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The Shavano Ridge Homeowner's Opinions

1. (2-24-04) I will gladly give my opinion on the web site. The idea is terrific. I agree that the community should have a voice. However, the content is a bit too "angry" and would serve better if the facts could be stated in such a way that left the hard feelings aside. I am also curious as to where/if other complaints have been posted? I commend your effort to inform our community, as well as organize and request changes.

2.(2-24-04) This web site is very informative and well-done. For years, many of us have opposed the high-handed "big brother mandates" the BOD has imposed on Shavano Ridge Homeowners.  We agree with your web site suggestions below:   * have open meetings with “true participation”   * non BOD homeowner participation on all committees   * annual revision of SR rules and regulations-- voted on by homeowners  * considering SR as a community with the usual rights of American citizens, not a business using the “good ole boy” system of over-management, lawyers, and   BOD  Our CONCERNS are categorized below: • The annual meeting is a JOKE!  Getting a "legal" quorum # to ramrod their agenda through, with little or no time allowed for discussion, is the purpose and it is a farce for communication among interested SR neighbors. We need several interested candidates to run for places on the board, but each time someone new desires to serve, they are "shot down" by the establishment -- the current BOD, who want to control the subdivision. There once were a whole cafeteria full of interested homeowners at the annual meeting.  Because everything was "cut and dried", sadly, the majority lost interest.   • With none of the amenities such as a clubhouse, gazebo, or park/playground, what  are we getting for our $132 dues (except a small area of watered and cut grass seen when coming into our subdivision)? It would seem more advantageous to all to pay a little more, if necessary, to use the only vacant lot in the subdivision for one of the three items above that would benefit all homeowners.  NO one will ever buy that lot with the high line behind it, so why not build/make something on it we could all use. With a voted on plan and community volunteers, we could build/make one of these three common-area items.   •  Having to "ask permission" to paint, stain, shingle, or modify our property in any way seems" overbearing" to say the least!  Having a book of colors, stains, bases, etc. displayed at some close-by area business, is the only fair way for all to know what any “degree of standardization” is. No one wants unsightly car ports or old junked cars in front of  homes, but the Architectural Control Committee thrives on having the final say as to what can be done to "our property"!   •  Who wants to live in such a “high degree of standardization” that any individuality is discouraged?  We each paid for the right to “hold a title” to our home in Shavano Ridge.  Having the BOD act in such dictatorial ways over trivial matters such as paint and stain color is insulting and demeaning to all homeowners.   •  Getting “citations” and/or “warnings” from some “busybody” paid or unpaid, concerning something on our property.  Reminders and suggestions in the newsletter, of things “noticed’ in the neighborhood, would be much more friendly.  Mary MacDougall, you have our vote and hopefully, enough other votes to be elected. Good luck.

3. (2-24-04) The benefit of this "Notice to SR Homeowners" is that it will perhaps spark an interest among homeowners in their neighborhood and the management of it.  We are new to the neighborhood; and, over the past year I have attended several board meetings, and besides the Board, I was the only other person from the neighborhood there.  At the annual meeting last year we barely met the requirement for holding the meeting.  Because of this lack of interest, I imagine it is hard to get any new faces on the Board.  As for the CC&Rs and By-Laws, yes I have read them as I had to sign them as a part of the legal contract in closing on our home.  I like the idea that there are rules preventing someone in my neighborhood from painting their house fluorescent green, parking a rusty car in their front yard and decorating with neon signs and pink flamingos.  On the other hand, I do believe the colors, standards, etc... need to be written out clearly and presented to each homeowner.  Perhaps this is a task the new board will undertake.  As for the existing Board, I think we need to be a little less angry and aggressive and be more thankful and understanding that they give of their time and put themselves out there.  Whether we all agree on what they have done or not, at least they have given it a shot and in my opinion tried to be as conservative as possible in setting colors and standards.  And if we want changes, then more people need to step forward, not just a few angry persons. Anger is self-serving and will not produce community unity. Perhaps if people start attending the board meetings and presenting concerns and suggestions, the neighborhood would start to move in the direction of positive changes.  Hope to see some fellow neighbors at the board meetings.

4. (2-24-04) We want to express our heartfelt solidarity with Mary and Dorian MacDougall. Thank you for having the guts and dedication to do this. We are proud to live in the same community as you. Thank goodness there are some good decent and honest folk out there who care about this community enough that they are prepared to stand up to the current BOD. This is a rigged game and it is obvious from the high handed smug and arrogant attitudes and actions of some Board members that they think they own Shavano Ridge. They run a tight ship and wish to impose an ugly conformity on the rest of us. We have been shocked and extremely disappointed to see how some well meaning neighbors and friends have been treated at Board meetings. There are too many petty minded busybodies who seem to have too much time on their hands, who seek to judge others and make up the rules as they go.  Someone needs to judge the judges. Mary, you have our vote and we strongly urge all members of Shavano Ridge to send in your polls, mark your calendars, and make sure you attend the meeting on March 10th and let your voices be heard. Find out what's really going before the usual suspects try to pull the wool over your eyes again. Do not let the status quo continue. Let's ensure there is a good turnout to turn out some of these folks. One last thing. For those who seem to detect an "angry tone" on this website, we detect a bit of disingenuous "red herring" politics. This website is impressively polite and even tempered. Maybe it's about time some one did get a little upset about business as usual.

5. (2-24-04) To be more believable, you need to be more objective. You are too biased in your approach because you have that color issue with the Architectural Control Committee because you didn't want to follow rules. Your comments are all slanted and prejudiced and loaded with emotionality.  Lacks fact and truth. We can all use some objective in the neighborhood and certainly more volunteers to come forward and do the selfless work the Board has had to endure.  I've been to the meetings and the Board members are dedicated, most of the times, but at least show up to do their civic duty for our community.  More than you have done, MacDougalls!!

6. (2-24-04) We need to have the terms "uniformity and standardization" defined in the context of our subdivision. I don't believe that any decisions should be made "behind closed doors," and concerning the Gordon Hartman homes, "we were sold out."

7. (2-24-04) With regard to these neighborhood patrols, these retired folks need to get a life!

8. (2-24-04) I want someone to explain why we have such a large bank balance with the limited responsibilities we have.

9. (2-25-05) Orange is not an appropriate color for this neighborhood.

