Chronological sequence of communications with TCC

 

     Print copies of all communications will be available if and when needed. 

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On March 18, 2021.  From Navigate Community Management to me:

Dear Homeowner,

This is a friendly reminder in accordance with your CC&R's Article V. Section 10 one may not have a garden and/or raised garden beds in your front yard. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.

Regards,

Haley Graham
Navigate Community Management 

 

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On March 18, 2021.  From me to Navigate Community Management:

Please provide a link to Article V. on the web....
 
M. Hamilton

 

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On March 18, 2021.  From Navigate Community Management to me:

Hello Mike,

I have attached the CC&R's for you reference. They are also available on the portal. The Article mentioned is Article V. Section 10 Noxious Use of Property.


Haley Graham, CMCA
Certified Manager of Community Associations

Navigate Community Management
Office: (360) 512-3820
www.navigatecommunitymanagement.com
Homeowner Portal: https://navigatepm.appfolio.com/connect/
Office: 16300 Mill Creek Blvd Suite 201-202, Mill Creek, WA 98012
Mailing address: PO BOX 14441 Mill Creek, WA 98082

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On March 18, 2021.  From me to Navigate Community Management:

It seems you have badly slipped a gear!  The words....garden, flower, vegetable, raised....do not occur anywhere in Article V, Section 10, nor anywhere else in the Covenants.  
 
Flower gardens are common in front yards throughout Timberline, have been for the 34 years that I have lived here.  A raised bed has been next door to me for well over ten years.  There are raised beds in the front yards of two house across the street.  There are flower and vegetable gardens on the other side of my house.  Until the house across the street was sold last year there was a vegetable garden across the street (tomatoes, etc.) worked by two neighbors for over fifteen years.  
 
This is my daughter's garden.  It is her passion.  She narrowly escaped a physically abusive marriage to move in with me.  She carefully checked the CC&Rs and verified there is nothing precluding what we have.  In fact, there have been many, many compliments to her from passersby.  If there were a vote in the neighborhood regarding this issue, it would be overwhelming against applying the term "noxious".  To argue otherwise seems wildly inconsistent with the appeal currently popular in our culture of homegrown, organic foods.
 
We plan no change unless some specifically relevant section of the CC&Rs is cited.
 
M Hamilton

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On March 22, 2021.  From Navigate Community Management to me:

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your response, I understand your frustration with the CC&R's not explicitly stating vegetable gardens and or raised garden beds. These documents can be broad in nature. The board asks that you kindly submit an ACC request. As it is needed for anything that changes the curb appeal (view) of a home from the street will requires approval. I have inserted the link for the ACC application here https://form.jotform.com/navigatecm/acc I am happy to answer any questions you have on the process as well as forward any concerns you have the board. Thank you.


Haley Graham, CMCA
Certified Manager of Community Associations

Navigate Community Management
Office: (360) 512-3820
www.navigatecommunitymanagement.com
Homeowner Portal: https://navigatepm.appfolio.com/connect/
Office: 16300 Mill Creek Blvd Suite 201-202, Mill Creek, WA 98012
Mailing address: PO BOX 14441 Mill Creek, WA 98082

 

(Paranthetical:  At this point I decided not to apply to the ACC for approval.  That would imply I was yielding to the misapplication of the intent of Section 10.  And it is clear that it would not be approved.  The ACC had already seen the garden.  If they approved, none of this would be happening.

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On March 23, 2021.  From me to Navigate Community Management:

I have applied and received approval from the ACC for painting and roofing because the requirement is clear.  I have yet to see even a vague reference in Article V regarding front yard gardens.  I insist on seeing a written statement, backed by the CC&Rs, for my own purposes.  Until then, I do not plan to submit any request.  I wouldn't know how to do it since the notion of "curbside appeal" is such a vague and subjective one.  
 
Attached is the curbside view of last summer.  Article V purports to address "noxious" features of a home front.  None of my neighbors would agree with such a description of my front yard.  None of the many passersby during last summer's pandemic walkathon would agree with it.  My daughter had numerous interactions with them in which they complemented the garden and sought advice for starting their own.  In fact, only a small fraction of the population of the planet, if any, would find it "noxious".
 
