|OPINION: More Unnecesary PLPOA Regulations|
|Cecilia & John Haviland | 6/13/12|
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|Once again the PLPOA is seeking to add new regulations to the Standards, Specifications, Rules and Procedures of the Environmental Control Committee. All PLPOA landowners will be subject to these changes that will affect how they landscape their property. These new regulations are restrictive, potentially expensive for homeowners, onerous and will undoubtedly be subject to unintended consequences. They are largely unnecessary as most homes have lovely yards that allow for individual creativity and avoid a “cookie cutter” subdivision look that only belongs in a city.|
Let us examine the wording of this major change to the appearance of our community.
“When land is altered or otherwise improved as defined within the governing documents, it is required that the land be returned to a vegetated and landscaped state, that is to provide ground cover that may include, but shall not be limited to hardscape, grasses, shrubs, trees and other vegetation native to the area so the property may be presented and maintained in an attractive condition.”
This is well intentioned and designed to alleviate the unkempt condition left behind by owners that have empty structures that have not sold or are otherwise unattended. I submit that aside from asking for a reasonable response to cleaning up their property, and asking that they do not impede access to designated easements, the rules should end there. Instead the proposed rules become intrusive. To wit:
“All Project Applications that include altering the natural state of the land shall include a Proposed Landscape Planting Plan.”
Prospective homeowners as well as existing property owners are included in this plan. This means that owners will be required to pay a landscape designer or architect to draw-up these plans incurring cost. Fees for filing these plans with PLPOA are sure to follow. This additional economic burden further discourages anyone from moving into the PLPOA area.
“Installation of landscape must be completed within a year (12 months ) of project completion.”
This sentence seems reasonable on the surface until one reflects on how gardens mature and change over the years. By demanding a fixed plan within a specified time gardeners who slowly build their yards evolving the design over a longer period of time are deprived of their creativity and subjected to a potentially enormous cost to buy all of their plants, shrubs and trees at once. The design cannot be changed without more expense. This discourages building an attractive landscape design in exchange for a cheaper, minimal approach that will never be as attractive as most homes are now.
“Subsequent additions/removals of trees are subject to further restrictions.”
What restrictions? This is so vague as to bring all kinds of abusive possibilities to one’s imagination.
“Generally, landscaping at maturity that will exceed existing fence height limitations in respective subdivisions will not be permitted within easements or setbacks without prior written approval of the Committee. All landscaping in easements may not interfere with the intended use of such easements.”
This is the most onerous clause of all.
1. Most everyone within PLPOA have trees. Those trees grow taller than any fence height restriction. Does this mean that we are no longer allowed to have trees or lovely lilac bushes or any other shade giving vegetation?
2. If everyone has to obtain permission from a Committee to have trees, then most everyone is already out of compliance. What does this mean to old established gardens that have cost residents many years of energy not to mention financial commitment?
3. If one lives on a small lot, trees within setbacks are impossible to have. Is that what we want when we move to a high mountain valley where trees are the predominant native vegetation? Can only the wealthy on large tracts of land be allowed the shade protection, privacy, and beauty of a tree? Why is this restriction necessary at all?
4. Trees also filter the dust and dirt that flies through the air from winds and traffic that winds up in our homes. Many of us live on unpaved and untreated (mag-chloride) roads. Flying clouds of dirt are a large inconvenience for those of us on smaller lots.
I submit that the proposed rule changes end at the termination of the first sentence. Eyesore properties that lower everyone else’s property value are dealt with without destroying the aesthetic charm and individuality of our gardens. Our
landscaping is the last illusion of maintaining some form of property rights.
Please do not pursue this unfortunate idea.
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