10. (2-24-04) You shouldn't have to get permission to repair or repaint your own home. We had to get permission to repaint our home white-the original color.

11. (2-25-04) Since the beginning, anyone who has wanted to be on the board could be on the board. They went begging for new people. As time has gone on not too many want to serve because it is a thankless job. I applaud the board for being as fair as they are. I have violated some restrictions and got them corrected. When I moved in I was advised of the restrictions. Part of the reason I moved in this area is because I knew it would be kept to certain standards, which I agree with. As for painting the house, I painted with no problems, but I stuck to a color that blended into the neighborhood. The board is only looking out for the interest of the entire neighborhood.

12. ( 2-25-04) I have attended many SR board meetings in the past and was very unhappy with what I saw. Although I myself did not have an issue, I went to support my neighbor and I was horrified at the disrespect given my neighbor by the board. Basically, their attitude was sit down and shut up or we will take action against you. A few times of that treatment and I quit going. We are a neighborhood, and if there is that much disrespect towards each other I no longer care what happens to my neighbors. Tell me why should I call the police if I see someone robbing a neighbor’s house. But yet the board wants our support and money – shame on them. Signed, a homeowner who has watched this injustice go on for too long.


14. (2-25-04) I want to THANK the Shavano Ridge Board of Directors for all the hours of unselfish time that they've served to keep our community going.  Your selfless dedication to the good of our community is truly appreciated despite the sick attitude of the MacDougalls and all they have brainwashed.  I would think our residents were smarter than rats and used logic and common sense to objectively see what a conniving self-preserving attitude the MacDougalls have.  Have we elected them King and Queen of our subdivision yet?  Their stingy assessment of the Board is all wrong and biased -- people who want to light fires like the MacDougalls will do all of us an injustice.  Their willy nilly childish pranks supported by a majority of the homeowners will persuade the established citizenry to flee and thereby leave the remnants of Shavano Ridge to the upstart wolves.  Shavano Ridge will be NO MORE with the likes of Mary MacDougall on the Board!

15. (2-26-04) Comment #12.  The writer of comment #12 is a liar.  Everything that was printed is a lie or mistruth.  The Board has NEVER denied any homeowner the opportunity to speak nor EVER told a homeowner to keep quiet.  Perhaps the writer was attending the meetings in another subdivision.  Let's keep the Board issues to the truth and not let all these stupid fallacious statements scar the reality of what's going on.  The Board may not be perfect but has NEVER done what the writer claims. I am not on the Board, but I know for a fact that only ONE non-Board member has attended the schedule bi-monthly meetings in the past year.

16. (2-26-04) GORDON HARTMAN HOMES:  Gordon Hartman Homes may not have been the best choice -- it was much more attractive than a possible bar or crematorium.

17. (2-26-04) MACDOUGALLS:  You missed the basic point and now you have the subdivision cavorting to your irresponsible approach to living in a society.  YOU FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE CC&Rs that you said you read.  And Mary MacDougall is a PHD? YOU FAILED TO SUBMIT AN ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL COMMITTEE REQUEST TO REPAINT YOUR HOUSE -- NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE!!  (And tell everyone the second time was AFTER you met with the Board on June 10th!!)  Sounds like another "do as I will" rather than do as I say.

18. (2-26-04) It's obvious the MacDougalls can't read.  By virtue of a homeowner's request, the Board has posted "no solicitation" signs at both entrances to Shavano Ridge.  I detest having UNSOLICITED MATERIAL stuffed on my front door.  Is this the kind of rule-violating homeowner we want on the Board?

19. (2-24-04) I read your lengthy letter and my first response was that somebody did wrong, couldn’t follow the rules, found out they couldn’t get away with it, and now they’re bitter and angry. It reminded me of what my parents said years ago, “ as long as you’re living under this roof, you’ll abide by the by our rules.” As adults we still can’t get our way. As long as you’re living in this subdivision you have to abide by the rules. However, there is an easier alternative for you if things are so incredibly bad like you make it sound. Why not just move away. I am very grateful for all the time and energy the board contributes to make sure my subdivision maintains high standards and to prevent irresponsible and self-centered homeowners from doing whatever they want as long as it makes them happy. It wouldn’t take long for a few deteriorated and conspicuously off-colored homes to bring down the property values of the majority: have you noticed the unkempt yard on the corner of Shavano Ridge and Shavano Cross? It embarrasses me when my friends visit and comment, “what’s wrong with your neighbor?” In other words, why can’t he maintain his yard like everyone else? It stands out! Since your mindset is so biased, I don’t believe you will give accurate results of responses to your opinion poll. Responses like mine may get “lost in the mail.” Also, you discriminate against us who do not have Internet access at home. I use computers at work but am strictly prohibited from using them for anything not work related. If I don’t follow these rules, I could get fired. To be fair, why not distribute more flyers with the responses? I have lived in areas without homeowners associations. When I purchased my current home, I did read the covenants and was very satisfied with the CC&Rs. I still am! Never again will I live in an area that doesn’t have an HOA. I am especially grateful that the Shavano Ridge HOA is not a pushover to “special interest groups.”

20. (2-26-04) The “anti-MacDougalls” camp with their defensive comments, emotional language and accusations have been extremely disappointing to me. They are the ones who seem to be childish and not able to separate fact from fiction. Yes, I agree being a board member can be a thankless job and time consuming. They do a great job at dealing with routine business of coordinating with the management company on landscaping, repairs, holiday decorations and national night out and I appreciate their hours in these efforts. However, in the other matters I feel that democracy - one of the prized advantages of being American has not been fully exercised here by the board. There was definitely not an open communication with the residents of Shavano Ridge to enable a fully informed consultation with the board and city council about the Gordon Hartman development. This deal smells of corruption. I am appalled to see that although the MacDougalls have gone to great lengths to create a public forum of discussion and provided factual evidence of their plight, that they are accused of all manner of things – when they were the ones being harassed. Board members and board supporters please look at the facts and take a long hard look at yourselves and this situation. Can you honestly say that you are being fair to the residents of this neighborhood by constantly pursuing the same petty issues. Are you not mismanaging our communal funds which were intended for the use of the community, rather than unnecessary legal battles. I urge all Shavano Ridge residents to make an effort to come to the March 10th meeting. If we have a packed house, lets see how many support the way things have been for the last ten years and how many want a change. I believe many more care than have been showing up to recent meetings but they just GAVE IN to the few who seemed to be running the show. What is the point of going to a meeting where your opinion does not count and all the decisions have already been made? Good on you Mary for having the courage and commitment to stand. You have shown quiet strength and dignity in the face of adverse harassment. You have my support. GOOD LUCK to you.

