The HOA Is Asking Us To Decide Something Morally Murky

Seeing clearly? Antique lenses used by eye doctor to determine the prescription for your spectacles.

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When I saw the lawyer’s return address on the letter in our mailbox I knew something was up with the Home Owners Association [HOA].

I opened the envelope and began to read the letter + the attachments, written in legalese, describing what the HOA wants us, the homeowners, to decide about changing our by-laws.

I like our HOA.  The people on it do a good job of informing us in a timely manner about break-ins and coyotes and streets under repair and pool closures. Things like that, plus they do a great job of keeping the entrances looking spiffy.

They earn their keep;  however I find this proposed addition to the by-laws to be a dicey issue.

We are being asked as a group to decide if a registered sex offender [in any state] can buy or rent a house in this large subdivision.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer to this proposed addition to the by-laws because while it may be legal, this is a morally murky area.

I mean, if someone has done their time for their crime do we have the right to not let him or her live here? Or is this a high-handed way to snoop inside the lives of other people?

And further, what about domestic violence perpetrators with a police record? Or drunk drivers with multiple arrests?  Do we refuse to allow them to live here?  They worry me as much as, if not more than, registered sex offenders.

Like I said, no clear answer here– but a great topic of conversation. What say you to this? Comments are open below.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

121 thoughts on “The HOA Is Asking Us To Decide Something Morally Murky”

  1. That’s an awful position to be in. On the one hand, they have to register with their city/town already so the fact of residence is on public record. On the other hand if I had young children running around and playing in the neighborhood I think I’d want to know. So I could check the public record. Seems a bit of overkill for your HOA to be involved.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Rivergirl, I hear you. I know where our registered sex offender lives because I check the public record from time-to-time. But to exclude anyone who is registered to ever live here… I dunno… it’s a weird issue.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Exactly! That’s where my mind went when this letter appeared. What about those miscreants who get away with who knows what right under our noses? I find them worrisome.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Jill, I tend to agree with you. If the registered sex offender has done that which is required by law, then who are we to exclude them? I don’t know why the HOA has sought legal counsel on this issue and is presenting it to us now. No doubt there’s a story behind this proposed by-law.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I did a quick google and came up with this:

    * While felons and sex offenders are not considered a “protected class” under anti-discrimination laws, it is possible that a restriction that prohibits sex offenders from purchasing a home in your community would not be upheld by the courts, and it could expose the HOA to a potential civil rights claim.

    * Laws governing sex offenders vary from state to state, and you must determine your own state’s law before you make a single move.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. nancy, I do hope that the HOA’s lawyer knows the above. I cannot fathom how this got to be an issue around here, but apparently it has. If the by-law is rejected, then so be it. But if it passes, then things could get interesting… in a bad way, I suspect.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Always good to do one’s own ‘homework’ on issues instead of taking whatever is given (even if it’s via a lawyer) and assuming that’s all there is to the issue. Especially if it’s a solicitation to ‘vote’ one way or another – as is the case I assume in the HOA’s packet of info sent to the community.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. laura, I agree about researching. I imagine that this by-law won’t pass because it offends moral people’s sense of decency and conservative people’s sense of freedom, but why it has appeared now I cannot say. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the #MeToo movement or the Epstein trial? I dunno, but the topic of this proposed by-law is as timely as today’s news. 😐

        Liked by 3 people

  3. As you said, there is no right or wrong answer here. I hope I’m never put in the position of having to make a decision like this because I have a mountain of conflicting emotion here. As you’ve said in other comments, these issues never just pop up out of nowhere. Something has happened to drive this request for a vote.

    My prevailing feeling is this – in this increasingly complex socially connected world, our real rights and freedoms as individuals are becoming narrower and narrower, all in the name of protection and security for the general good.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Joanne, this issue had to have a genesis somewhere, but I don’t gossip around here so I don’t know the backstory. This is a very politically conservative area so people are highly sensitive to anything they perceive as taking away their inalienable right to do whatever they want to do. Thus I think this sex offender issue will fade away because it’ll be perceived as a form of HOA government taking away someone’s right– and that’d be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well that’s an excellent point, Joanne. This is a huge subdivision with 750 houses and more on the way. Who knows if people will be rational about this issue. Or if once settled this time, it’ll resurface again every few years…

          Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve learned, and believe, that no government can legislate morality. Prohibition failed. Abortion laws fail (so far). Gay marriage bans fail. While one may not condone such action, we must err on the side of personal freedoms. The last extra layer of governmental regulation we need is from a HOA. I say they should stick to landscaping, pools and other aesthetic.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Z-D, I agree with you about morality, of course. I also think that this being such a politically conservative area that the mere idea of any other organization taking away someone’s rights, will be enough to stop this bylaw.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Due to where I work, I understand the issue of sex offenders and housing. It is something that we struggle with as so many people are fearful and would rather we build housing for them out in the middle of the field somewhere. The city ordinances don’t help (can’t live within so many feet of a school or park, etc.), but I also understand the reason for them – safety. The thing is that anyone who has a car can drive anywhere in the city and hang out and you would not know if they were a sex offender, a thief, or a law abiding citizen. If I were young with children, I might have issues with a sex offender living next to me; however, isn’t it better to know the person, know where they live and take precautions rather than wonder about everyone that walks past my house?

