Fri 9 Mar, 2018 04:05 pm
Before I had the deed for my property, I just let myself drift along, so far as civic issues. In the time it took me to pay it off, our neighborhood committee dissolved, a bit at a time, and a bit of digging by one resident disclosed that it was never properly registered to begin with. Weekly dues were drying up. By the time I had my place paid, nobody at all contributed anymore. It had been part of my payment structure that I paid faithfully. Once that ended I found there was no longer somebody seated to accept any dues. Over the last eight or ten years the streets developed gigantic potholes and the man who owns the streets refused to fix them, considering that we ought to collectively fend for ourselves. The street lights went dark.
Almost a year ago, concerned residents began to congregate on the weekends to discuss matters. Nobody seemed to want a neighborhood committee, but they wanted something done about the streets. During the first meetings, one man called the owner of the streets and was promptly hung up on before he could state the case. Talk of legal help went nowhere, because nobody wanted to come up with a lawyer's fee. Many, as with myself, did not have that kind of money.
Turns out it would cost $87,000 to repave the streets. We eventually voted to hire a company to patch the potholes on the main street now and do the others several months later. We were less than half of total residents, but our money, plus $1,600 wheedled from the street owner, paid for it and we now have these irregular patches on all our holes. It's a bumpy ride, but we aren't going to damage our cars now.
Persons living where the street lights are located are burdened with a $30 month payment to keep them going and they have been doing pretty well in that regard.
Somebody with a riding lawnmower has been cutting the strip out near the entrance, but nobody has picked up the litter for years and it has been looking more and more like a wing of the city dump. As I mentioned, when I was still paying a monthly fee to live where I do, I let things drift. But a week or so back, I decided the trashy street would be my project, since nobody else appeared interested. So, every day I go out and pick up litter. I've filled my truck a time and a half with junk since I started and it may take a week to conclude the project. I get lots of thanks from passers-by, but so far no help. I completed the largest side fairly quickly, because it was 98% clear land. The other side is overgrown by trees, thorny vines and weeds. The going is tough and I only manage to fill two or three bags on an outing. It may be a whole week before I reach the end, because the exertion tires me so.
Yesterday, as I pulled and raked out trash, I said, "I hope I don't find a dead body out here." As I said that, one black bag fell open, exposing a dog's skeleton. One other observation: Nearly all the containers I've picked up had water in them. The perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
If I were a contractor, I would ask $1,000 to do the job and would put six men out there. Anyway, I have the time for such projects while most of the people have jobs to go to.
The community bulletin board was leaning badly, so I took away time to stand it straight.
I guess the next thing to wait for will be the fixing the remaining potholes. Thanks for reading. - EB
Ran into my worst day yet. Disposable diapers. Wet. Each one weighing several pounds. I used three bags for them. Then, just when I decided to call it a day, I discovered a trove of these diapers waiting for tomorrow.
Man, that sucks but good to see the community coming together with you. I would try to keep it voluntary and stay away from forming an HOA. Those things can get toxic.
The commonly expressed sentiment is, "I don't want somebody telling me how to live. So, no to a committee."
I agree with that sentiment.
The property behind the overgrown side of the street is being offered for commercial purposes. There were a few tires and some buckets of something, eight of them, all heavy, so I moved that stuff deep into the trees, where nobody will see them. I figure when they bulldoze the land those things will be minor for all the moving to be done.
Mission accomplished. There were full containers from oil changes and general trash. One truly disgusting bucket, to the brim with water, swarmed by mosquitos and, when I tipped it over, the bottom quarter comprised of an unknown substance. I will let it dry for a week and then pick it up. Aside from that, I am ready to move to phase two, which is to walk the area two times each week. I still have a truck load of bags, filled with trash, to empty.
I put out nine of these bags for pick up today. That's close to half of what I had left. I didn't feel it was fair to expect more from the service, but I am saving the rest for next pick up day.
Today is the first scheduled pick up day. I can tell I will come home with a full bag at the least.
When you set out to clean up almost endless troves of trash and garbage, you don't notice the little things. Now that it's all clean, cigarette buttes and objects that small are glaring eyesores, so I have been getting those too.
We need a volunteer that owns a riding lawnmower and another with a tree service. I'm making a leaflet to ask for these things to put on the bulletin board. Gratis, natch.