21. (2-26-04) The Gordon Hartman homes should raise our resale values. They start at $140,000 with only 1488 to 2200 sq. feet. They have very small lots and, based on our observations, have quite poor construction.

22. (2-26-04) All you busybody board members - just leave us alone to get on with our lives. We don't want to live in some 50's era Soviet-style system of conformity and "correct thinking". Some of us can think for ourselves thank you very much. You sold us down the river on the Gordon Homes project. You sold us down the river on neighborhood facilities. We've had enough of your corrupt ways.

23. (2-26-04) I do believe that the board and supporters are COLOR BLIND - there are no orange houses in Shavano Ridge. There use to be a pale apricot or salmon colored one and the MacDougalls one is a shade of mustard brown (that matches their brick work). However house color is not the issue here. The problem is the inflexible attitude of the board and how they treat members of the neighborhood homeowners association. Underhanded tactics make people feel uncomfortable and angry. There is no common courtesy or respect. That's why many people don't go to the meetings.

24. (2-26-04) The current board members are the ones who should get out of Shavano Ridge. We don't want you. Good Riddance!

25. (2-26-04) I hope that you, dear reader, are taking note of the kind of responses the Pro board/anti-MacDougall crowd are relentlessly posting here. Remember, these people have a lot of time on their hands. They are feeling threatened and are aware that there is a groundswell of opinion against them. As you can read for yourself their responses are ugly, petty, malicious in tone and content. Think about it. Are these the kinds of values we want our board to project? If not, then vote them out. They are ruining your lives and your neighborhood. No one wants to buy property in a neighborhood misruled by mean-spirited litigious thugs.

26. (2-28-04) I have complained about the entrance to Shavano Ridge on Rogers Parkway several times - no response. I also have called management about the sprinklers not working at the entrance - they never call back. Hence, the whole entrance has died. Also, the grass needs weed killer - we are watering weeds. No one on the board or management care. Good luck, we need a change.

27. (2-26-04) Thank you - believe it's time for a change and reduction in membership fees.

28. (2-29-04) Thanks for taking the initiative! I moved to SR from another development where the board controlled everything, including street parking. There was one problem after another - law suits, leans put on property, you name it.  I an not unhappy with my dealings with the board - haven't had any conflict with them but can see how I could if what happened to you, happened to me!

29. (3-2-04) I am one for keeping the neighborhood nice, and the property values up.  However, I never intended to be part of a system that invades our privacy, and allows neighbors to snoop on other neighbor's property.  I will never agree to give up hard earned personal and private rights in order to appease some neighbor or community committee.  It amazes me that my neighbors accumulated the knowledge and wealth to purchase property in the $200K range without a committee's help.  They pay their taxes without help, but some committee members feel that their neighbors could not possibly have the intelligence to maintain their property without committee input.

30. (3-2-04) Why did the board okay the roof for the family on Shavano Birch that put a aqua green roof on their home, and the family that had the brown roof had to have theirs replaced? Sounds like there's unfairness to me! The board okayed the MacDougalls last paint job. Frankly, I can't tell it looks any different. It is a shade lighter, but the sun would have done that free. It cost them $2000 to repaint. Their home is as well maintained as any board members.

31. (3-3-04) After reading all the comments it is clear to me that some new and neutral people are needed on the board. EVERYONE in our neighborhood should read" Be Reasonable." I believe that is what is needed to run our neighborhood. Reasonable people reasonable dues! With the balance we have, as a neighborhood, we should do something for ourselves and our children rather than pad the pockets of a management company. A walking track, playground or a common area - maybe even reduce or eliminate the dues. Let's enjoy our neighbors and our neighborhood. Many people in this neighborhood with children came here to raise their families in a community of families, not receive nasty-grams for leaving a toy on the lawn. What a shame that a few curmudgeons, who have forgotten the joy of watching a child play and befriending your neighbor, have become so overwhelmed and bitter that they have forgotten what was important and feel the need to belittle and control the rest of the residents. If your neighbor's lawn is too high... have you offered to mow it? - I have and I will.  Community starts with yourself. I may not like everyone's choice of house colors but I ABSOLUTELY do not want my HOA fees going towards litigation against my neighbor.  Using our funds for a private little war is a waste of time and money. The thought of covenant patrols roaming our neighborhood worries me and the thought of paid patrols by non-residents angers me.  What worries me more is that potentially angering our BOD could put me in the same boat as the MacDougalls. I for one am reading the book and going to the meeting. Please invite 3 neighbors and join us at the meeting on March 10. My eyes have been opened and I want to know the facts... not the rhetoric.  Even if only a small portion of the information is true, Shavano Ridge has a serious problem. Mary, you have our votes, if for no other reason than we need change.  There are four Nominations to elect three directors from, and nominations will be taken from the floor.  We should have three new candidates available to replace as many people on the current board as possible and more standing by for the next election.  At the very least the current board should take the latest chain of events as a vote of no-confidence from the residents and their motivations and effectively as leaders is now in question.

32. (3-3-04) Has anyone noticed the mess at the end of Shavano Point?! How long has that toilet paper been in the trees and the cross on the kittens buried in the front yard?

33. (3-3-04) Lighten Up!! Toilet paper in the trees is a mess and should be cleaned up,  but think how that kid that placed the cross on the kittens grave feels. Pets are very dear to some children. Let the child grieve! Weren't you a kid once!

34. (3-4-04) I wish the BOD would give us answers to the following questions, preferably in writing: • How was the BOD created?    • Did they get elected by the homeowners?    • How many votes did they get in the last election, and what percentage of the homeowners voted for them?    • How did the BOD find the current management company? Did the BOD inform the homeowners about the how and why the management company was found? I never heard a single word about it!    • What authorization did the management company get from the BOD?    • What authorization did the BOD get from us homeowners? I think the BOD has the responsibility and obligation to give us an answer!