    In the people realm of things, I have big issues with discrimination and bigotry. We all need to stop fearing and judging and treat people as humans. Of course, within reason because we still are concerned about the safety of our family and ourselves. It can be a fine line, one that the HOA needs to be careful not to cross.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “We all need to stop fearing and judging and treat people as humans.”

      Mary, amen sister. I know who is a registered sex offender around here because he or she is registered, thus it’s up to me to decide if I want to interact with him or her. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with a sex offender living close by, but we don’t single out domestic abusers or drunk drivers who are volatile and potentially dangerous, now do we?

      And you’re right that in our everyday interactions we have no idea about another person’s past, so why make a public issue of it here within the subdivision? It’s morally murky to think about all this, yet now I must. I never saw this issue coming from the HOA, I can tell you that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Eilene, I’m beginning to think that whenever I find some behavior that I sense is off, all I have to do is look to the news of the day [or month] to find the source of the fear that has been the catalyst for the weird behavior. This is one of those situations.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh boy, this is a hot button issue, isn’t it? I am not certain if HOA should be the governing body making this kind of decision. Although I recognize the concern, we create a slippery slope making decisions outside what the laws dictate when it comes to who is considered to be an acceptable neighbour & who is not.

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    1. Lynn, well said. I don’t know why the HOA is suddenly presenting this issue to us nor am I inclined to find out why. I get that people, my neighbors, may not feel safe with a registered sex offender wandering around here, but something seems morally wrong to me with this proposed by-law. Of course only time will tell what’s going to happen with this issue.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. We have a lakehouse on a private lake in a gated community. Recently, someone decided to post a resident sex offender’s picture and info on all the bulletin boards in the mailrooms and post about it on the online NextDoor neighborhood forum. It made me sick. This information is available to anyone who wants/needs to know it on a website. Why go out of your way to do this personally? I don’t have sympathy for sexual offenders, per se, but I have no patience for discrimination and bullying, either.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. nance, who’d do something like that? Posting pics within your gated community of a registered sex offender just for kicks? That I don’t get– or won’t get until I hear the backstory about it. You’re right that what you saw is bullying behavior. That’s just too twisted for me to contemplate right now. Huh…

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t like any criminals living near me, especially drunk drivers and thieves. Since I don’t have kids here, I don’t particularly care about sex offenders. I agree with Zen-Den that the HOA should stick with landscaping type issues.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paula, you said it. While I may not prefer criminals living near me, I don’t want to single them out. It’s none of my business really. I don’t know what prompted the HOA to tackle this issue, but they have. They do such a good job informing us of small problems and making it all look tidy around here. Go with your strengths, I say.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. “Registered sex offender” is such a generic classification that can get applied to a wide variety of sex “crimes.” There are some who are genuinely dangerous, because what they have done generally has a high recidivism rate. There are some who are perfectly harmless, who merely got caught up in a system that refuses to tell the difference between an actual child molester and the 25 year old who had a relationship with a high school junior who lied about her age. And then there are those in the middle that….. well, who knows? Why do we single sex crimes out as a society as the one thing we get most up in arms about? Unless they have a laundry list of past heinous crimes, any RSO who’d become your neighbor is about as much of a mystery as anyone else…. IMHO.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. evilsquirrel13, you make excellent points. The registered sex offender designation is generic and doesn’t allow for any nuance. I don’t know if the lawyer for the HOA has thought that through or not. It’s interesting how this issue has manifested just as Epstein [and Trump by proxy] are going on trial for their sexual perversions. It’s a sad commentary on our society that in order to feel safe we have to focus on sex crimes, but there you have it. This is where we are.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. You have some great comments here. I agree with Zen-Den. HOA is not the police. They should stick to the landscaping and maintenance issues. Evilsquirrel has good points too. Not every sex offender is a heinous sex offender.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kate, yes both make good points. I was surprised by this proposed by-law but now that it’s here I suppose we all will have to figure out why or why not we think it’s necessary. Won’t this be jolly? 😏

      Liked by 3 people

  11. I’ve never had to deal with an HOA. I’m kind of okay with some guidelines as a homeowner, like don’t paint your house purple and have 12 old cars sitting around on the lawn, but at the same time I don’t really want a group of overseers to tell me what I can or can’t plant in my yard or do on the property I’m paying big dollars to live at.
    While I would never want to give anyone a greater opportunity to do harm, especially to a child, I suppose I would approach this from the standpoint that you have no real way of knowing who already lives among you and what they do within their homes. Would it just be the “knowing” that seems to make the idea of acceptance worse? Reality tells me that stuff must already be happening in homes all around you but you just don’t know…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Deb, I have no beef with our HOA. They’re non-intrusive for the most part, so this proposed by-law is a surprise to me. I agree with you that I’ve no doubt that lousy stuff is happening in houses around here that we’ll never know about, but because a registered sex offender is easy to call out it makes people feel safer by doing so. I dunno.

