A meeting of the Westwood Deed Restrictions Exploration Committee (DREC) was held on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at 7:00 pm, in the WWLOA meeting room.
The meeting agenda, previously sent to the WWLOA email distribution, called for the following amendments to be reviewed:
1) Proposed Article 3G – Detached Garages. RV/Car Ports, Sheds, Workshops and Other Outbuildings (both the version permitting metal and the version prohibiting metal buildings.
2) Proposed Article 9 – Fences and Plants
Proposed amendment reviews not completed in the available meeting time would be placed on the agenda for the May meeting.
At the start of the April meeting, the co-chairs present indicated they wanted to continue discussing the Nuisance article that was reviewed and finalized by the committee at the previous DREC meeting.
During the March meeting’s review of the Nuisance article, several suggestions for revisions were discussed. After a full and thorough discussion several revisions were made to the proposed article. However, there was one proposed change, that when first presented, was thought to be a good suggestion and initially most committee members present were in favor of including this change. This change was to require three (3) complaints from landowners to determine that something was considered a nuisance. It was previously shown that, in these situations, courts have required that something could only be considered a nuisance if it directly affects neighbors that are close enough to see, hear or smell the perceived nuisance from their property and not someone driving by or someone that lives a few streets away. The board President walked the committee through a scenario where three (3) landowners on one street claimed that there was a nuisance issue with a neighbor. According to the proposed change, the WWLOA would be required to enforce the Nuisance article and notify the landowner that they were in violation of the deed restrictions. If the same issue was occurring a few streets over, within the same section, the WWLOA would be required to be fair and consider this situation a violation as well. However, if there were not the required three (3) complaints filed in the second case, the WWLOA would not be able to enforce the second case as a violation because the conditions, as proposed, in the deed restrictions would not have been met in this instance. It was clearly shown that having a nuisance be based on the requirement of having complaints filed by three (3) close neighbors would put the WWLOA into situations where they would not be able to fairly and uniformly enforce nuisances. This would put the WWLOA in a position where they could be held liable for not fairly and uniformly enforcing nuisances throughout an entire section. After this was presented the consensus of the committee was to not make this change to the proposed amendment and to keep the text as originally presented.
A consensus of the committee members present at the March meeting then decided to accept the proposed Nuisance article, without the change to require three (3) complaints determine if something is a nuisance. After completing the review, the proposed Nuisance article including all changes agreed to by the committee was considered finalized by the DREC.
At the start of April’s DREC meeting, the co-chairs indicated that they believed the consensus of the committee members present at the March DREC meeting was to accept the Nuisance Article as finalized as it now exists only after the Board persuaded them to vote in favor of what the Board wants.
This discussion was reopened at the beginning of the April DREC meeting and the same concerns and discussion points were presented once again. A vote was taken. With the exception of the two (2) co-chairs present, the decision to keep the Nuisance article as finalized at the March DREC meeting was unanimous.
While the Nuisance article is finalized by the DREC it is still only a proposed amendment to the deed restrictions. It can only become an amendment to the deed restrictions, for a section, if at least 51% of the landowners within a section indicate they are in favor of it by signing the associated petition when it is ready to be presented to the landowners. Petitions will be prepared after all proposed amendments are reviewed and finalized by the DREC and then reviewed by the WWLOA attorney.
The committee then proceeded with the items on the agenda. Review of Article 3G DETACHED GARAGES, RV/CAR PORTS, SHEDS, WORKSHOPS and OTHER OUTBUILDINGS (the version allowing metal buildings) was initiated. While time did not permit completion of the review and discussion of this proposed amendment, several suggestions were discussed and the consensus was to include many of them in the final proposed amendment. The approach to determining a maximum permitted size for outbuildings was initiated. Two approaches were presented. 1) Determine and set a maximum size in the amendment. 2) Base the maximum allowable size on a calculation that considers the area of the lot currently covered with the house, garage, driveway, patios, walkways, other buildings, etc. compared to a (to be determined) maximum allowable area of the lot that may be covered. The driver behind this approach is the concern with the amount of ground area being covered and reducing the ability for rain water to soak in and potentially negatively impact the drainage issues we are currently facing.
The committee members were asked to please give some thought to these two (2) approaches to establishing a size limit on outbuildings as well as the overall proposed amendments set for review and share their ideas, suggestions or concerns at the next DREC meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm.