Lori and Greg Bailes
16009 Pontevedra Place
Austin, TX 78738
January 11, 2006
Dear Spanish Oaks Owners’ Association:
It took us a year to settle on what neighborhood we would raise our family in. I cannot tell you how many days we spent driving around, analyzing things and talking to people. What drew us to Spanish Oaks, and ultimately convinced us to settle here, was the idea of an upscale neighborhood where quality was more important than quantity. We liked the idea of homes having “a quiet, orderly, low scale presence and character, that blends into the landscape.” We liked the idea of buffers between homes, that would allow us to have privacy, and to enjoy nature.
Some of our vision has already been lost through the years as the “guidelines” were sacrificed for the sake of making sales. Even though the square footage maximums have been greatly increased, we are hoping that some of the other things that were going to make this a unique neighborhood will prevail.
When we moved in, in July of 2003, we still believed that the hike and bike trail would be completed soon, the park on Celanova was going to be more than just an open area, and yes the back road to the club would be opening any day – after all they did tell us that it would be open before anyone moved in and we did just move in. We even thought the now “Loews” shopping center was going to be cobblestone streets with boutique style shopping and dining with some professional offices above them. We’ve had our rude awakening and life goes on.
In regards to the letter dated January 3, 2006, please note the following questions and comments:
1) Who is on the Board of Directors? When will there be re-elections? How are our “the homeowners” best interests being kept in mind?
2) The increase in assessments to $2,400/year, represents a 267% increase from our original assessments of $900/year. Although we realized they would inevitably go up, we thought that we would see some benefits as they increased. Our idea of benefits would be community areas such as parks, pools or anything else that would make us a “real” community.
3) The last increase was said to have been mostly for the “gate-keeper.” That did not add much benefit for us homeowners as we were just paying for someone to open the gate and let whomever in. This should have been a “sales” expense as the gate-keeper was obviously here more to pinpoint potential buyers.
4) We appreciate the improvement in the access control to Spanish Oaks. However, unless the security guards are willing to stay off their bottoms, it is still very easy for someone to slip in behind a resident.
5) The roving patrol is a great idea for keeping the construction workers in line. However, when out walking children in the street, beware of the speeding roving patrol officer. They’ve also been known to “burn rubber.” Perhaps that cost should be absorbed by either the developer or the builders since it is just to keep the construction workers in line.
6) We are assuming that the increase in assessments is to cover the maintenance on the landscape improvements – not the actual improvements themselves? The letter was a little misleading. Typically landscape improvements would either be a development cost or a special assessment that was voted on.
7) An area that the new declarant can cut back on is water costs. For years, I have complained about the sprinkler system being on in one zone or another for hours on end. I have repeatedly been told that it was a very sophisticated system and that they were working on it. I hope that it has been resolved. Nothing is more frustrating than watching your money getting… washed away. Then having to watch the grass turn an ugly pale shade of yellow from being over watered.
8) In regards to the reserve, hopefully we will not be paying for the damage caused by and the wear and tear from the construction workers.
9) What is going to be the ceiling on our assessments?
It is great that all these wonderful things are “going” to happen in this neighborhood, but please don’t tell me how they are going to increase our property value. Our intentions were to settle here for good, not just make an investment. We’ve got a lot more invested here than just money.
Lori and Greg Bailes
Note: Lori asked that I post this.