      Or maybe it’s because we’re seeing with Epstein just how far and pervasive sex crimes go, thus suddenly the issue of registered sex offenders seems more frightening here. Again, I dunno.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Provocative topic with such thoughtful comments, Ally. Thank you. As you know I’m on a summer break from blogging; this topic is too important to pass by. It heartens me that so many are cautious yet concerned with the slippery slope.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, it’s a weird topic to contemplate. On the one hand it seems timely because of the #MeToo movement, but on the other hand the proposed HOA by-law seems intrusive and unwarranted to me. Just another modern dilemma, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure how #MeToo is involved — . Can you say more?

        The closest I’ve ever come to writing about HOAs was when they ban outdoor clotheslines. 🙂 That felt intrusive and unwarranted.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Janet, the women who are part of the #MeToo movement want to make public/ostracize their attackers. I can’t help but wonder if this proposed bylaw is a reaction/continuation of the #MeToo movement concept. It’s a legal way to ensure that attackers are known for who they are and are shunned by the community for it.

          It’s a guess, of course– but it does strike me as more than coincidental that this proposed by-law, which came out of the blue, is suddenly an issue here right about the time Epstein and the #MeToo movement are in the news.

          On a lighter note, no clotheslines? That’s hilarious to me. Who would care? We have a few rules here, but none that mundane.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Well, the ones I’m following are indeed sharing a secret that for far too long had been cloaked in shame. For many victims/survivors, that can be healing. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of your HOA scenario, though, from the other side. On that redeeming lighter note, it’s like, “Who wants Harvey Weinstein living next door? Raise your hand!” Good luck with the vote. I hope you’ll keep us posted.

            Liked by 3 people

  13. I mean, if someone has done their time for their crime

    Sentencing guidelines are determined by the “number of beds” in prison over time, divided by the number and seriousness of offenses. Theoretically, at least in Minnesota, if we had 10,000 “beds” and 10,001 murderers, we would let the last one go.

    That is how absurdly “time” is actually calculated. Never, ever, trust it. It means absolutely nothing.

    On the other hand, if someone commits a crime in their youth (18 to 28) and has not re-offended in ten years, they are probably safe – but then again, some sex offenders are never safe, nor will they ever be “cured”.

    Sadly, HOA rules are all or nothing. I would go with nothing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Almost Iowa, I didn’t know that about prison time vis-à-vis bed availability. Kind of scary, but you make a great point about time served.

      I will admit that this proposed by-law is not like any of the other ones that our HOA usually present to us. I don’t know why this issue has come up now, but it does make for an interesting glimpse into what/who people fear. Nothing may come of this issue if the by-law doesn’t get enough votes, but we’ll see.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. That’s a really tough one. As you said, if you consider banning one kind of offender, why not all kinds? And while you’re at it, maybe consider ethnic or religious varieties that might oppose someone’s beliefs? Maybe just ban people altogether. That’s not to say I would be comfortable with a sex offender as a neighbor if I had small children, but there are precedents to be considered.

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    1. Carol, you’ve summed this up nicely. It’s a slippery slope and it’s one that seems to me to make for a less friendly neighborhood. Once you start banning one sort of person, who will be next? In some ways I wish I knew more about why this is being proposed now, but I don’t. And so it shall remain a mystery to me unless I find myself in a conversation with a neighbor who is more clued into the HOA than I am.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. As usual, lots of great conversation here. You said that you think it “won’t pass because it offends moral people’s sense of decency and conservative people’s sense of freedom,” but then we all thought Hillary would win too. It may take a while but I hope you’ll keep us updated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, good point. I must not make assumptions based on my own logical rational thinking. 🙄 I’ll update on this topic when it is finally decided, but considering how slowly the HOA wheels turn, and how squeaky they are, it could be a year from now. What a thing, huh?

