Dear Peyton Pines neighbors and friends,
I’m writing this letter as the current President of the Peyton Pines HOA. I’ve lived in PP for seven years now, and have served on two HOA Boards. Most recently, Debbie Debaun and I were elected to the Board last year in 2022.
We have the Annual Meeting in June annually, and often only fifty or so of the 280 or so of the property owners attend. As you know, we have voluntary dues. Two years ago, they weren’t collected and last year about the same number of people paid them. In other years, more than one hundred people have paid them, based on the need to pay dues to vote for Board members. And some people tell me that they didn’t see the reminder to pay last year, as it was on the card reminding of the annual meeting. So maybe just better communications and an easier way to pay would help with collecting dues?
A while back, a Board worked very hard on a proposal to have non-voluntary dues and it was voted down, in that case 143 ballots were returned.
Why am I pointing this out? Just to make the case that we (the Board) don’t hear from most of you. Ever. And at meetings, we tend to have the same conversations about (1) bridle trails and (2) getting rid of the HOA. I wonder how many other people have other topics they would like to bring up or discuss?
Shout out to Debbie Debaun and Becky Milot-Bradford!
They have been doing the work to keep the HOA running, not just this year but for many years.
What Do You Think About Communicating?
It’s kind of tough to communicate with people nowadays. Sure, when someone wants to move in or ask about covenants, they send us an email and that works. Or sometimes there will be a conversation on Nextdoor… but many people aren’t on Nextdoor, or they don’t like the kind of conversations that occur there. And again, many people are not on Facebook. We could find some kind of alternative group communication app for questions and concerns, if people are interested. Or maybe everything’s fine. I’d like to know what you think.. so contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (719)749-2654. I’m planning to summarize what I find and send out a report via email.
50th Anniversary of Peyton Pines
This year is the 50th year since the inception of Peyton Pines in 1973! Wouldn’t it be great to have a celebration? What do we want to be as a community in the future?
I’ve heard from many people who would like us to have some social events and other activities. Some of you have even tried to start them.
Some people who move here think the HOA should organize these things; even some Boards have been made up of people who wanted to do this. The opportunity is still there for anyone who wants to start- I encourage you.. I talk to many people who would participate but don’t want to organize.
What Do You Think About Where to Go From Here (And Will You Volunteer?)
As most of you know, the Peyton Pines HOA has a mixed history of enthusiasm, apathy and, at some points, animosity. It seems to us (the two current Board members) that we, as a community, either need to a) step up and do the work that needs to be done to keep the HOA up and running, b) figure out a way to put it to bed legally, or c) intentionally decide simply quit doing anything, as has happened intermittently, before.
Alternative 1. Business as Usual
To keep going, we need more people to volunteer, whether as Board members or volunteering for other tasks. Fortunately we have had one new volunteer as a Board Member, but need more.
Here are our costs per year, from our Treasurer, Debbie Debaun .
Taxes: $34.10 for mineral rights and picnic area
CPA to prepare taxes $150-200
Website Hosting $113.43
Liability Insurance: $2046 (board and picnic area gazebo)
PO Box rent:$ 226
Register with State: $10
Postcards and postage for annual mailing:$200
So a total of $2900 per year
At $30 per year,
If 97 lots paid their dues, we would easily break even.
What we would need to keep going:
Need to have: New Board Members
Nice to have:
Way to pay dues online.
Last year we talked about new signs and exploring a no-shooting policy at our annual meeting, however no one volunteered.
Maybe revamp notification of annual meeting
This isn’t hard stuff, but someone has to have the time and inclination to do it. Like I’ve said, it’s a good way to get to know your neighbors.
Alternative 2. Graceful Exit
It seems like every year we discuss “getting rid of the HOA” at the Board Meeting.
It would be great if a team could get together and explore this option.
Debbie and others have already done this to some extent, but there have been legal problems with the County. We tend to have this conversation over and over through the years and again it would be great for some team to explore this and document their findings.
Here is my pretty minimalist understanding
- The covenants would still be there with the deed but enforceable by neighbors, there would be no HOA. On the other hand, the current covenants could never be changed. Are either of these a problem?
- Sell the mineral rights and the picnic area property. Would need to hire a lawyer to do this. The picnic area may not be legal to sell.. or might require a vote. We don’t know. Also- what would happen if we stopped paying taxes? We have an idea about the mineral rights (a lien was put on them) but what about the picnic area?
- I’d be willing to host a permanent website (at least as permanent as I am) that would explain the status to future buyers.
So there’s a bit of work to figure this out, whether or not we hired a lawyer (if we could afford it). I’d start by talking to the County.
We might have to take a vote to get this done at some point. But based on the vote on the latest variance (which was very successful in terms of replies), I think we could do it, depending on how many votes were needed.
Alternative 1 and 2 could be combined. We could keep the Board going, and also have a team exploring Alternative 2 at the same time.
Alternative 3. Whatever Happens
Board members resign, and we go back to where we were when the bills simply stopped being paid. We don’t know exactly what would happen.
I’m also asking is whether anyone is interested in volunteering- whether for Alternative 1 or working on a team to develop Alternative 2. Serving on the Board is relatively simple. Becky Milot-Bradford has documented the roles and responsibilities and I can share those with you. Again, please contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks to everyone for your attention!
Current PPHOA Board President
Some Background for New Residents:
Some folks feel more or less strongly, that we don’t need an HOA. And indeed, there are difficulties. To stay current we need to keep up with State regulations, not designed to fit an all-volunteer HOA with voluntary dues. Covenants have not always been enforced. In an ideal world, we would vote and agree on updating the covenants and grandfather in exceptions. But many people who would want to work on this don’t want to put a lot of time in to figure it out, because it’s not clear if people would vote to change them. Several times in the last ten years or so, different boards have asked for people to volunteer to draft up covenant changes for a vote. I think some people even worked on it, but not sure the suggestions were finalized.
Covenants vs. County Code
To understand what the covenants, outdated as they are, do, we have to compare them with the County Code- because the County has more legal sticks than we do. So how much more restrictive are our current covenants compared to county code? Here’s how to see for yourself. I use the example of dog kennels because we had a potential buyer for property who wanted to see if they could house a show dog operation with 12 dogs.
On these County Code tables, we are the fourth column over, RR5 so you can check out both table 5.1 and 5.. Here’s a link. There’s also a great search function if you want to look up special use requirements or definitions. And below are the definitions of major and minor kennel from the EPC code. If we see “S” on the tables of uses, then property owners can do this with a special use permit. Would the County grant one? We don’t know. So our covenants are more restrictive than county code.
“Kennel, Major — Any place or premises used in whole or in part for the purpose of keeping, training, boarding, breeding or sale of domesticated dogs or cats in which 9 or more dogs or cats exist, and all of which exceed 4 months in age, to include animal pounds, animal daycare facilities, and shelters. Establishments where animals are offered for sale as the primary use, such as pet stores, are not classified as kennels.
Kennel, Minor — Any place or premises used in whole or in part for the purpose of keeping, training, boarding, breeding or sale of domesticated dogs or cats in which 5 to 8 dogs or cats exist, and all of which exceed 4 months in age, to include animal pounds, animal daycare facilities, and shelters. Establishments where animals are offered for sale as the primary use, such as pet stores, are not classified as kennels.”
This is only one example, but by checking the tables, you can see that the differences between the Code and our covenants.