Newspaper Archive of
The Hogansville Herald
Manchester, Georgia
September 18, 2014     The Hogansville Herald
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September 18, 2014

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l and tile ! HI e, as a family, clearly suf- fer from what I will "familiarity syndrome. We had some friends visiting recently who noticed and commented on things within our community that we - quite ifrankly - have come to take for granted. We longer consciously notice (and therefore eappreciate) the things we're exposed to :every single day. We live in a large, sub-divided, master- !'planned community with over 1,100 homes, place to live. :and it is (as my friend remarked) "certffi- :ably upscale." We have great neighbors and sidewalks on which to walk, run, ride bikes and push strollers. Ours is not a posh "gated" community, tbut we do have entry points with mounted cameras so the police have something to :'work with should the need arise. The common areas are well maintained land landscaped with seasonal plantings and : flowers. There's a nice crew of people in the 'maintenance department that hangs :'Christmas wreaths on the light poles during !the holidays and makes sure that mailboxes !are repaired or replaced when they're occa- 'sionally plowed down. My friend almost ).gushed about how nicely landscaped every- "one's individual lawns are, and the absence iof chain link fences and annoying political )signs (her opinion; not mine). \ ': HMM. NOW that you mention it, the neighborhood is quite pretty and very well maintained. No one has unsightly weeds .growing too tall or junk cars, spare parts, and old refrigerators strewn all over the veway ol fr ll l wll, Home values in our eighborhood have remained strong hrough the last few years, too, when the i!housing market has been challenged in ::many ways. Does the sense of order and the clear standards have a bearing on this? I would venture a guess and say: Yes. The benefits of a strong, active and well- run Homeowner's Association (HOA) are extensive; many of them are listed above. Property values are protected when stan- dards are set and enforced. The ambience !hnd attractiveness of a neighborhood is nhanced when individual homeowners can design and build independently, but have to eet established criteria to insure the com- munity, as a whole, remains a desirable HAVE YOU ever driven through a neighborhood where a nicely groomed and well-maintained home is adjacent to a home in desperate need of repair? We've all seen - and probably commented upon - the dichotomy. It's hard not to notice when the homes are in close proximity. We have our very active and attentive Homeowner's Association (HOA) to thank for most of the things on which our friends were favorably commenting. We pay semi- annual dues, and attend occasional meet- hags, and we signed a contract accepting a plethora of rules when we chose to buy in this neighborhood. But for all the good things provided by a well-run HOA, there are some not-so-good things, too. For instance, these very same friends are retired and travel around the country, visiting friends. This is the good life, and they've earned it. They have a beautiful recreational vehicle that is their home on wheels. ON THE third dayof their'planned four=- day stay, we received a visit from our HOA representative who very politely but very firmly informed us that our friends RV could not remain parked on our substantial (and partially hidden) driveway. This, apparently, was a clear violation of an HOA rule. I politely explained that they would be leaving the next day, and asked if it would be OK if they stayed where they were for just one more night. The answer was: No. "Several" neighbors had "complained" the very first night that this "gypsy" vehicle was parked "in plain view" in the neighbor- hood. Let me assure you, this is a beautiful RV; seriously nicer than some homes in which | Homeowners who have spent many years one home likely raised a family and shared i- nany memories inside of those walls. When kids grow and move on it can be some- hat bittersweet. Being left with vacated :Tooms -- especially ones still decked out in children's decor -- can cause the house to feel more empW than it has to be. Now is the time turn those empty rooms into adult spaces. Homeowners shouldn't feel guilty about !taking down band posters and packing away (:Little League baseball caps. Chances are the hildren made good use of their rooms and now it's time for the adults to reclaim the spaces for their very own. !: THERE ARE easy ways to turn children's Jaedrooms into spaces adults can enjoy. With ture and items that please the residents should be incorporated. Lighting should be used to set the mood. If the room will be used for television watch- ing, have dimmer switches so that the bright- ness can be tuned down. For reading or office work, have overhead lights and task lighting, such as a desk lamp. For the "man cave" the room can reflect interests, such as sports or fishing, but be decorated in a subtle way to complement