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  16. It definitely begs the question of where it would all stop. Once they start deciding who can live there it could easily expand to anyone with a criminal record or even people whose color or religion they don’t like. Regression seems to be the word of the day right now. I don’t remember the ’50s but too many seem to hanker for those “good old days” of discrimination.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Margaret, I hadn’t thought of this in light of regressive behavior intent on making discrimination great again, but there’s something to your idea. I don’t know the backstory of why we’re being asked to decide this issue now, but in light of the #MeToo movement and the Epstein [and Trump by default?] trial the topic of sex offenders seems to be everywhere I turn. And what a tedious topic it is.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I don’t know why that would be proferred as a change in your by-laws. If nobody told anyone about the sex offender who may want to live in your community, and that sex offended had learned their lesson, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? This so-called Freedom of Information thing is a double edged sword IMO. I don’t know that I’d want to live around a criminal (provided it was proven beyond any doubt that the person was guilty), but it’s also none of my damned business so long as the criminal stays the %$#@ away from my property and family. And hopefully doesn’t re-offend. The very title of ‘sex offender’ brings with it shunning and shaming by others. It’s probably difficult for those folks to find a decent place to live.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Melanie, right now a registered sex offender may live in this subdivision no questions asked, but the proposed by-law would not allow any registered sex offender to live here ever. Apparently this is legal, but it’s the morality of that I find disturbing. I figure that there are plenty of other crimes being committed here already, so how do we decide which ones are deal breakers and which ones get to slide under the radar? It’s a slippery slope. And I’m sure you’re right about how difficult it must be to find a place to live with registered sex offender attached to your name.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Some good advice from your readers here. I think the HOA May create some liability if this is incorporated into your bylaws. I don’t think it’s the role of the HOA to legislate such matters. Where will it stop? A slippery slope for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sue, I’m with you. I see no good that can come from proposed by-law, but it’s an issue so we have to vote on it. Why it’s happening now makes me curious, but not enough to get to the backstory of it. Generally speaking I steer clear of the HOA and let them play their games without my input.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. Your commenters have said it all, so now I agree with morally murkiness of this issue. What about ___ and ___ and ___ and ___?

    Great discussion going here. I guess you’ll have to do a follow-up.

    My issue with our HOA is more sneaky than murky. I was used to hanging out sets of sheets on a clothesline at our previous address. Now I have to sneak 1 or 2 mostly-done-in-the-drier items to dry completely on the arms of a shepherd’s hook near our backyard patio. To me saving energy trumps appearances. :-0

    Liked by 2 people

    1. marian, this has been an interesting discussion. Good points of view all of them, but what a quandary to foist upon us homeowners. Out of nowhere it’d seem.

      You’re the second commenter to mention HOA and clotheslines. I didn’t know this was a problem anywhere, but now that I do I’m rather amused by it. I agree with you that saving energy is more important than keeping up appearances. Keep on sneaking your clothes outside, you rebel.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, that’s the real crux of it for me. I’m not keen on sexual predators, but this proposed by-law seems ill-advised to me. It just starts things down the wrong path.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. People have to register as sex offenders for a fairly wide range of offenses. To institute a blanket ban I don’t think is right. Good luck – this is a slippery sloop as everyone else have pointed out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I agree that this issue is a slippery slope and it’s one that I cannot figure why we’re being asked to think about it. There must have been a catalyst, but to me this proposed by-law seems weirdly out of character for the HOA, that usually focuses on landscapes and light fixtures.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Marie, I wonder how this proposed HOA by-law issue got started and I wonder how it’ll end, but in the meantime it’s a good topic of conversation– just a weird and murky one. Ain’t life a pip?

      Like

    1. Ain’t that the truth, Shelley? I don’t know where this idea came from but it’s something I never saw coming. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’ll update when I do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems to me they were approached by someone, and didn’t want to be the sole bad-guy, so they’re hoping the whole HOA wants to vote and make the decision for them. It’ll be interesting to see what is finally decided.

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Shoot, you got me with this one! I thought I’d heard everything from an HOA but making this kind of guideline? Do they really have control over who buys houses in the neighborhood? I thought they only had power once you owned the property and signed the HOA agreement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I’m confused, too, by the power that our HOA seems to believe they have. Considering the letter came from a reputable lawyer I’m going with the idea that this is legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. To say that this proposed by-law is out of the ordinary is an understatement. I don’t know why it’s being proposed now, but I suspect there’s a backstory of some sort. 🤨

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow, Ally, you have opened up a can of worms. Many layers of issues on this one. In our family, we have a saying, “the Paul Bernardo Effect.” A very clean cut, accountant type (actually, I think he was an accountant) ended up being a Canadian serial killer. The known entity is often easier to deal with than the clean cut, perfect looking accountant types. As other comments stated, not a black and white situation. A great post and question to put out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica/Erika, you make a good point about how looks can deceive. Some of the sneakiest people are the good-looking ones who get away with things like domestic violence and drunk driving. And of course this proposed by-law wouldn’t touch them. I agree that this is an interesting question, but what a question!

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  23. What an interesting discussion! You said that you have a rso living in your area already… are the powers-that-be now trying to get rid of him or her? Or, would this new rule grandfather any rso already living there? I know it’s not exactly the same, but that letter reminded me of a time, many years ago, that my mother received a letter from a neighbor “warning” other neighbors that Jews were trying to buy into our neighborhood. Oh, the horror! My mother wrote a very pointed letter back telling her to mind her own business.

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    1. Janis, you’ve hit on one of the ironies of this situation. There is a former registered sex offender living in the subdivision, down the way on our street. But he’s been here for years, done his time, and is to a point where he is no longer on the registry. Only some of us know who he is now. All of which I find baffling because while he’s not my fave neighbor he’s ok, so why is this a HOA issue now? There’s more to this than meets the eye, but what that is I do not know.