35. (3-4-04) I just read the San Antonio Current article. That Board member X is literally unbelievable! I'm glad he has the luxury of being able to spend his time snooping on the rest of us. Some of us live in two full-time earner families with kids. We're paying hard earned taxes to support Board member X's luxury retirement lifestyle - just so he and his fellow travelers can spy on us! What about those ugly sunscreens on his house? Did he ever seek ACC approval? Board member X has no idea what civility and neighborliness mean. You're not in the army now Mister Board member X (though you are still living off our taxes). You should be ashamed of yourself. Unfortunately you obviously have no shame left.

36. (3-4-04) I appreciate the time spent to log neighbors' perspectives on this website.  It celebrates our diversity.  Hopefully, it will precipitate positive participation in the evolution of Shavano Ridge as a dynamic group of homeowners transcending beyond property values and guidelines to ultimately enriching our lives by having known one another.

37. (3-6-04) The problem is not the CC&Rs, but the power intoxicated board members.

38. (3-7-04) As an 8 yr resident, I have seen numerous changes in our community.  I appreciate what the Board's goals are and I also appreciate what the dissenting homeowners are saying.  What we clearly need is moderation, balance and civility.  We need open, clear communication and active participation by more than just a few interested parties.  I, myself am guilty of no attending or participating in the Board, and I, as many others have many reasons why that is so.  But the fact remains we have a wonderful community, an excellent opportunity to grow, and, all the makings for a tragedy. Board member X and the Board have done many commendable deeds in our behalf.  All of which is volunteered time.  But the Board has, at the very least, developed an impression of aloofness and nit-pickiness.  At the same time, homeowners who fail to adequately research the laws and deed restrictions of properties (i.e. leaving the discussion entirely up to sales people who are interested in selling them the property)  they intend to purchase have little to complain about.  The solution is not shrill voices or secret meetings or vague references to color charts no one can find.  The answer is  the building of communication, developing a "Standards Reference Book" of real significance, and by us focusing as a community on our blessings and good fortune. We have good streets.  We have neighbors that care.  We have nice houses.  We have choices.  We have a lot to work on and with.

39. (3-8-04) Comment to #27 above.   Sure, lets go ahead and reduce the membership dues.  If others say they don't get anything for the $132.00 we all pay, then lets abolish it.  In its place, lets use the following as a starter. Duty/Job/Functions: Mow grass at 2 front entrances, along Rogers Parkway and common areas. Trim shrubs, trees, plants, flowers at 2 front  entrances, along Rogers    Parkway and common areas. Apply mulch as required. Apply fertilizer, weed pre-emergent, or other chemical applications as required. Replace dead plants. Replace burned out light bulbs. Check water sprinkler system. Adjust weekly watering schedule. Replace broken sprinkler heads or system failures. Print the newsletter. Pick up the newsletter. Distribute the newsletter. Maintain a post office mail box. Receive mail and distribute to appropriate volunteers to handle. Pay bills. Maintain association financial records. Maintain association historical records. Maintain liability for homeowners serving as Board Members. Maintain bank account for paying bills. Obtain and print materials for welcome package. Door-to-door solicitor to collect voluntary donations to cover cost of materials and labor for above listed jobs.

40. (3-8-04) OK, lets get all you volunteers to line up and sign up for these jobs.

41. (3-8-04) There is absolutely NO reason to attack Board member X, who has volunteered countless hours of his own time for the betterment of this wonderful neighborhood. He is a "giver" instead of a "taker" and should be commended instead of criticized. He has prevented theft on our property and always lends a helping hand without being asked. We are VERY grateful to Board member X for being a GREAT neighbor. Thank you Board member X.  Signed two non-BOD members.

42. (3-9-04) The criticisms of the Board will always continue.  Unfortunately, criticism come from homeowners who like to criticize and not do something about it.  Run for the Board, volunteer for committee assignments, get involved and CHANGE things if you don't like it.  Join the MacDougall's crusade and we'll all sit around bad-mouthing our neighbors until the whole community goes down.  You got, Board members!!  I salute you for volunteering your time and efforts on behalf of our community!!

43. (3-9-04) I am so glad we sent those two land rovers to Mars to bring back our homeowner who wrote comment 34.  You have obviously been out to lunch on Mars and obviously didn't read your CC&Rs prior to, during or after title closing on your house.  GEESH!!

44. (3-10-04) I hope that everyone who took the time to post their opinion will take the time to go to the meeting on the 10th.

45. (3-10-04) The homes in the new section of Shavano Ridge look to be constructed in a substandard way -- clearly the brick facades of the rest of the subdivision are lacking and this is a lower class neighborhood, threatening to reduce property values in the entire subdivision. I clearly remember in the On the Ridge newsletter an explanation that the homes would be constructed in a similar manner to the existing SR homes. Bull!  Someone deliberately mislead someone, and we're holding the bag. I'd like to use our legal fee fund to sue that person, rather than our neighbors.

46. (3-18-04) Gordon Hartman homes approved by the current association. Um! Something smells really bad.

47. (3-18-04) We have no one to blame for the BOD but ourselves. They have been willing to do the job when the rest of us (me included) have not. If your paint story is true, then they are being unreasonable. Remember, power corrupts. I do believe we need standards for the neighborhood, otherwise we end up looking like a KB development. Also, someone has to have the job of enforcement. As for standard colors, some control on color is good. I wouldn't want the folks next door to paint their house purple just because they like purple. I do however believe there needs to be flexibility in those colors. unfortunately, that requires interpretation, opinion, and a board of directors.

48. (3-18-04) I think if we allow the Gordon Hartman homes to be part of the Shavano Ridge division the value of our homes will go down. In the near future, allot of the families in this neighborhood will leave and find a better place.

49. (4-5-04) The truth is, neighbors that bought their homes 5 to 7 years before the last homes in this neighborhood were sold are farthest from the rock quarry and these ugly new houses, and  they'll see a profit if selling their homes. (Board member X for example) His house is one of the larger homes in the neighborhood, and he probably paid allot less than the same size house in the final development of this area before the new building started. Selling wouldn't hurt him! It's us backed up to this damn rock quarry and these ugly cheap houses that'll be hit the hardest when there's a resale. WHO CARES? IT'S NOT YOUR PROPERTY ARE YOUR POCKET BOOK! DON'T TELL ME YOU DID ALL YOU COULD DO MR. BOARD MEMBER!