the rest of the home's decor. For example, if a guy likes a sports team, he can paint the walls in a subdued shade of the team colors instead of hanging pennants or player jerseys on the walls. Homeowners should remember to include extra seating and space so that they can enter- few fixes, the room can be a man's space, tain friends or family in their newly adapt- woman's retreat, or a room both can enjoy, ed specialized rooms. A table for snacks or Because the room will reflect the adult even a small refrigerator hidden within a dec- homeowners' interests, it should be designed orative piece of furniture can keep snacks _ vith their needs in mind. Comfortable furni- and beverages available. i;Winter's Not Too Far Away: Check That Roof 'i As the winter months the roof framing structure to ing on the roof, there is an :approach, our homes first make sure it is not compro- increased likelihood of leak- haeasure of protection mised. Visually scan the roof ing or ice damming. against rain and snow is the for any sagging or uneven 3. Make sure that gutters Roof. GAF, North America's areas. If you do see an area arefastenedproperlyandare largest Roofing that looks uneven, this may tight and secure so that they mean damage to the roof deck don't cause overflow and Canufacturer based in New ersey, offers thesetips for below the shingles. build-up or fall off the fascia how to get your roof ready 2. Inspect the gutter sys- board. Leaking water can end . or the cold winter. If you tems to make sure they are up causing damage not just would like to speak with a not clogged with branches, to your roof, but to your inte- .GAF specialist about these leaves, or other debris. This rior walls, as well. ': ips or would like the tips in is important to ensure that 4. Check the valleys of the article format, please let rain water and snow have a roof to ensure that they are know. way off of the roof. If the also free and clear of debris 1. Start off by checking water or snow is left stand- that can add weight. I've lived! I offered to go and speak With the community, ask the HOA for the minutes "offended" neighbors, ask their indulgence from their last two or three meetings. You and explain that our friends were departing can tell a lot about an HOA if they are at 0600 the next morning, obsessing with minutiae or attending to the The answer: No. The HOA received a big concerns of the residents. The minutes- phone call from a "concerned" neighbor at should reflect long-term planning and budg- 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Our friends had et discussions, not just debate and argument arrived around 2:00 that afternoon. The over flowerbeds, grass violations and fence HOA rules, however, allow an RV to be lines. parked for 48 hours. DUES & FEES. MY FRIENDS had more experience Find out what the annual dues are, and if with this than did I. While criss-crossing the they are paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annu- country, they've dealt with inflexible HOA's ally or annually. If they're paid monthly, in other states and communities, and have chances are your HOA administrators are learned that there are places that will allow spending too much time on administration you to "rent" a parking space at a modest and not enough on problem-resolution and rate. planning. Also find out what the dues and They graciously agreed to move the fees cover, and if you're expected to donate vehicle, your time to plant flowers and rake commu- There are several embedded lessons on nity areas. HOA's here: Paid or volunteer staff? Read the Homeowner's Association rules BEFORE you buy in a neighborhood. ASK IF the H0A has a paid staff or if Some rules are truly and absurdly limiting, it's all volunteers. There's a great deal of Condo communities often have limits on the evidence demonstrating that "all volunteer" size of pets. We have a friend who sold her HOA staffs have a tendency to focus more home which she inherited when her mother on "pet projects" than on community better- passed away, rather than abandon her merit. trained and obedient seeing-eye dog,. The Rules important to you? HOA rules for her community only allowed Can you put up a flagpole? (Not in my animals up to 30 lbs., and this beloved fami- neighborhood) Can you have yard sales? ly friend weighed in at 50. Either he had to (Another "No" for me!). Can I have a front go, or they had to move. They moved, yard fence? ("No" again for me). Can I park Ask for HOA minutes, an RV in my own driveway while friends visit for a few days? (You already know the IF YOU'RE seriously interested in a answer to that one!) Stand With Their Community... First Peoples Bank- Pine Mountain Office First Peoples Bank- Hamilton Office Community Banks have been, and continue to be, safe, sound and solid. We continue to be here when you need us, taking deposits, making loans and looking out for our communi Let Us Help You With All Your Banking Needs! 'ACommuni Bank" 105 Chipley Street Pine Mountain 121 South College Street Hamilton Each O~po~lo )nu~ to ~.~0,000 LENDEREQUAL~ HOUSIN6 , ~.