      I’m glad your mother wrote a pointed letter back to the nosy neighbor. I can’t imagine doing what that neighbor did, but no doubt crap like that still happens.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, I’ll do a follow-up when all is decided. This is a weird issue for our HOA to put to us. Usually they’re into more practical matters like fences and signs and road repair.

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  24. While the registry is helpful, of course, one of its flaws is when people on it are assumed to be pedophiles or rapists, but who might actually have been 21 while fornicating with a minor who had fake id, or who may have left the bar and watered the public walkway in a drunken stupor. Plenty of people have done both, and worse, without being charged and labeled for life.
    I hate HOAs and I think this is a bit too hot a topic for them to take on legally. Why the sudden motivation? Hmm? Where did this come from? That, to me, is the real question.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, I agree with you about the failings of the whole registered sex offender designation. It is not nuanced enough to explain reality.

      And I also wonder why this is an issue now. My guess is that it’s some sort of weird knee-jerk reaction to the issues brought up by the #MeToo movement and the Epstein [& Trump?] sex trial. Whatever is in the news seems to influence people more than they like to admit. So if you believe that [and I do] then this weird suddenly important HOA issue makes sense. Well, only in its genesis, not in its content. The whole idea is just plain stupid.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Betsy, that’s the problem here, isn’t it? On the one hand as a moral person I don’t want to label anyone or discriminate against them. As a pragmatic person I don’t want to feel unsafe in my own home. While this HOA issue is legal [apparently] it does require us to decide what we each think is the right thing to do. And I have to wonder how this will play out…

      Liked by 2 people

  25. The first thing that comes to mind for me is that if the offender is legally allowed to live in your area, then if the HOA votes not to allow it, another neighborhood with no HOA will get more than its share of offenders.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Behind the Story, excellent point! I hadn’t thought of that and you’re right. If the registered sex offender wants to live in this town there are many other subdivisions where he or she could go. Be that as it may, the issue still remains: how do we as a group handle living with registered sex offenders, of which their seem to be many?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that what society has decided is that they can’t be sent to a desert island. Instead they are sent to live among us. But to keep us safe, we are told who they are so we can be alert. If they have abused children, they can’t live near a school. Basically that means we should live with it. Treat them well but be alert. “Not in my back yard” has always been a selfish answer. By the way, almost all of the sexual abuse of children cases my daughter prosecutes are committed be family members. So it’s unlikely to be the person who moves in next door.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’ve explained it well. I agree about the selfishness of NIMBY. I understand the HOA’s concern, I really do– but this is not a great solution.

          Interesting about your daughter’s experience as a prosecutor. Sad, but true, no doubt. It does make me stop and think about how you can never know for sure about the *good* people next door.

          Liked by 1 person

  26. Tricky – have the 750 households taken a view on this? Or is it just the HOA wielding a muscle it didn’t know it had? I’d be concerned Ally Bean – big daddy making decisions on my behalf – noooooo

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    1. Susan, I don’t know the answer to your question. This letter and issue just came in the mail as if out of the blue. Considering how many people are on vacation and how many people never vote on any HOA issue, this proposed by-law may turn out to go nowhere. Still it’s an insight into what worries some people around here. And how they want to handle their fears. 😐

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  27. Surprised they even put this in writing. Maybe it’s a difference in state laws or something, but the ACLU could come down pretty hard with this one.
    Here, authorities just plop them down anywhere they please and tough, residents. Warning: once they find a community were people “tolerate” one ( as in be kind, generous with giving a second chance and honoring the “live and let live” philosophy, and don’t get out the pitch forks, the placement group after testing the waters (and making sure no one is related to, knows, or is someone of political clout of works for a news media) then they jam in more and more and more – sooner or later the news stations do a story on “Do you know who is placed/lives in your neighborhood complete with dots on maps and then that neighborhood gets a reputation, property values take a hit, and more assorted” halfway houses” show up.
    Difficult situation. There was a teen who had the bad judgement to not understand “no means no” and was charged with rape,( when actually…) That tag will follow him for ever. Everyone knew the kid. It’s sad.
    The thing about the others, well, tends to make parents uneasy especially if the person constantly lingers in a chair on their porch or lawn and just stares. Or if there’s a “group home” situation and multiple disheveled individuals congregate in plain view..and glare. (You should definitely HOA the “single family resident” clause…although even that is tough to enforce these days). Halloween – cops may sit outside the home, the house is not supposed to have any decorations or outside lights on, but the block feels weird and not the same. Might want to look up the rules the individual is supposed to follow (Any curfews? Employment or mandated employment or just living on welfare? Who can come visit? Parties? Leg monitors? group home or only one individual – that’s important ) -Look up the number of other police incidents common to those houses (drugs, violence, and other things may be part of the individual’s history and those sometimes become part of the neighborhood, too)
    Having seen what can happen to previously congenial, family oriented, small neighborhoods and communities, I’d say be wary as well as kind.
    Examine the star, county, local laws regulating this – and the neighborhood’s rights, too. (We have laws about how close they can live or stand near churches, schools – but placement has put individuals right at the allowed edge of playgrounds and people are allowed to sit on their porches and in driveways and stare. One, may be just fine, but there are lots of individuals that need placement. (Does your area/police offer maps to residents of who has been already placed in the community/city? Check and ask for one immediately)
    If the process was really transparent – and everyone was truthful, it would be less unsettling. Authorities have a job: place individuals. And they are skill persuasive speakers.
    What a world. Good luck
    This is what I know – but your area may be different from the big city and it’s suburbs.

