Pineridge Homeowners’ Association in Craig confronts challenges | CraigDailyPress.com

Pineridge Homeowners’ Association in Craig confronts challenges

Janelle O'Dea

Former president of Pineridge Homeowners' Association Ron Schnackenberg speaks to the association at their yearly meeting on Oct. 13.

Neighborhoods have struggles to deal with and some formally convene to address those struggles. Such groups often are known as homeowners associations.

The Pineridge Homeowners Association met Monday to discuss some residents' concerns about the association and its governing covenants.

After a presentation about city ordinances by Josh Wright, a community service officer with the Craig Police Department, the association discussed what took up the majority of the meeting — the association's covenants and structural organization.

Overall, Pineridge HOA participants want to keep the covenants they already have in place but perhaps amend them to fit current resident concerns and needs. The covenants were amended in 2004.

But not all Pineridge residents want to keep everything the exact same.

David Michel is most concerned about the association's legal standing. He said the association's lack of insurance for its officers prevents people from volunteering, and he's also concerned about the HOA's state registration.

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"We gotta get the legal parts looked at," Michel said. "Once everybody knows they're not going to get sued, they will want to be on the board."

Molly Foley-Healy, a partner at Denver-based Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis and Payne who specializes in HOA law, said because the Pineridge HOA is a volunteer organization and charges less than $5,000 in dues, it is not required to be registered with the state.

The Pineridge HOA, by choosing not to register with the state, loses the ability to enforce delinquent assessments. That means if a member does not pay dues, the association cannot legally make someone pay dues.

Pineridge HOA members currently pay no dues, and an overwhelming majority wants to keep it that way. To charge dues, the Pineridge HOA would need 100 percent participation from the neighborhood.

Many present at Monday night's meeting didn't think 100 percent participation, or all neighborhood members paying dues, is a likely outcome.

Michel is concerned that the Pineridge HOA isn't following other state laws that regulate HOAs, such as the law requiring licensure of HOA managers.

The law doesn't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2015, and because the Pineridge HOA does not currently have a paid manager, it doesn't have to worry about it.

Michel's wife, Lynn, wants to be on the association's architectural board, a body that decides what is OK and not OK to build in the neighborhood, but is somewhat afraid to serve because of the legal risk.

If the HOA requires a resident to, for example, take down a shed not built to the HOA's standards, or prevents residents from building sheds or other structures, Lynn wants to be sure whoever issues the ruling from the HOA won't be sued.

In Lynn's past experience, her HOA paid dues so that they could pay for covenants enforcement and legal review of such enforcement, as well as provide insurance for board members.

"How can they enforce things without dues?" Lynn asked. "We just want them to be fair."

Ron Schnackenberg, former president of Pineridge HOA, said since he has been president, the association has never needed to hire legal help.

"The way we have done it in the past is we've been a neighborhood and gone to one another and pointed out our concern and it's resolved itself," Schnackenberg said.

Residents become members of the Pineridge HOA as soon as they take title of the lot or house, Foley-Healy said. The HOA covenants run with the land states owners are contractually obligated to abide by the covenants, no matter if the HOA is voluntary or has a paid manager.

Therefore, the Pineridge HOA can enforce its covenants legally. But David said he and Lynn were not informed about the Pineridge HOA when they bought their house.

Currently there are three registered HOAs in Craig, according to data pulled from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. The three registered HOAs are the Pine Ridge Crossing Association, the Colorado's Wilderness Ranch Land Owners Assn. Inc. and the Overlook Park Homeowners Association.

David suggested the association apply for insurance for its officers to ease the concern about legal risk for board members, and he also thinks applying may help clear up any legal confusion.

"They will tell you everything you are doing wrong and why they won't cover you," David said.

The Pineridge HOA plans to meet again in January to discuss revisions to bylaws as well as any remaining legal issues.

David and Lynn volunteered to make the proper contact with regulatory authorities to make sure the HOA is in compliance with any applicable HOA regulations.

Contact Janelle O'Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@craigdailypress.com.