of
the water tariff you cannot be denied water service, charged any
more fees or a higher rate if you exit the DVLA.
Your service will not be affected or changed in any way.
s residents are on their own anyways.
s residents are on their own anyways.
▼ What about the repairing or resurfacing of streets in the future?
The Dammeron Valley roads are County dedicated roads. Washington
County will continue to maintain the road surfaces, drainage
easements, shoulders, etc. There would be no change in repair or
maintenance and no additional costs to any resident.
▼ How does leaving influence zoning and other developments?
The DVLA does not weigh in on zoning matters.
You can see the
validity of that statement for yourself.
You can see the validity of that statement for yourself.
▼ How can leaving influence the preservation of trails and access to public lands for recreational use, e.g. walking and horse riding?
The SITLA leases
(land surrounding DV) that the developer agrees to
require that trails and traditional
accesses must be preserved or built. Unfortunately, often
times, after signing the leases, they have gone in and amended
those agreements to eliminate the access provisions.
▼ How does leaving influence commercial developments and incorporation?
The DVLA Board currently states that they
"are not in favor" of Incorporation. And their view on commercial
zones is not quite clear. The Board never pledged to "fight
Incorporation”, or “would take every effort against commercializing
the Valley" and, of course, they never acted accordingly. This
would certainly give at least some kind of assurance to the
residents. However, the next Board may even support such endeavors
more willingly. Further, the Association may change their policies
on zoning and development at some future point, and as a member you
would be bound by these new rules.
▼ Is leaving the DVLA a good idea?
This is a personal decision and it's
completely up to YOU.
▼ Just got a letter from the DVLA. What is this about?
Recently we all got some letters from the Board of Directors of the DVLA. This may have caused some confusion with a few of our neighbors since the information herein needs further explanation. Therefore, here is a brief summary:
Looking at the past and present, owners have a
pretty good idea how the DVLA works and worked for quite some time. A simple
assurance that 'things will get better soon' may just not be enough,
especially since Boards may change overtime. Best intentions now, can
suddenly be overthrown, and not a lot what homeowners can do then. Instead
of being tossed around between different opinions of the Board and empty
promises, we have an oppurtunity to end this now.
We collect the most asked questions and publish them here in this
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