50. (4-15-04) This board and the neighbors that attend these so called board meetings are a disgrace. I have never seen adults act in such a disgraceful manner! Surely there's a better why of conducting business. Everyone is sitting around saying, IT'S NOT ME, yet by your presences at these meeting you're condoning the utter disrespect of your neighbors. At the last meeting there was even a policeman hired. (of course, that was OUR HOMEOWNER DUES PAYING FOR THAT!) Who needs the board? Seems to me it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

51. (6-2-04) In a perfect world each homeowner would have read his/her Homeowner Association (HOA) covenants (and abide by them), bylaws, Shavano Ridge (SR) newsletters, Board of Director (BoD) Minutes, SRHOA web site, special mailings, and attended all of the BoD Homeowner Forums/BoDs and SR General Membership (GMM) meetings.  But that’s not the case.  Unfortunately, too, few residents wish to participate as members of the BoDs or attend any of the BoD/GMMs. These meetings are open to all residents.  Currently the BoD uses “non-board” members to assist in committee tasks. As a result there are many “mis” and/or “uninformed” homeowners.  For example, the resident who asked the questions in Opinion #34 can find answers in the SR Covenants and Bylaws.  In regard the Opinion #37, the CC&RS must be enforced because there are residents who knowingly violate them even though they agreed to abide by the covenants at the time of residential purchase.  The majority of homeowners want to live in SR because it has a HOA with covenants.  CC&Rs keep residents from parking their vehicles on lawns, failing to maintain their property, etc., or doing other acts which trouble the majority of the homeowners who moved into SR for its appearance, location, etc. As SR ages with time, the covenants become more important in order to maintain competitive property values with the newer residential developments surrounding our neighborhood.  There is a CC&R article subject “Why Do We have Them” in the October 2003 “Out on the Ridge” Newsletter.  This article can also be found on the SR Web Site.  Every resident should have received copies of the Bylaws and CC&Rs from their real estate agent upon purchase of their home.  These documents, along with the ACC’s Requirements and Standards, are all found at the SR Web Site. Reference Opinion #50, the SR SAFFE Officer attended the Mar ‘04 GMM and he was NOT paid for his attendance.  Membership fees have remained constant for many years.  The seemingly large bank balance is required to make necessary repairs to the stone and wooden perimeter fences along DeZavala and Rogers Parkway.  The BoDs will soon make large expenditures to improve the landscaping at both entrances, replace the letters on those entrance signs, and improve lighting in those locations.  The common area sprinkler systems are aging after many years of use and require constant attention and repair.  The dues also enable the BoDs to fund the costs of the newsletters and other information papers distributed to each residents several times every year, Christmas decorations for the entrances, repairs to the common area sprinkler system, lighting poles, maintain a mail box, pay for the HOA Management Office administrative support, bank accounts, potential liability issues, legal counsel, signs, welcome packets, National Night Out and COP Programs, etc. The many other expenditures are noted in the annual budget.  If SR had a swimming pool, tennis court, or playground, the dues would be much higher than $132/yr.  There are several opinions which address the GMMs.  Each year the BoDs come to these meetings prepared to inform and report out to homeowners the work of its committees, conduct elections, and answer questions.  Most of the meetings are not well attended by residents.  To conduct official business, proxy votes are necessary to meet the necessary quorum.  The only time to conduct these meetings, which is convenient to most residents, is at 6:30PM.  The closest and largest facility has been the Lockhill Selma Elementary School, which will make its dining area/auditorium available from 6:30PM to no later than 8:30PM.  If several residents attempt to monopolize the meeting with interruptions and questions, then HOA official business/elections can not be conducted within the time constraints.  Many of the questions can be answered prior to this meeting by attending the bi-monthly BoD forums/meetings and/or seeking answers from individual directors.  Issues to be discussed at the GMM meeting must be put on the agenda prior to it. Another frequent opinion of concern to residents is with the Gordon Hartman development.  The bottom line to this issue is that Hartman owned the land. He only gave the SR BoDs two options for its development, e. g. commercial or residential.  The probability of winning a legal battle in court to preclude his development was extremely low and would have been very costly to the HOA. For any one worried about this development bringing down the property values of their home, to date homes in SR have been selling well and were on the market for short periods of time.  The CC&Rs will apply to these new residents.  These residents will also bring approximately $10,000 in homeowner fees to the SR budget.  A very informative information paper on this subject was included in the April 2004 “Out on the Ridge” Newsletter.  You can also read this paper on the SR Web Site.

52. (7-19-04) I have lived in this neighborhood since 1991.  I have been pleased with the way the board has looked after the interests of the neighborhood.  I do believe they are people who volunteer their time to the  benefit of this community.  When I moved into this area I liked what I saw.  I read the requirements of the covenants and restrictions and knew what I was getting into.  I believe it is our duty as home buyers to make sure we are aware of what we are purchasing.  I don't want boats and old cars and putrid colors permeating the neighborhood.  Part of the reason for purchasing here is because someone (volunteering) wanted to do that, I didn't.  If buyers don't like the restrictions of the community, there are many places without them, but the nicer and more desirable areas do have them.  By the way I did have a boat parked in my drive way.  I knew it was a violation.  I got a letter, and I moved the boat to a location where it could be stored properly. Instead of dividing this wonderful community with half truths and vilifications you should be working to make it better.  I don't appreciate the observer, I see it as a divider.  I also sent in my proxy because I trust those in charge to look after the best interest of Shavano Ridge.  If you truly want to make a positive change for the good of this community I applaud you, but if this is a vendetta because the color of a house was challenged I will not offer any support.

53. (7-20-04) People! What a happy little Board-controlled world writer number 50 lives in! Here's what really goes on in this neighborhood: The Board tolerates no dissent - check out their website and read the newspaper articles. They rule by intimidation secrecy and fear - check the same sources. They harass anyone who does not agree with their secretive rules. Reading the CC&Rs won't help you because they make up the rules as they go. Don't bother going to the quarterly Board meetings because they refuse to listen, discuss, or answer homeowner’s questions and grievances. They run this place for their own pleasure and that of their cronies. THEY don't believe in enhancing the property values of this neighborhood and creating a place that is welcome to children. How do THEY get away with it? They rely on YOUR apathy to get away with it.

54. (7-20-04) What these malcontents fail to realize is that Shavano Ridge is becoming a retirement community for ex military personnel. If you are not among that group you should think twice about moving here. If you have children you shouldn't think about it at all.