As for curbside appeal, the view of my property appears not to have discouraged the sale of the house across the street last year which sold for 1.25M in a bidding war.  Nor the house on the corner that sold last month for 1.2M in a bidding war.  In fact, the buyers across the street are good friends with my daughter and find the garden attractive.  Likewise, all other neighbors on this street.  They would all sign an endorsement of the garden.  As would many on other streets, if asked.  But, of course, if this issue is really such a burning one, you could check all this for yourselves.
 
I reiterate that my daughter's garden has been in place for three years and the ACC did not react.  Prior to the new owners across the street, there was a curbside vegetable garden there tended by two neighbors (not us), for over ten years, and the ACC did not react.  There are currently three other properties on my street with raised beds in front yards.  I know of at least three properties on other streets in Timberline currently growing vegetables in front yard gardens, two of them in raised beds.  You will have to discover them for yourselves.  I will be contacting them for guidance in how they made application for ACC approval.
 
I hope I have made my position clear.  I look forward to reading whatever relevant citation you can find in the CC&Rs.  Also, I am happy to meet in person at my front yard, at my morning convenience.  For 16 years now I send out a daily, year-round, an email with bird photos take each day and, so, am unavailable in afternoons.
 
M. Hamilton

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On April 13, 2021.  From Timberline Community Club to me:

Timberline Community Club CC&R Violation Notice


Subject:  Timberline Community Club
Lot: 20418 NE 41st St. Sammamish  Wa   98074

Inspection Date & Time:  April 07, 2021 @   2:46PM

Friendly Reminder / First Notice

Dear Homeowner(s),

Living in a community like the Timberline Community Club offers advantages and also requires some unavoidable restrictions. This
reminder is meant to be helpful, informative, and to assist you in successfully complying with the rules and standards of your
community.  During a recent inspection of the community, we noted that your property is not in compliance with the Governing Documents of the
Association. The Governing Documents include the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) written by the developer of the
Community and Rules and Regulations adopted by the Board.

If you have already addressed this violation, then please disregard this notice. Please note that if your property is occupied by a
tenant, it is your responsibility as the owner to ensure that the property stays in compliance with the terms of the Association's
Governing Documents.

We appreciate your understanding and an effort to comply with your community's Governing Documents. Working in partnership with
you and your neighbors is our goal to preserve and maintain the community's standards and property values. Thank you in advance
for your prompt attention regarding this matter. If you have a question related to this notice please email
compliance@navigatecm.com or call us at 360-512-3820.

Sincerely,

Navigate Community Management on behalf of the Board of Directors

   Next:  the violation Notice 

CC&R Violation Notice :  1st Notice

Property ID:  PRP-15-5206 ,  20418 NE 41st St. Sammamish, Wa

Notice ID:   VLT-33-6129

April 07, 2021 @   2:46PM

Association: Timberline Community Club

Violation: Article V. Section 10 (b) - Noxious Use of Property

No trash, garbage, ashes, or other refuse, junk vehicles, underbrush or other unsightly growths or objects shall be thrown, dumped or
allowed to accumulate on any lot or building site or public street. In the event any such condition shall exist, any person entitled to
hereunder may use the legal powers as set forth in these covenants

Unsightly conditions

Resolution:   Please store item(s) out of street view

Comments: Please submit ACC application for raised garden boxes.
 
2 images associated with this violation. View these images online, review your Association's CC&Rs, or respond to your Association
Manager in regards to this violation by visiting the Timberline Community Club portal at

https://portal.hoalife.com/

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On April 13, 2021.  From me to Navigate Community Management:

Haley Graham,
 
I am emailing you because I trust this will be a reliable method of delivery.  I trust you will pass on my comments to those needing to see them regarding my alleged violation of the Timberline CC&R’s.  But first let me say that I find it insulting for your Notice to point out to me the importance of maintaining community appearances.  I moved into Timberline 34 years ago.  I am sure I have lived here longer than most, possibly all of those on the board or ACC.  I am not one who disregards clear requirements for approval.  I have applied for and received approval for fences, roofing, and painting.  I strongly contend that raised garden beds are not covered by Article V and should not be.  Here’s why………..
 