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    1. philmouse, you know more than I do about this topic. My goodness, what insight you have in how the registered sex offender relocation process works. I know where registered sex offenders live in the community because there is a map available online. And I know that our subdivision doesn’t allow group homes of any sort. I also realize that the price of homes in this subdivision of 750 houses might be more than many registered sex offenders could afford.

      But whether we as a group adopt this proposed by-law I could not predict. This issue/conversation dropped into my life via the letter from the HOA lawyer who I hope knows the law well enough to not get us as a group in trouble. She’d be the one sued for malpractice, but it’d be a messy situation all around.

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      1. It’s a difficult situation for most who simply want to live and let live and be left alone.
        With this state’s overcrowded jails and tendency to keep lesser offenders out of jail to try and give them a chance, sounds like some resident caught wind of something and panicked and probably has kids or elderly parent in the area (Sadly rapes of 80+ women are not that unusual here…one recently the man said was because he “Never had an Asian woman.” Fear is a bad thing and drives bad things.
        Purchasing a house may not be the deterrent as houses can be rented in most areas (and there is subsidized housing payments available – and you might be surprised how much that allowed payment is)
        HOA are such a pain here and the state is trying to reel their power in…and then there’s the one whose management board secretly abolished the HOA yet kept charging residents management fees for years. Their pool had been shut for 10 years. Seriously. It would be funny, but
        Here’s a story link

        https://www.khou.com/article/news/investigations/furious-lawmaker-hopes-to-make-hoas-more-transparent/285-8e40ca6a-0504-43df-85f9-7b670ab4d509

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        1. I know that many people have bad opinions of HOAs and after reading your link I can see why. Ours has never been deceitful [to my knowledge] and has never broached this sort of moral topic before. They usually spend their time in more useful pursuits but something [the relentless sexual predator news?] or someone [a potential new resident?] has pushed the HOA onto this path. I don’t really know what to make of it, but that’s where we are now. 🙄

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          1. HOAs add great value if they are sensible and use a commonsense approach when issues come up. Great for keeping the place looking good and welcoming…they should stick with that maybe.
            This state has some terrible HOAs – like they one that foreclosed on a widow for over due yearly fees and turned around and sold the house to a friend of the boards for $100.00. She had closed the house up for a bit after her husband dies to stay with daughter – never got any notices – and later stuff that came addressed to recently deceased husband (and look like ads – there are so many after a death) were innocently tossed. Someone called the news media and the entire area was outraged. The guy wouldn’t give her house back, but she was able to get her furniture and stuff and friends relocated her. It was a nightmare.
            As you say, best to keep your head down around them…HOAs can be terrible bullies and unreasonable sometimes….but really appreciate their efforts to keep the landscape at the entrances nice and people’s weed/lawns cut appropriately (But they will do nothing about dangerous dogs running loose….)
            Will be interested to see what shakes out with your situation (Odd thing…if there is already a map of offenders posted and some already living in the area, why did someone get a call asking if offenders were allowed…so weird… activist news reporter looking for a story or resident who must have lived a very sheltered life suddenly found out? Strange, indeed)

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            1. Yes, It’s strange. Someday I may learn the backstory of this, but anymore I don’t know many people around here to call. We pioneers who came this way first and homesteaded the land are mostly gone. 🤠

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  28. To me, I see the dynamic of people in a so-called position of authority, attempting to “do something” about a perceived/actual threat. It’s natural to respond to fear in some way shape or other, so they do what they feel they have an obligation to do. It’s commendable, too – to take responsibility for their membership, to protect.

    What they aren’t doing, or haven’t yet begun to do, is question the primal urges and the validity of their fears. And the scope of their authority.

    Slippery slope is the hashtag on this one, no question.

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    1. Maggie, yours is a reasoned comment. There are many variables to consider in this scenario and to be honest this is about the last thing I want to spend my time thinking about. Yet it’s here so I/we must deal with it. What a world, eh?

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  29. Talk about poking a bear. 🙂 I don’t think an HOA has to get involved in it. People are tried, if guilty they’re convicted, they serve, they register. I went on line and there are 39 registered in my zip code. If I worried about every one of them, I’d never sleep at night. The other thing is that all those registered can’t be painted with the same brush. How do you compare a person who commits a heinous crime with a teenager who is involved with his/her girlfriend who may be a year younger than the law, or even that person who had one too many beers and relieved themselves in an alley only to be captured on a cell phone. Tough subject. Hope the HOA decides not to pursue it or it could lead down a lot of slippery slopes.

