Monday, September 2, 2013

C C&R Violation or Not? You Be the Judge

Off-leash dogs pooping, dead lawns, homes painted electric teal--these are obvious C C&R violations. They're easy to flag. What about off-leash dogs that aren't bothering anyone and are under voice control? What about a parked vehicle that violates the half-ton rule but is an attractive Mercedes? Rule violation becomes less clear.

What would you do in the following example?

Perhaps the most prominent and loveliest features of our community is a 33-acre lake, which the HOA dues maintain. It's home to a variety of waterfowl, bass, blue gill and carp. Community members may fish, go boating in non-motor boats and generally enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Usage is controlled, although plenty of people from outside slip in. No one much cares as long as these visitors are nice. Swimming is strictly forbidden, as is harassing the waterfowl. Outside that, things are pretty loose.

Sunday, a group of twenty or so people showed up at lake's edge in front of my home about the same time as I took the dog out for her afternoon walk. At first, I thought they had arrived to set up a picnic, but no one carried food or baskets. They all seemed to be speaking to one another, as though conspiring, and I assumed they were going to lay claim to one of the picnic tables. While I did not recognize them as neighbors, they didn't seem to be bothering anyone. Although their presence set off tinkling alarm bells, I still thought no-harm, no foul.

I continued up the path and peered back after five or ten minutes, only to see that three men, perhaps in their mid-thirties, had waded out into the water, fully dressed. One was speaking as the other two seemed to be listening earnestly. One of them--not the one speaking--took off his shirt. The water is super-scuzzy--so bad that the botanist who inspects the lake annually said he wouldn't allow his dog to enter. A no-swimming violation, maybe. Trespassers. Whatever.

A thousand thoughts collided in my head when it dawned on me what was happening, and I hurried back to my house.

Once there, I turned to watch the shirtless man get dunked in a full-immersion baptism. When he got back to shore, the others seemed to congratulate him (or whatever it is they do), and the group left. However, about half of them--including the now-saved young man--stopped off at our community pool (since it's locked, one or more had to be homeowners) and went inside.


1. Did a C C&R violation occur?
2. If so, what's the penalty?