55. (7-23-04) In regard to opinion #54, SR is fortunate to have retired military homeowners as residents.  They continue to make a contribution to their country and community in retirement.  San Antonio is proudly known as “Military City USA.”  Currently there are only a few military retirees serving on the BoDs who are in the minority.

56. (7-25-04) We received a copy of the Observer and SA Current on my doorstep last week.  Please keep your garbage off our lawn.  I served on the Board for a number of years, in addition to attending several board meetings before deciding to serve, and I have to say, that what you printed is ridiculous and without merit.  Board member X has prevented plenty of homes from being robbed by his attention to detail, and everyone should be happy that he continues to care about this neighborhood, considering all the flack he gets from people like you. We were all made aware of the rules and regulations governing this neighborhood before we moved in, and if you all couldn't understand them, or decided not to abide by them, then you all should have picked another area to move in to.  If this website was really about improving relations between the homeowners and the Board, then perhaps accurate information should be included in your publications as well as on your website, and it would be nice to have some viable opinions shared at an annual meeting, instead of someone trying to monopolize the meeting with nonsense.

57. (7-28-04) Thank you for all the hard work you put into the Observer and this website. It is refreshing to hear the truth. What some of these board members don’t seem to realize is that they do not represent the homeowners of Shavano Ridge. They represent a small minority of opinions, as indicated by the homeowners’ survey. They have a mafia-like grip on power in this neighborhood and they intend to hold onto power no matter how much they have to distort the truth. Their desperate hold on power is more important to them than all the unpleasantness they cause by snooping on us all and threatening home owners with legal action over minor infringements. They have one rule for themselves and another for everyone else. They sold us out on the Gordon Hartman homes project and now we have ultra-conformity housing where we could have had a nice park. They are a disgrace to this fine neighborhood. It’s time to throw the bums out.

58. (8-2-04) Reference Opinion #57, can you hazard a guess as to the cost to the SRHOA to have purchased this land from Gordon Hartman?  Once you have that answer, then try to sell this cost to the SR homeowners who would have had to pay for it with significantly increased HOA dues.  Also, don’t forget the HOA would have had to purchase “liability insurance” to cover any legal actions resulting from injuries to residents/children playing in this "park," and the maintenance costs for it.

59. (8-5-04) Reference Opinion #58, this person has no idea about real estate business and no imagination. Firstly, the property has a certain intrinsic value which would be hugely increased by sweat equity over a few weekends. There are enough people in this neighborhood with enough information and contacts who could pull together and transform this land into an attractive park. Secondly, you don’t buy the property outright. You do it by leveraging long term low cost financing which would have been available from the city council for improvement of this "public" land in this non-gated "public" community. This, coupled with sponsorship from local businesses, if necessary, and appreciation in the land value would have easily paid for the project. If there had been any kind of imaginative leadership from our board of directors we could have had an attractive asset that would have repaid the nominal purchase cost many times over in appreciation of home values in the Shavano Ridge subdivision. By the way, at the time these ideas were first floated, the land wasn’t owned by Gordon Hartman Homes. That came about because our board colluded with GHH to encourage him to build an inferior one-color conformist housing plot. All they could see was the proxy votes they would get from GHH which would keep them in power for a few more years. Thanks to these small-minded directors who couldn’t see past the ends of their own noses, and who have diminished the value of our neighborhood, we are all losers. Time to throw them out.

60. (8-19-04) The purpose of this opinion is to address the allegations in Opinion #59.  First, it is completely untrue that the Board of Directors “colluded with Gordon Hartman” to encourage him to build inferior homes in the new Shavano Ridge (SR) development.  When Gordon Hartman informed the board of his intention to develop this land, it asked him to brief and discuss his development plans with the directors and then in another meeting with SR homeowners, all of whom were invited to attend this meeting.  After weighing all of the pros and cons of the various development options and homeowner advice/recommendations/concerns, etc., the board supported the development of residential homes in lieu of commercial property.  Secondly, the author of this opinion makes several faulty assumptions regarding any opportunity to develop the GH land into a park.  One is that it’s an easy task to purchase the land and then sell the idea to SR’s homeowners and board of directors.  Several years ago interested SR residents informed the board of their intention to develop a plan to make a playground on the vacant lot at the intersection of Shavano Wind/Peak.  No such plan was ever presented to the board undoubtedly because of the difficulty of accomplishing this idea.  Gordon Hartman purchased his development site from Denton.  For many if not all of the same reasons that a SR committee could not get a playground off the ground, it would be a much more difficult task to have done the same thing with Hartman’s land.  Hartman would not have sold the land at a price acceptable to the SR homeowners.  No SR committee could have developed a plan for such a park over the weekends.  It took GH nearly a year just to get through all of the city’s red tape to build on his land. There is also the assumption that there would have been residents who would have undertaken the project and then accomplished the steps noted in the opinion.  Thus, it’s easier said than done.  In the recent! past the board asked non-board members to form a committee to work on a particular task.  The chairman of this committee reported to the board that he had great difficult in getting the members together to do their work.  Lastly, for almost all, if not all, SRHOA General Membership Meetings, there has been barely sufficient attendance to make a quorum to conduct business.  As a result, board members have had to seek homeowner assistance in providing them proxy votes from residents who do not attend these meetings.  For the first time prior to this past March’s GMM, the board had the opportunity to obtain proxy votes belonging to Gordon Hartman which greatly helped in meeting the quorum requirements to conduct the annual meeting.  Use of Gordon Hartman’s proxy votes is completely legal and a prudent course of action in order to obtain sufficient votes to proceed with the GMM meeting.