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    1. Judy, I like your “poking a bear” description. I agree. I, too, know the number and locations of the registered sex offenders in this community because it’s online. I don’t worry about them because I just can’t. I have no idea why this issue has suddenly shown up, but I’m hoping that it quietly goes away. Like you said there are so many different shades of gray when it comes to sex offenders. I don’t know how this proposed by-law would be applied to them, but it all sounds like something that the HOA should avoid.

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  30. I’ll be interested to know the eventual outcome. About four years the neighbors two doors away retired and moved to Florida and some friends of theirs moved in. I don’t like this guy for his Doberman that is very threatening and it is a corner house so it barks incessantly. He is loud, has parties, yard sales (illegally – every weekend, selling in his backyard, big crowds). At Halloween the local online paper published a link to check if there were registered sex offenders in your area so you didn’t let your kids go there for candy. Imagine my surprise to see this guy was a registered sex offender for CSC third degree (force/coercion) and though the crime was in 1997 he must register the rest of his life. A little shocking to find out there is one two doors away.

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    1. linda, I can imagine your shock. We had a registered sex offender on this street, but way at the other end of it not two doors down. Whatever this man’s crime was he is no longer on the registry, so I’m guessing it was a lesser offense. He still lives here & I don’t think this proposed by-law has anything to do with him. I don’t know why this has suddenly become an issue around here, but I don’t know many things, I guess. I’ll update on this post when there’s something to tell.

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      1. There was someone else down the block as well – yikes! That guy had a lesser offense and he is no longer living there. I wish you could have seen the look on my face – he does not want me and his crime was in 1997, but serious enough to warrant lifetime registration, so that is very telling IMO. I can see (from pulling up his profile in the registry for Michigan) that they list his many aliases, ID as to scars, tattoos, description of his car/year, etc. and if he timely checks in. He is a rather swarthy-looking fellow and I have kept my mouth shut as to the constantly barking dog, but earlier this year did go to the police station and ask if I could file a complaint anonymously. I did not mention I knew his offender status,. but said that I worked from home and they leave the Doberman out while they are at work and it’s out as early as 4:00 a.m. and as late as 11:00 p.m. and I have to have the radio on while working sometimes. The animal control officer is a woman and she paid him a visit as the barking subsided. It got to a point that even on a weekend it was unbearable with the noise. I will be interested in the follow-up post.

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        1. What a wacko story. So you can file a complaint anonymously! Who knew? I wouldn’t like hearing that dog barking all. the. time. In some ways I feel sorry for it, neglected and marginalized. BUT quiet should be the norm, not the exception in residential areas. I’m glad that things have gotten better for you. Still… 😳

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          1. The neighbor who lives behind this guy (John), called me to the fence as I walked by a few days after I went and complained at the police department. John called me over for two reasons – to say his wife had passed away from dementia a few weeks before (age 62) and also to say that Juan had stomped over to the fence that separates their yards to ask “did you go to the police about Cha Cha’s barking?” I had discussed the barking with John when our neighborhood had electrical issues last Fall and he told me about his wife and that he had quit his job and was a full-time caretaker for her, that he was very stressed and the dog’s barking was an annoyance and sometimes unbearable. So he responded to Juan “no, it wasn’t me” but he ranted and raved on since he got a citation and said “if you did not have a birdfeeder, Cha Cha would not bark; she is barking at the birds.” So he said apparently someone called the police on Juan/Cha Cha.
            The rage and anger over his getting a citation tells me right there that he is a hothead and not to be trifled with. Next door in between the two houses, a single woman has a Bichon Frise who whines/cries the second she steps out of the house to leave for work. It continues that all day long. I sometimes think i will lose my mind. I have earplugs in a lot of the time as I don’t want to have the radio on all day long.

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            1. Well, that’s disturbing and enlightening and frightening all at once. I’m glad that Juan got a citation, but like you said there’s something wrong with his thinking/wiring and I’d steer clear of him, too. Your neighborhood may be home to you but my goodness the things you put up with. I wouldn’t like to wear earplugs all day, but if it was that or hear a mean dog barking ceaselessly– earplugs it is.

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              1. Yes, I know it is not a nice situation at all Ally and my frustration level is very high because of it. You are right in his wiring and flying off the handle because of the citation and blaming the neighbor behind who said “well your dog does bark all the time” is uncalled for. I nod my head if I see him outside while secretly loathing him and the dog. Originally, I called the police several times on the weekends and I did not get my City police department – I got Central Dispatch for this area. I knew that was kind of useless, but stated my “case” anyway and said they tie the dog up in a corner and he barks incessantly and they said a patrol officer would be around. That never happened.