As a preface, I include the key relevant text from Article V below…..
 
“Article V. Section 10 (b) - Noxious Use of Property. No trash, garbage, ashes, or other refuse, junk vehicles, underbrush or other unsightly growths or objects shall be thrown, dumped or allowed to accumulate on any lot or building site or public street.”
 
As your photos and mine clearly show to any reasonable person, the raised garden beds in my front yard are not “unsightly growths”.  That’s the only part of that section that could possibly be construed as applicable.  Consequently, it seems to come down to the subjective opinion of a small minority.  I point out the board and committee members hold those positions not through a process of a seriously contested election and so, do not necessarily reflect a majority view of the community.  In the case of my front yard I have every reason to think the opposite.
 
Regarding my front yard garden, I enclose a photo copied from the Zillow street view, taken in 2018, that shows the garden was there at that time.  Where was the ACC three years ago?  Or two years ago?  Or last year?  I can only surmise that there wasn’t a perceived issue up till now.  It is unacceptable for the ACC to have such vagaries of viewpoint and to apply new standards retroactively .  I don’t believe that authority exists without a majority vote.
 
I remind you that after I pointed out the apparent irrelevance of Section 10 (b), you replied by bringing up the question of “curbside appeal”.  I’m so glad you did!  It’s irrelevant but let’s talk about that.  Almost everyday last year and again this year,  Timberline residents passing by when going into and out of the greenbelt, stop to complement my daughter on the beauty of it.  One neighbor has commented that we have the best looking yard on the street.  I know that the majority of the other neighbors on the street, possibly all, also approve.  So tell me how the term “noxious” can apply here.  Please do!
 
But why the concern about curbside appeal!  Wouldn’t it be an adverse effect on property values?  That would concern me!  But let’s look at the facts.  The property value most affected would be that of the house across the street.  But that house sold for $1.25M in competitive bidding just last year.  We know from those buyer’s that the curbside appeal of my house was no factor whatsoever.  Quite the opposite.  Likewise, the house on the corner sold for $1.3M in a bidding war, unaffected by the alleged lack of curbside appeal of my house.  My point is conclusive.
 
Now, about raised garden beds.  The desirability for gardens in yards is indisputable in today’s world.  Flowers for mental health…..vegetables for physical health, especially home grown.  Mother Nature has dictated that certain conditions must be met for success.  One of them is provision of adequate sunlight.  In some situations, such as mine, that comes the southern exposure of my front yard.  It’s there or nowhere, and “nowhere” is patently unreasonable and unfair.  Why raised beds?  Gee!  Obviously things can get better care and better protection from pests.  Simple!  Of course, if we end up removing the raised beds, they will be replaced by large pots.  These have been pervasive in the neighborhood for years, so are clearly not in violation……
 
What I strongly recommend is that those supporting the “noxious” point of view meet with me on the street in front of my house and we discuss it and we look around us.  If this issue is serious enough for this attention then I feel I am owed that.  Unless those involved don’t have the courage of their convictions.  Perhaps some of my neighbors can be present and weigh in.
 
Unless this is resolved soon I will be adding a section to the webpage that I pay for and maintain that addresses this situation.  I will include photos of my yard and my case in favor it.  I will include a copy of the CC&R’s.  I will include copies of all communications between us so far and in the future.  I will advertise the link to the website through word of mouth and notices on local electronic bulletin boards, and perhaps other means. I will suggest that those agreeing with me should contact Navigate, the TCC Board, and ACC members to express their opinion.  I request that you send me the names and email addresses of board and committee members for that purpose.  I don’t really expect you to respond but I want it on the record that I asked.
 
What should happen next is that the Timberline Board sends me a certificate of congratulations for beautification of the neighborhood, but I guess I won’t hold my breath.  If you really want to do something to preserve the northwest character of the neighborhood you should focus on forcing the removal of invasive English Ivy from front yards, as I have done, instead of raised gardens.
 