61. (11-28-04) Wow.  This forum has been incredibly eye opening about the often intangible implications of home ownership and HOA membership.  At the risk of drawing angry and resentful – possibly vicious – replies, can someone answer the following:  Now that GH has built these much maligned homes and that the "damage" is done, what possible action is available to Shavano Ridge residents, other than voting the board members out of their posts?  Will they displace their disdain upon anyone who purchases a unit there?  Will life in Shavano Ridge be made intolerable for the Shavano Court "untouchables"?  Would it be better for the neighborhood if no one purchased the units at the current prices and GH was forced to sell at reduced prices to recover part of its investment?  This could bring about even more undesirable consequences…These are not rhetorical questions. I would really like to know because I am actually considering purchasing a home there.  I fully understand the predicament in which many of you find yourselves, struggling with the fear of losing hard-earned home value.  If I were in your position, there is a strong possibility that I would feel wronged too.  Before I’m cursed and burned at the stake, I’d like to explain why purchasing one of these units is an attractive option for someone in my position.  My wife, children and I are new to San Antonio and are hoping for t he opportunity to own our first home.  I moved here to open an office for an up-and-coming software company based in the east coast and this is my first job after getting out of a good graduate school.  So my prospects are pretty good and one day I might be buying a nicer home in your community.  However, having been out of the workforce for two years and faced with sizable student loans, the smartest option is to purchase a small home in a neighborhood where I feel that my family can live in safety and in peace.  Is a yellow, boxy, cookie-cutter starter home my ideal choice?  Not really, no.  But it is a practical one as I am sure it is for many of the future residents of Shavano Court.  It’s not pretty but, if I go through with the purchase, I plan to treat it with the same love and care that most of you treat your own homes.  I know that none of this changes the fact that many of you feel that you weren’t given the choice to oppose something you consider so undesirable.  But, unless you feel that it’s better to scare away anyone in my situation interested in buying in and risking being stigmatized as the lower class citizens you are painting them to be, I would hope that you reconsider your demeanor towards them.  After all, these people will most likely be hard-working, rule-abiding members of your community who take pride in the place where they live.  They may not be at a point in their lives where they can afford the kind of “prestigious” and “gorgeous” abodes that you all have, but they strive toward the same ideal. So please feel free to tell me honestly.  Should my family and I expect to be shunned?  Will my children have to hear from their peers how lowly they are because their parents bought a GH home in Shavano Ridge?  Do I need to worry about my windows being treated like those of the GH construction trailer?  As I said earlier, we are new to San Antonio and would love to make new friends but it seems like that might be difficult to do here.  So please let me hear from you and I appreciate your candor.  Oh, and did I mention that I would be parking three cars on cinder blocks out in front?  Just kidding!

62. (12-30-04) Reference questions noted in Opinion #61, the homes being built and sold in the new development are selling quickly to new homeowners.  The same is true for the homes of residents who have put up their homes for sale throughout the rest of Shavano Ridge (SR) and at their asking prices.  Each new resident, whether in the new development or elsewhere in SR, is welcomed by members of the board and presented with a Welcome Packet full of useful information about the neighborhood and San Antonio.  One homeowner in SR has a son who purchased a new home on Shavano Court, which speaks well of whether or not new homeowners should purchase homes in the Gordon Hartman (GH) development.  All of the new GH residents are welcomed into SR just as any other new homeowner.  Those angry and/or anti-GH opinions noted in this "unofficial" web site only represent a handful of SR residents.  New homeowners for the GH development should disregard those opinions.  SR has won seven city signs which speak to it's "Good Neighbor" program and the friendly and supportive neighbors in our neighborhood. Once all of the homes have been built along Shavano Court and the common areas also completed by GH, this addition to SR will be an asset to our neighborhood.

63. (1-1-05) As one looks at the main web page of this “Unofficial SR Web Site” and reads items listed on it, such as, “Loathe Thy Neighbor,” Common HOA Lies,” and “Fear Factor,” one wonders about the stated purpose of this site, e. g. “The eyes, ears, and voice of SR residents.” It’s apparent that this web site’s main purpose is to eliminate the Homeowners Association by attacking it and allowing discontent residents to viciously berate the Board of Directors.  Unfortunately there is little “constructive criticism” in any of these opinions. The vast majority of the negative opinions are not based upon fact or knowledge of the Covenants, Conditions, and Requirements or other pertinent documents. For example, read opinions numbered 51, 62, and 63.  They provide factual information that address many of these negative opinions.  Thus this web site allows residents and others who are not SR homeowners to vent their spleens with animosity without having to identify themselves.  Residents who want to make positive changes to SR should either appear before the Board of Directors and express their opinions or volunteer to be on the board or its committees. Of course, the webmaster for this site realizes that he opens himself up to a slander law suit if the names of those rendering their outrageous opinions are identified by them.  Sadly, this webmaster and individuals like him have the freedom of speech even if they misuse it in this manner which pits neighbor against neighbor.

64. (1-3-05) The writer of opinion 63 has provided a perfect example of why this website exists. He is outraged that this website makes it possible for homeowners to express opinions that he does not agree with. That is why this website exists. This is the third time I’ve received a veiled threat of a lawsuit for allowing free speech to thrive in SR. That is why this website exists. At the last general meeting a motion was made to have complaints against homeowners made public as in the American system of justice (the right to face one’s accuser); the board voted it down claiming it was necessary to protect the identity of the complainant. Yet, when a complaint is made against the board, they want names. That is why this website exists. The purpose of this website, and the thousands like it, is to awaken a disinterested public to this growing menace to all property owners—the HOA system of private corporate government. The writer of opinion 63 is correct: I am an activist in favor of a complete overhaul of this Un-American institution. Education is the key to change, and I am confident that the more homeowners know about this system, the less they will support it. The board’s desire to silence all opposition suggests to me that they share this opinion. The articles currently displayed on this site, as well as all those yet to come, are collected from news agencies, books, CAI literature, and interviews with homeowners, board members, lawyers, and legislators. Issues involving the SR BOD are factual and documented in their own writing. Opinions 51, 62, and 63 are that of the BOD. They have made good use of this website and they are encouraged to continue using it. In a true democracy, all voices are heard. Anyone who enters a public arena, no matter how small, opens themselves up to criticism; I have also been the target of many vicious attracts. That’s just part of the democratic process. I am amazed at how some of the opinions expressed here by the board seem to suggest that they are truly bewildered by the workings of a free and open, democratic society. On this website it is never a sad day when individuals are allowed to exercise their freedom of speech - no matter whose toes are stepped on. No one here will threaten them with a lawsuit or make any attempt to single them out or silence them.  The webmaster, Dorian MacDougall

65. (2-9-05) I came from an apartment straight to my first house here in Shavano Ridge.  I was so happy!!! Yet, before I was even given a welcome I was told that I needed to cut my grass. I love my house, but let me tell you living in this neighborhood is threatening, a hassle, and unfriendly.