                When I did go right to the police department to make my complaint, I decided to take a different tact.
                I went after the “Mutt Strutt” 5K to benefit animals event. I was still wearing my shirt and swag. So I prefaced my spiel by saying “I don’t own a dog, not because I don’t like dogs, but I have lost pets and cannot bear the grief of losing them, but I enjoy others’ pets, except this one.” Then launched into my tale. The desk sergeant was very nice and he said “I have two chocolate Labs of my own and they get pretty vocal and I also live on a street corner.” I had not given an address for my situation,, but I blurted out “I know where you live – I am an avid walker and when I can’t walk at the park, I walk in the neighborhood. I’ve seen, but never heard your dogs and have seen you in uniform leaving for, or coming home from your shift.” I probably took him aback a bit, so I said “I see the dogs, but since the fence is close to the sidewalk, I cross the street – don’t know if they might jump the fence – I take no chances as the Doberman charges the fence so I simply walk across the street. But I know they are labs and they are probably very friendly.” He said “ahh, I know that house now – you’re right, it is two blocks from me – yes, I’ve heard that dog too. My dogs are very friendly – if you reached out your hand to pet them, they’d be smothering you with kisses.” So this little camaraderie “from the ‘hood” may have helped my cause a wee bit and I said I called on weekends and always said that I know there are more pressing things the police attend to, but this is nerve-wracking noise, hour after hour. He wrote my information to register a complaint, said he’d pass it to the animal control officer and asked ME to call in on Monday.

                The neighborhood is going down, but my house is paid for long ago, and little maintenance outside – I am not for getting a larger piece of property, as I’m so done with that. That is for younger legs and I’ve lost my enthusiasm for working in the yard due to this weather and what I understand will be the norm going forward. I’m not willing to invest in landscaping, etc. to make it look good if it will die – I look around me and most of the flowers are fried already.

                On a lighter note, we had a dilemma where a a “pool pooper” was visiting a local community pool. The pool was to be used by only homeowners/their families in the community’s HOA. He was angry that he had to pay a fee even though part of the HOA – his penalty was being banned from the pool the rest of the Summer. Local social media comments were that he should be jailed, fined or banned forever. I think jail myself, but I am an old fuddy duddy about a lot of things. I wish we had a HOA as maybe Juan and Cha-Cha would not be around. http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/macomb-township-serial-pool-pooper-has-been-identified-banned-for-the-summer

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                1. You do have a story to tell about your conversation with the police. At least they listened to you and validated your experiences. Still, you hear the dog… Sure you don’t want to move?

                  As for pools and HOAs, ours in particular, no doubt lots of stuff goes on, but I take pride in not knowing a thing about it. I’m curious but not that curious.

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                  1. Yes, it seems I always have a story – my boss once said that he never knew anyone who had a story around a story. I guess I had some pull at the police department, but, as you say, it got me nowhere. He is belligerent and not to be trifled with. Sometimes it is not better to know the whole story.

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  31. Wow, that is some heavy stuff and I have no idea how to even begin to wrap my head around it. On the one hand, the person is definitely morally compromised, but on the other, aren’t we supposed to forgive and forget, live and let live, and all that other stuff. The problem is, you can never see how bright, or black, someone’s heart is, and that makes all the difference. Good luck! xo

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    1. Pam, yes you’ve summed up this conundrum perfectly. It’s nothing I’ve ever thought about before and it’s something that seems like it dropped out of the sky into our lives. Considering how apathetic our neighbors are about voting on things, I’ll be surprised if there’s the quorum needed for this vote to count for anything. But it’s still an issue, regardless.

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    1. L. marie, it’s a slippery slope that makes me uncomfortable, but I’ll admit that I’m intrigued by why this particular issue is suddenly of importance to the HOA. That may turn out to be the real story here. Details when [if?] I learn more.

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  32. I do not feel this is an HOA issue in the first place. Since when can the HOA say who you can/cannot sell you house to? Are they going to purchase all the homes that are for sale so they can determine the details of whom is allowed to live in your neighborhood. What is next… you can’t be a same sex couple? you can’t be a single parent?

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    1. teacherturnedmommy, oh I agree with you. This is a weird issue to be thinking about let alone put in the by-laws. I don’t know why this is suddenly a topic around here, but it’s slippery slope that I don’t want to slide down. Odd, the whole thing.

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  33. That is a tough one! I want to protect children, but you’re right: if we can exclude one kind of person with a criminal record, we can exclude all kinds. Perhaps it’s enough just to know that a registered sex offender is living nearby so parents can be cautious? I do admit that the idea of being able to deny someone who has served their time the same legal rights as others does seem very morally murky!

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    1. Ann, this is one of the oddest issues to come from our HOA. Most of the time what we are being asked to accept is expected, but this seems out of character for this group. I still don’t know the genesis of this issue, but I bet there’s a story there somewhere. In the meantime, we wait to see if a quorum voted– and if so what we decided. Too weird all around.

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