Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Are We Paying For?

We've written here before about the flowering tree that our landscape contractor Brickman took out six weeks ago. The tree was removed from a planting bed in what our Governing Documents call "Parcel Common Area." There was no prior discussion about the work with the affected homeowners—and the Association had no plan for replacement. In fact, FVCSA has been neglecting this spot for years. In addition to the flowering tree that was recently removed, five other plantings in this bed were allowed to die over the last several years. None were replaced.

The homeowners on each side of this garage bed pay a $450 maintenance fee every month. Despite the $900 the Association gets every month, these homeowners and their Parcel 6 neighbors now look at an empty bed with two utility valve covers, a Comcast box and a layer of "mulch" put in by Princeton Landing's landscape contractor after the tree removal. The "mulch" contains shredded plastic and other garbage. Soon after installation of this "mulch,"  weeds began to sprout throughout the bed. Our landscape contractor's answer to this problem was to saturate the area with herbicide. Now the bed is filled with dead weeds to go with the shredded plastic and assorted other trash. Yet FVCSA continues to receive over $10,000 a year in maintenance fees from the homeowners who live next to this bed and thousands more from their neighbors, who must also look at the eyesore it created.

The Association had no plan for this bed to begin with and we just learned that it has no intention of having Brickman deal with it until at least next fall. In fact, "in order of importance" this bed comes behind "seeding bare spots on lawns" and "enhancing mailbox and utility station plantings." After that comes "planting something appropriate between driveways left bare by the removal of a dead tree or shrubs." Really?

The group now running Princeton Landing doesn't seem to understand what the Governing Documents say, or for that matter, the role good landscape maintenance plays in keeping up property values. What they apparently do have are high expectations that they can push off onto homeowners, who already pay a hefty monthly maintenance fee, the cost of replanting a bed that is the Association's responsibility to maintain.