 
 
Regards,
 
Michael C. Hamilton

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On May 9th, 2021.  From me to Navigate Community Management:

 

Haley Graham,
 
Since the invitation to the subject meeting came from Navigate, I am replying to you regarding it.  I will not be participating in the meeting for two reasons.  One…my home computer is not set up for such a meeting and I do not propose using my time or money to prepare it for such.  Two….that meeting format is not acceptable to me for the sort of discussion I would prefer to have, i.e., face-to-face (I’ve been vaccinated).  I would not trust it to allow for a presentation of my viewpoint.
 
Perhaps the meeting is not very important, anyway, since the agenda was not published until after 5:00 on the last business day before the meeting.  But if it is, I ask that attendees be referred to my website for a discussion of the issues:  www.mikehamilton.biz .  I would think that by now the HOA is aware of this site.  I know that at least one ACC member is.  Also, in lieu of my participation, I suggest that the statement below of my thoughts on the front yard garden issue be read at the meeting.  This is taken from my website and reflects all I would have to say, at this point, if I were participating in the meeting.
 
By the way, since it may be germane to the meeting, I include a photo of the Zillow street view of my street from 2018, showing the raised gardens in place and the For Sale sign across the street.  (Sold in 2018).  That house, and the house directly across the street two years later, were easily sold in competitive bidding.  Any notion that the HOA is somehow protecting property values by the violation notice is patently ridiculous.  In fact, both of these neighbors are very supportive of the garden.
 
 
  1. The garden has been in place for at least three years.  I have the opinion of an attorney that, after that period without ACC complaint, the garden is "ipso facto" approved.  So, any complaint now is, in effect, an attempt to reverse approval already in place.  It is only reasonable to assume that the ACC members of past years exercised due dillegence.  We should not allow any current ACC to retroactively enforce their prejudices. 
  2. Simply put...the garden is not "unsightly" to most reasonable viewers.  The majority, if not all, of the neighbors on my street agree.  Many passersby agree.  Some say they have gone out of their way, walking or driving, to enjoy it.  Many have asked for advice on doing something similar.  I contend the HOA should not enforce viewpoints that do not reflect a majority of the neighborhood.  I propose an email vote, easily managed by Navigate Community Services.  They have the email list.  They write a one-page argument for enforcing the violation.  I write a one-page argument against.  Votes are sent to both Navigate and myself.  I agree to abide by the majority.
  3. The desirability for gardens in yards is indisputable in today’s world.  Front yard gardens are popular and encouraged in many areas of the NW.  Flowers for mental health…..vegetables for physical health.  Mother Nature has dictated that certain conditions must be met for success.  One of them is provision of adequate sunlight.  In some situations, such as mine, that comes the southern exposure of my front yard.  It’s there or nowhere, and “nowhere” is patently unreasonable and unfair.  Why raised beds?  Obviously things can get better care and better protection from pests.In our modern world, people working at home...many, such as my daughter, permanently.  COVID cases rising again.  The HOA should be encouraging residents to spend more time at home in outdoor activities, especially ones that enhance the appearance of the neighborhood.  This interference by the HOA with trivialities is unwelcome and inappropriate for the times we live in.
  4. Presumably, the underlying movtivation of the ACC is the protection of property values.  There is an indisputable example in support of my particular garden.  While it was in place as seen in the photos, the property across the street sold for around $1.25M in a couple of days in a bidding war.  The garden apparently had not the slightest negative impact on that property value.  In fact, the owners like the garden view and have expressed that to the TCC Board of Directors. There is an impact on property values regarding this issue.  I have heard from and about others also having problems with arbitrary, inappropriate enforcement attempts by the TCC Board and ACC.  If the neighborhood becomes known for an HOA that is attempting inappropriate enforcements, that will indeed negatively affect property values.             
  5. If there is not a reorientation of the current TCC HOA policies and views, the solution if to "vote the rascals out" at the next opportunity.  Think about it.........