Moving On From Politics, Wright McLeod Protects Community From Pink Playhouse

Many politicians are attorneys, but former 12th district GOP candidate Wright McLoed is finding it is difficult to be both at the same time.  He represents an Augusta Homeowners Association whose board has instructed him to sue homeowners over a playhouse in their backyard that their daughter wanted in a beautiful (to her) shade of pink.

The result is typical for HOA disputes. Common sense is thrown out the window via a power hungry board and a homeowner who believes that covenants only apply to the things in other people’s property. Instead of finding a solution (or attempting a waiver given the house doesn’t appear to be visible from the street), they’re going to court.

And in no-win situations like this that end up in litigation, the only winners are the lawyers. Unless they’re also politicians. Because this situation doesn’t make anyone look good.

And if you’re wondering why this is relevent given that his title is “former candidate”, the above link was posted this morning from “former candidate” Rick Allen’s facebook page.

 

64 comments

      • rrrrr says:

        “HOAs can actually protect private property rights”

        Yes they can and most in fact do, during the calendar months containing 32 or more days…

        • Calypso says:

          Sounds like somebody got busted for the two old washing machines and the ’74 Buick on blocks in their front yard. 😉

          I acknowledge HOAs can be HOA-holes. They can also help protect my investment and quality of life. Just like anything, in the wrong hands, they can be misused to carry out gross inequities, as can any institution, or for that matter, most anything–guns–alcohol–drugs.

          • rrrrr says:

            No not quite, but I watched our community money by the thousands go out the door in lawsuit(s) because the HOA President spent hours on the phone with the attorney’s office ( NOT covered by the retainer) and NEVER once spoke face to face with the “accused” offender.

            When the board I was part of actually had a face to face, the frickin issue was actually RESOLVED and we cut the legal cost by 7 GRAND the following year…

            • saltycracker says:

              You can throw an idiot HOA Board out (unless it is the developer) but absent covenants, one idiot can ruin the neighborhood. Been there, done that and wouldn’t buy in a neighborhood without covenants. The better option is to buy acreage and control your world.

        • Calypso says:

          Charlie, I think I have a comment caught up in the filter. It doesn’t say anything bad about you, I swear.

          Please release it
          Let it go
          For it
          Don’t bug you anymore
          To waste our lives
          Would be a sin
          Release it
          And let it love again

          • rrrrr says:

            “Auto Self Deletions” due to suspected spelling errors …

            Another free service first from PP, for the betterment of all man and/or woman kind.

    • Max Power says:

      The covenants say that sheds have to be the same color as the house. A playhouse is not a shed.

      OED: Shed a simple roofed structure, typically made of wood or metal, used as a storage space, a shelter for animals, or a workshop.

      A playhouse doesn’t seem to fall under that definition.

      Websters
      a : a slight structure built for shelter or storage; especially : a single-storied building with one or more sides unenclosed
      b : a building that resembles a shed

      Once again I don’t think that fits either.

      Now let’s look at the definition of playhouse.

      a small house for children to play in

      or

      1a theater.
      2a toy house for children to play in.

      There clearly seems to be a plain language difference in the words.

      HOA’s are just an excuse for some old bitty to enforce their will on the rest of their neighbors

      • Calypso says:

        Then perhaps they are arguing from the point that the playhouse is a part of the house and must be painted that color. I’m not defending either stance. I’m just saying that your defense could backfire.

        • rrrrr says:

          The “part of the house” stance may be twisted into the case if the word “structure” is found anywhere else within the covenant document itself.

          After all, any agreements made by one set of lawyers are just the starting point for the next round of billable discussions …

      • Ken says:

        Hi Lawton,

        I wasn’t referring to Wright McLeod specifically or indirectly. Attorneys protect the interests of clients and to do less would be unethical.

        My point was simply that if everyone acted as though we were in the public eye we might be more agreeable. I had in mind that if that were true then the lawsuit might have never been filed because an agreement between the parties could have been reached. Now we have a “my lawyer is bigger than your lawyer” ego contest.

        • I was agreeing with your point. I was just trying to draw a parallel between the two by referring to Wright’s situation. An elected official out to be held accountable to those who he/she represents, just as a lawyer is obligated to do the same.

      • IndyInjun says:

        I believe that too. How then does a GOP party official explain the GOP elected officials in the Legislature voting for SB 31 and TSPLOST? With the former, Clark Howard and the participants on this site were phoning them saying “STOP” or “SLOW DOWN.” I called mine, but his daughter had a cushy job with Southern Company, Georgia Power’s parent. That caused deafness. He has now turned as silent as a dirt clod, too.

        • I can speak for myself. I didn’t agree with either bill. I can agree with most of the Republican legislators on 90% or more of the issues, though, which is a better percentage than what I have seen from most Democrat legislators. If we are talking about Lee Anderson directly, then the same definitely applies. Lee and I differed on some bills, but his percentage is a lot higher for agreement than John Barrow.

          • IndyInjun says:

            More directly to the impact on middle class families, exactly how are said families supposed to pay 9% SB 31 increases so far and 33% sales tax increases on food from TSPLOST when wages are either flat, nonexistent or growing at 2 to 3%?

            We are at the stage where the best that the GOP can claim is “We are not Obama.”

            Sick.

            • I only get one vote. GOP Party officers cannot endorse in a contested primary. We can choose who qualifies and who doesn’t. We cannot exclude somebody from running as Republican. We allow Primary voters to pick our candidates, and in Georgia, they do not have to be registered by Party. Simply, the Party has been set up to support the Republican candidates. It is not a perfect system, by any means. Yes, it does sometimes come down to voting for the lesser of two evils.

              I know we disagree on Lee Anderson. You seem to have been impacted by the two bills that you mentioned. I have been impacted in a negative way by Barrow’s votes for many years, both in my personal and professional life. There is no way I could vote for him. However, I have come to know Lee Anderson and his wife over the last 6-8 months. He has kept every promise he has given to me. He kept his promise to support TSPLOST, which I disagreed with, but at least I know where he stands. I honestly have no idea where Barrow stands on an issue, even after I contact his office. This happened even up to his first vote on AHA, which his office could not give me an answer on whether he was supporting it or not on the day of the vote.

              • IndyInjun says:

                I have known him for more than 30 years. This will be a lot of fun to witness. My prediction is that his supporters are going to wind up like all the GOP and other Georgians who voted for Jimmy Carter back when I was warning about HIM. I voted for Gerald Ford…….and every GOP President from Nixon to Bush 43. I would never vote for Lee Anderson again. It was against my better judgement then and he totally met my worst fears.

                Let’s leave it there, but you simply do not have a clue about Lee’s record and are toeing the party line.

                Time will tell who is right and I smile as I typed those words.

        • Ken says:

          My belief is that the arm-twisting on TSPLOST came directly from the governor’s office. That excuses nothing, but it explains a lot.

          SB-31 was a travesty. At the very least Georgia’s taxpayers should receive interest payments from the Southern Company and a fee charged for every kilowatt of electricity exported from the state.

          Republicans are not perfect or even in agreement on quite a few issues. Those are two prime examples.

        • Sounds like you need to vote for the Libertarian, David Staples, on November 6th if you want some change in how your electric company is regulated. Perhaps putting someone in office that isn’t on the payroll of the utilities could go a long way in making sure that all Georgians have a voice on the PSC – not just the utilities. (This is a two way race with no Democrat.) 😉

          • IndyInjun says:

            You have my vote and hopefully a lot more ammunition in your fight before we are through.

            I got suckered in by that bum, Echols…..the guy who wouldm’t take a cup of water from Georgia Power, but who found Masters tickets, well, just the ticket.

            When I called Echols with concerns he pulled an Anderson and referred me to a lobbyist.

            Cynthia McKinney is beginning to look sane by comparison to this GOP crowd and nowhere near as damaging to family finances.

            • Money certainly makes the race easier to win, when you have to run statewide. Anything you, or anyone else, is willing to contribute is certainly appreciated. (With the exception of those who work for utilities – I don’t want any appearances of impropriety or a conflict of interest.) 🙂

  1. seenbetrdayz says:

    While I can understand that HOAs often preserve property values, I wonder if *sshole neighbors devalue them.

    • Ken says:

      Only if one is foolish enough to let the potential buyers meet them – and their 90-pound dog who insists on fertilizing the lawn twice daily.

  2. Engineer says:

    Why can’t they just hold a vote of the members of the HOA and pass a written exception that states that playhouses are not sheds?

    Why anybody would want to live in a place with an HOA is beyond me.

    • caroline says:

      Because they had neighbors who put broken down cars in their front yards or something like that. Some people like the HOA because it keeps the grass cut on empty houses.

      They actually could hold a vote and let the playhouse go forward but it looks like somebody is on a power trip in this particular HOA.

  3. John Walraven says:

    There was actually a bill dropped once that would have given Judges authority to enforce HOA bylaws. Some Sharia laws are more fair.

    I wouldn’t own property in an HOA neighborhood. My buddy used to get these “you didn’t edge your yard within the rules” letters. His yard looked great. Not a blade over the sidewalk. Just a nosey neighbor with nothing else to do that somehow got elected HOA prez.

    I say let the kid keep the pink playhouse. If the neighbor doesn’t like it they can build a fence.

  4. Gary Cooper says:

    I’ll never understand why people chose to live in neighborhoods with HOAs, especially those people who claim to value freedom and consider themselves conservative. HOAs are nothing more than neighborhood busy bodies who care more about your house than their own.

    Another thing that gets me is when did the concept of owning a home become more about the property dollar value instead of the emotional and personal value of being one’s own?

    • A lot of the time, it either sounds good in theory or the homeowner does not read or fully understand the HOAs. If you were buying a house, it would probably sound good that your neighbors are required to keep their lawns mowed, their houses a neutral color, etc. That is until it impacts you directly.

      • John Walraven says:

        Or until you get a fine when your edging is, well, fine. I was befuddled. Made my mind up right then and there.

        • I moved from a neighborhood 18 years ago to the country. I spent a couple of months back in a neighborhood when I was building a house in the country. I don’t want to ever live in a neighborhood again. I simply don’t want to know what my neighbors are doing, what time they get home, etc. I also want to be able walk to my truck in my boxers. (No comments allowed by Calypso). Some people like to live real close to others, which is their prerogative. It just ain’t for me.

          • Calypso says:

            This not a comment, but I’m glad they are boxers. Imagining you going to get a sack of dog food out of the back of your pick-up wearing a pair of tighty-whiteys just doesn’t set right with me.

            But I’ll refrain from commenting, as you requested.

          • IndyInjun says:

            Now if we could just do something about the “Go Jackets”……..

            Lawton, I moved to the country 15 years ago after a life on the road and in suburbia. It is wonderful.

            The code enforcement Nazi lasted 5 days after he picked on the football coach and things have been lovely ever since. Of course I had to do major clean up after buying out a fellow next door. I was glad that his double wide got repo’ed.

      • rrrrr says:

        HOAs could at first innocently be thought to serve a purpose in areas where there are COMMON amenities like pools, parks, land etc. And where county / city zoning regulations are either not in existence or extremely lax. When local government ordinances get created and enforced, the concept of ZONING enforcement needs ceases.

        However, they can quickly dissolve into money pits for attorneys (JOB Programs!)
        And over time can be controlled by a relatively small core of folks on a power trip.
        ( MORE JOBS program! )
        Think Gwinnett / Henry / Fulton / Cobb County Commissioners’ egos without the salaries…

        Are there good ones? Absolutely!
        Just like we have some unsung good elected representatives in government, these just don’t get the ink near as often. Shout out to Buzz here

        BUT just like our public reps, it doesn’t take much at all to get WAY off the rails very quickly…

        • DavidTC says:

          HOAs could at first innocently be thought to serve a purpose in areas where there are COMMON amenities like pools, parks, land etc.

          Indeed, I do not mind HOAs like this, assuming they operate in a transparent and democractic manner.

          However, I think it’s worth pointing out one rather serious loophole that builders are using to _keep_ them from being democratic: They are disallowing changes in the board until _all_ houses are sold. Which means the builders can simply refrain from selling one house, and keep control of the board forever. (I guess the premise with the restriction is to keep the first ten people who own a home from taking over the HOA and passing weird rules…but the point is, in a democracy, you just make sure the later homeowners can _undo_ that.)

          I’d like to see some laws protecting the rights of members of HOAs. You own a house, you pay dues, you get a vote and even the right to run for the board. From the start.

          And where county / city zoning regulations are either not in existence or extremely lax. When local government ordinances get created and enforced, the concept of ZONING enforcement needs ceases.

          The problem is the rather astonishing delusion that a small portion of the population has, and this small portion always winds up in charge of HOAs: The idea that slight variations in a neighborhood cause property values to decrease.

          This idea is completely and utterly delusional. A street with houses identical colors does not have higher property values than a street with houses of different color. A street where a house has a satellite dish on the roof does not decrease property values. The entire damn ‘cookie-cutter’ look was created almost by _accident_ by cheap builders, and isn’t some sort of purposeful thing, as evidenced by the _deliberate variations_ in many newer subdivisions.

          Such beliefs are flatly delusional, have no support in the facts, and such conformity is a reason that I would be deeply uncomfortable actually living in a place like that. Who wants to live on a street where you can’t recognize your home at a glance? (And by reducing demand, they have now managed to _reduce_ property values.)

          Now, _maintenance_ is one thing…I understand the ‘law is not mowed’ decreasing property values, although I’ve always wondered why they don’t simply use HOA dues to pay a lawn service to mow for everyone, if it’s really that important. Or the junk car rules. Those things _actually_ effect property values.

          And, it is interesting to note, those two things are something that zoning laws deal with. Having a house that actually looks lived in is something we, as society, decided it was reasonable to have rules about. Making sure all the houses are the same color is _not_ one of those things.

          And I have no problem with HOAs picking up the slack with maintenance when the laws don’t…but I’d never live anywhere where the HOA can make up their own, new rules, because of the risk that the idiot minority of the population with a conformity delusion would take over. (Even if I’m vigilant, I’m just one vote, and everyone else ignores the HOA as long as it doesn’t bother them.)

    • Lea Thrace says:

      I live in an HOA community. But that’s cause I own a townhouse. I didnt want a yard to have to take care of. I hate grass. The little patch in the front is taken care of by the HOA. As is my roof, water, trash and other various aspects of homeowner life that I generally didnt want to have to deal with.

      I knew what I was getting into before I bought the place. (Well except for the part about the market bottoming out and losing half my value. But that’s another topic for another day.)

      That said, there are some douchebags to be found in an HOA community. And they arent always on the board. I have found that the commonalities tend to be >60, retired, white, own pets that they dont want to have to pick up after, and they are almost always named Bill or Betty.

        • If you’re in a condo or attached townhome, you pretty much have to have an HOA – for one thing you typically own common property that needs to be maintained, and since you’re sharing so many walls it’s typically a good idea to have some sort of local governing force.

          As far as I can tell, if you live in a free standing house – well I strain to see the need for one. Where I come from in DeKalb County it is very rare – if there’s a neighborhood pool or some other thing it’s typically a club and requires you to join separately. Most friends I know who live elsewhere where the HOA structure is bigger and they force you to maintain the pool, tennis courts etc, well it’s just my opinion but those neighborhoods typically aren’t as nice and it seems like the HOA was set up by the developer to try and “class up” the offering by forcing a structure to be present that the market might not support on it’s own.

          YMMV of course, but I think the general idea of turning over your rights to an HOA is kind of tyranny.

      • Scott65 says:

        hmmmm….sounds like socialism…
        As for the pink playhouse…its in the back yard and you cant even see it from the street. I’ve always found that the officers of HOA’s have no life other than to tell other people what they can/cant do (makes them feel important). Also, when I watched the video I was expecting some shade of “pepto” pink and it was a very muted color. If I was paying dues there I would be outraged…I’d say a lot of neighbors aren’t speaking to each other…which really makes for a nice neighborhood

      • Scott65 says:

        one more addition Lea…its always a small dog that they are constantly walking as if on patrol….otherwise you nailed it

  5. southernpol says:

    I’m going to skip all the HOA discussion and move to the political side of this.

    Does Rick Allen think Lee Anderson is going to lose and is hitting McLeod in case he decides to run again in two years also? Or just sour grapes?

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