66. (2-16-05) The webmaster, Dorian MacDougall, stated in opinion 64 that at the last general meeting a motion was made to have the complaints against homeowners made public, but that the board voted it down, claiming it was necessary to protect the identity of the complainant.  The webmaster makes this statement as if it were a fact. Anyone not at the annual meeting would have no reason not to question the accuracy of the webmaster’s statement.  I do not know where Mr. MacDougall was when this motion was made, but he certainly was not at the annual meeting.  If he had been, he would know that the board never voted on this issue.  Furthermore , the homeowner stated in his motion that all complaints be documented in writing, dated and signed by the complainant.  He never requested that the statements be made public. This was not part of the debate.  I was at the meeting when the homeowner made this motion as an amendment to the bylaws.  The motion was seconded and discussion  followed among the general members. The members were then given ballots, a vote was taken and the motion to change the bylaws failed by a vote of 65 against to 46 for.  This information was reported on Page 2 of the April 2004 edition of the Shavano Ridge newsletter. There never was a board vote on this issue, as stated by the webmaster. It was a vote by the general membership, Yes, the webmaster has a right to his opinions, and I, too, have a right, to disagree with those opinions. However,  to include a false and incorrect statement in an attempt to bolster your own argument  is intellectually dishonest, and in my opinion, irresponsible. It says a lot about your credibility..

67. (2-23-05) The author of opinion 66 seems to have overlooked the power of the proxy. Any individual or group that chooses to collect all the available proxies in the neighborhood controls the elections as well as any votes taken on motions from the floor. Our board learned this early on and has been doing it for years; they will surely do it again this year. No doubt some homeowners did vote against the motion, but the deciding factor was the board. With the proxies the board collected from the homeowners, and the 16 proxies they collected from Gordon Hartman Homes, they were able to block the motion presented at the general meeting on March 10, 2004. When complaints are recorded (documented in writing, dated, signed) and the accused has the right to face the accuser, then the complaint has been made public. There was no inference that the details of a disagreement be published in the neighborhood newsletter for all to see.  Of course, the intent is to discourage people from making frivolous, unwarranted accusations; it's is a safeguard against abuse—a safeguard the board has determined we do not need.

68. (2-24-05) In reply to Opinion #66. I was present at the SR Annual Meeting in March 2004. A homeowner from the floor said he received a letter from the management company complaining about a barking dog. Well, that homeowner did not own a dog. How did that error occur?  Only the complainant or the management company could have been in error. If complaints were documented, verification would be possible and such occurrences could be avoided. I believe if one feels strong enough to complain about something they should put their name to it. That’s what happens when you go to the police isn’t it? In order to press legal charges accusers must identify themselves – this prevents false accusations. If there is a legitimate complaint there should not be a problem. The homeowner may not be aware there is a problem and be happy to rectify the situation. This is the very reason the motion was put forward. A system that encourages honest communication and dialogue encourages people work together to solve problems and issues in an adult way. That is how we develop mutual respect and achieve positive results. Instead, what we have is a system that accuses people of all sorts of things, makes homeowners feel hostile, and protects cowardly complainants by protecting their identity. There has been too much of this type of situation going on in this community. Certainly, it is not a good formula for homeowners to trust the board to build an atmosphere of cooperation.  No wonder we have so much apathy. My personal opinion is that too many people have been stung and have just “given up.” Ask yourself why should people bother to be involved if they feel they are being picked upon for no apparent reason, and can’t even defend themselves (whether guilty or not) because they do not feel comfortable talking to the management or the board?

69. (4-11-05) How does one feel to be a part of this lovely neighborhood? Where Shavano Ridge is the "wonderful world" of busy bodies? Have you bee the recipient of little anonymous notes in the muse of "a concerned" neighbor? Cute little notes are left on the doors,.."Dear Neighbor, Please take pride and complete your flower bed." Oh, and neighbor, you left a cooler on your porch!"  And, "Oh neighbor, you put your trash out on Monday afternoon when the trash comes out on Tuesday!....Duh!  Dear Neighbor is a coward to leave little notes without identifying himself/herself. The bottom line is that the wonderful board of a few are infringing on the rights of others and their petty interference does not support the "dream" mission of this neighborhood.  No amount of "Dear Neighbor" can hide the fact that some people have nothing better to do than to go around and pretend to have a "positive influence on the community" by pointing out these items to the "morons" (?) in the neighborhood!  Run on the board?  No, thank you.  There is no honor in what is being done.  An association is a collective effort in the interest of the whole not a few who need to feel powerful and important.  Well, as for that "Dear Neighbor" who so kindly takes the time to point out what is wrong with everyone in the subdivision...kindly mind your own business, look in your own back yard with your little black heart before your reach out and touch!  Oh, and Dear Neighbor...watch your teenagers as they speed through the neighborhood.  A crushed, bleeding citizen wouldn't look good on our streets, you know! Violates the beautification guidelines that the board uses to award each other the beautiful yard of the month! And the blood colored stained street is not a color of the Shavano Ridge subdivision. Your Dear Neighbor notes are a contradiction and your meddling is a farce in support of the "neighborhood. Stop it.  Have the balls to say it to the face of the neighbor.  Now we are all successful individuals in this neighborhood.  Many "Christians" claim to have the best interest of the community at hand.  It's time for the action to demonstrate exactly that.  A home...a community is an emotional factor in our life.  It can't be that hard to be reasonable and identify real issues that would harm a community.  Color?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a right of a homeowner.  Taking the trash out an afternoon ahead...preparation for the next day...good organization...not violation.  Cooler on the porch...how long?  How old?  How does the current value of the home depreciate with the cooler on the front porch.  What a petty community when color, coolers, organized housekeeping, etc. become activities to attack and divide a community.  How much education do you need to have to understand what it takes to get along and ensure our community IS a home owners dream? Time to reflect on what we want our community to represent!  Stop the potshots and get on the right track.

70. (4-16-05) Sometimes we need to quit beating a dead horse and go on.  It seems to me that many of the negative opinions come from people who have moved here from out of the city/state.  Maybe they are more unhappy being here than just with the HOA.  I am a native and I always say if you don't like San Antonio...IH10 goes east and west, 35 goes north and south....

71. (6-1-05) All too often, the best and the brightest we are able to attract to San Antonio eventually take the advice offered in opinion 70; This situation leaves us with an unfortunate overabundance of ignorant, overweight, cowboy wanna-bees - YEE HAW!

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