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Waterford’s recall election is absolutely unwarranted. This HOA has worked diligently to take reasonable action on behalf of all of its homeowners; it is the recall supporters who have fallen far short of honoring reality and reason. Please see the special section on www.sierrafoot.org; its “What else?” page reviews 18 false claims made by recall supporters.
The seminal issue at the root of the recall is a claim that use of high quality dimensional composition roofing harms property values. It does not. A dramatic counter-example is a current for-sale listing in Bel Air (L.A.), asking $28.5 million for a home with composition roofing.
Local research on EDH values includes Lakehills Estates, adjacent to Waterford. Walking there, I counted 84 composition roofs out of a total of 108. Over most of the past two years Lakehills Estates has recorded higher property values than Waterford’s, measured by both of two metrics: Dollars per square foot and total dollars per home. The same applies to many other EDH neighborhoods with several years’ head start on Waterford in replacing shake roofs with dimensional composition.
Findings of no property value impacts from roofing type come from actual real estate activity records in those neighborhoods, peer-reviewed scholarly studies of values and other sources. Roofing condition can affect the value of individual homes, and Waterford’s condition problems belong almost exclusively to aging wood shake roofs. The recall arguments ignore that fact.
Every HOA is required to act reasonably. California Civil Code §1365(a) authorizes enforcement of CC&Rs unless unreasonable. Waterford’s Roofing CC&R explicitly prohibits “composition shingles” but allows conditional approval of all other materials. For high quality dimensional composition this appears unreasonable for at least two reasons:
First, our original 1988 CC&R prohibition was for “asphalt shingles,” renamed to “composition” in 1999, typically then meaning “three tab.” High quality dimensional composition typically is a fiberglass-based laminate: Not just asphalt, not sharing properties such as thickness with three-tab, and having far better longevity. Second, harm to property values is the specific factor cited as the reason to ban dimensional comp. However, the claimed impact does not exist. An additional factor favoring dimensional comp for some of Waterford’s 142 homes with aging shake roofs is need for structural engineering work to support the weight of tile. One owner reported having grudgingly spent $20,000 for such engineering.
Most Waterford owners supported high quality dimensional composition roofing in a 2007 survey and a 2009 CC&R amendment vote. Both showed 74 percent support, with 156 “Yes” and 60 “No” votes on the amendment. It failed for lack of enough mail ballots to reach a required 197 “Yes” votes, a majority of all members. A second ballot in 2010 with unopposed and factually flawed campaigning in opposition yielded 47 percent “Yes” votes.
Waterford needs the service of a Board of Directors that understands reality and can “take the pulse” of the community with neither bias nor delusion. Current board members have done so; those who initiated the recall have not.
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