I still average a bag of trash twice a week. Most of it is fast food remnants and empty beverage containers. Aside from needing to exercise and be in the sun, I concede that nobody else is going to make cleanliness a community project and I am unwilling to let it revert to what it was. Most of them have jobs to get to and would feel put upon to be asked to get out once they come home. The other retired folks possibly would get in the way if they sought to help.
But, this weekend, somebody has been picking up trash out there.
I guess they felt either a bit of civic pride or else compassion for an old man.
I guess I wonder how things got that way. Was there ever a “ turnover” from the original developer to an association, to be run by a Board? Do you have CCRs?
Who did you write your check out to all that time?
Things seem OK now, but what if a kid slices his foot open on association property and sues? Guess who’s liable and who gets sued - individually, without the protection of the corporation?
Most likely there will soon be an influx of young buyers for your homes . They will wonder, too.
The original developer seems to have started the association. When I came here there were a few persons, about perhaps one eighth of the residents, who took monthly fees and had projects done. The same developer held my mortgage, until it was sold to the present developer. Mortgage payments included taxes, trash service, insurance and maintenance fees. People who paid maintenance fees on their own, slowly dropped out. Then, my payments were no longer paid by my mortgage holder, although he continued to charge me. I found this out when the association head quit. He said the money had dried up. Nothing more could be done. In the months that followed, we learned that there never had been a legal association. For several years the streets continued to deteriorate, until enough of us banded together to pay for patches. The woman who mowed the entrance had to quit. The trash continued to pile up. The current developer takes money but does not respond to requests for anything. There is no common will to seek legal help.
The developer IS the association until there is a turnover. That usually happens when a percent of the homes have been sold or after a certain number of years have passed.
All this should be outlined in your original deed. You can also go to the county and see all the paperwork, since it had to be filed (corprate papers, plans, CCRs, bylaws, etc) when the complex was built.
The trash service took away my last bags, today. I bought a battery blower to help clean around the mailbox area. Friday I had to cut down lots of poison ivy that surrounds the slab. I want to kill it off, but don't know yet what to use. No Roundup for sure.
Pulling poison ivy by (gloved) hand is probably the most effective method for removal, but requires direct contact with the plant and extreme care should be taken before disturbing the plants and their roots. Larger roots may require some digging.
Smother the plants by placing a sheet of heavy cardboard, plastic or rubber over the invaded area. This strategy is effective for killing plants, but watch for “runners,” roots that will reach beyond the edges of the covered area to sprout.
Use a natural spray. Dissolve one cup salt in a gallon of water and add a tablespoon of dish soap to create a solution that can be sprayed on poison ivy. While this method of killing poison ivy is effective in the short run, it will probably require future treatments to keep the ivy at bay. Spraying white vinegar on the plants is another common treatment usually requiring multiple treatments for eradication. But use this strategy with care. Neighboring plants may be damaged if your poison ivy-fighting spray makes contact.
Douse with boiling water. Poured over the roots, boiling hot water will also kill invasive poison ivy, but it may take several tries to completely destroy hidden roots.
Herbicides are effective against poison ivy, but may require an increased concentration. Consult manufacturer instructions. Natural treatment is preferable, but these commercial herbicides will get the job done. Use judiciously.
This is an infestation that is sure to have roots as big as ropes, like I had in my yard. I recall some of them close to twenty feet long. For years residual roots continue to produce plants. I just spent over a week digging more up in my yard. The sort of plants that grow wild in my neighborhood produce a crosshatch of roots that one must break through or eradicate before poison ivy can easily be dug up. I wish I could plow up the area at the mail, then have an earth mover load the whole works on a truck for hauling off. Then dump in some good lawn growing dirt. I try to be careful about chemicals, partly for my own health, but also because I live next to the pump that brings up our household water. I covered over a great square of my own ground and that killed off a lot of bad plants, but after several years still ended having to dig poison ivy and the thorn vines. I've tried the salt - vinegar - soap solutions a few times, but they require a diligence I may not live up to. When I lived in California as a kid, I only had to walk near the poison oak to develop the sort of rashes that keep one home from school. Anyway, I guess I will just do the salt soap thing this year.