Edgemere on the Parkway 1

Just last month we reported on a lawsuit involving Preston Tower and now it’s been uncovered that another Pink Wall condominium is reeling from at least three lawsuits filed by recent buyers against their HOA, the prior owners, and managing agent Intercity Investments (also named in the Preston Tower suit and a third that was settled out of court also in Pink Wall turf).  Edgemere on the Parkway is located at the corner of Northwest Highway and Edgemere Road. It comprises two 10-unit buildings at 8505 and 8511 Edgemere that were built in 2004, making it 13 years old.

All three plaintiffs (Bartlett Family Trust, Lawrence and Brenda Weprin, and Syann Singleton) make essentially the same claims.  Each purchased their units in 2014-2015 and almost immediately began experiencing frequent ceiling and window leaks that stained walls and ceilings.  In addition, raw sewage was backing up into at least one of the second flood units.

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Park Towers Small 2

Park Towers is one of Dallas’ original high-rises built in 1964 and located at Fairmount and the Katy Trail. It’s been no secret that I like their floor plans but hate the exterior of mismatched enclosed balcony “sheds” (that have finally been painted a uniform color). When I was looking to buy in 2012, I kept hoping the right unit would pop on the market. Today I can say, “thank God it didn’t.”

Word comes to CandysDirt.com from residents and Realtors that last Thursday, after barely finishing $3.7 million in special assessments (about $40,000 per unit) to take care of long, long, looooooong neglected infrastructure, that Park Towers now just raised their HOA dues a staggering 38 percent.

The HOA meeting was standing room only as the board approved the increase to cover a $247,000 shortfall from the $3.7 million spent on capital improvements. Many residents made the case for another special assessment to cover the shortfall and a more modest increase to the monthly dues. They were cheered by others in the meeting but the board wouldn’t budge. With resident monthly dues going up $500-ish a month, it’s not hard to understand their wrath.

This episode is yet another example of poor communication between residents and their HOA boards and management companies.  Residents were reportedly unaware of the impending increase. They were just told the budget would be discussed at the meeting and encouraged residents to attend.

As one resident put it, “Shazam!” The increase just materialized without warning. And let’s face it: the last thing a resident expects to hear after a $3.7 million special assessment is that the “party” is just getting started.

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3308 Throckmorton Front

There’s a lot to love about townhomes, especially when they’re in a prime location like Cedar Springs. You get your own garage space, perfect for storing your car and bike and maybe even a scooter, as well as plenty of outdoor living areas. But there’s a sticking point for me that has long been a turnoff to townhomes and condos: homeowners associations.

After reading Jon Anderson’s many columns on the issues, I’ve decided that HOAs just aren’t for me. Unfortunately, that means most townhomes and condos are also not for me. However, there is one great property that is in a fantastic location — right near Cedar Springs and Douglas Avenue — that is completely HOA free and ready for your personal touches!

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Houston Chronicle

Update March 8, 2012: That is indeed our Jeff Crilley, who responded to my query. Jeff is helping the Estates of Legends Ranch HOA smooth over this ruffle — and what a ruffle it was! But they have a very good man helping them make nice.

Well, we know Texas HOA’s are pretty strict, but this story might make you spring for joy. Down in Spring, Texas, near Houston, Nick and Jeni Dreis brought home a 6-month-old red kangaroo as a vocational training animal for their 16-year-old daughter Kala, who has Downs syndrome. Kala named the kangaroo Mike, who the Dreises were grooming to assist disabled persons in a future organic park and wildlife preserve near Conroe , according to ABC News reported.

But then, their local homeowners association refused to allow Mike in the subdivision.

The Dreis family received a letter from the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association last February 20, demanding that they “immediately remove the kangaroo from the property, as it is not a household pet, nor can it be maintained for any business purposes.” That HOA meant business: the Dreises were instructed to “correct the violation immediately.”

This is where we love the power of the press: when the situation was made public, the Dreises were bombarded with support for the family from across the globe. And so on March 1, the HOA reversed its position.

“The letter should never have been sent,” Jeff Crilley — is this OUR Jeff Crilley? — of the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association told The Houston Chronicle — click here to see some heartwarming photos of the joey, little Mike. “They [HOA officials] were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes.”

So Texas HOAs do have a heart after all. Not so in some other states.

AOL Real estate reports that the Veloudis family in Lexington, Ky., who built a medically-mandated playhouse for their 3-year-old son Cooper, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was similarly prohibited by their HOA for having something unusual that helped their child..

The Veloudis’ HOA demanded the playhouse be “removed” immediately. Despite support from the press and wider community, their HOA continues to stand by their decision that the playhouse “violates deed restrictions” and must be removed. The family apparent can hang onto the playhouse “temporarily”.

Down in Spring, the Dreis family, a bit miffed at the extremes they had to go to, plan to keep Mike for about a year before moving him to a wildlife park. The case raises an interesting point: where do you draw the line on animals?

According to The Chronicle, eighteen states and the District of Columbia ban all exotic animals. Texas is one of only 12 states that allow them, subject to some permitting requirements. And the rules vary across the state: Harris County allows it. According to BornFree USA, it is unlawful to possess or harbor a prohibited animal within Dallas city limits. Prohibited animals include poisonous reptiles, ostriches, rheas, all non-domesticated cats, wolves, bears, all primates, and deer, bison, camels, and antelope. The Public Health and Environmental Services agency regulates animals the Commissioners Court has deemed dangerous and in need of control, such as cougars, tigers, elephants and coyotes.

Not kangaroos.

And the Humane Society of the United States wants to get tougher, says Nicole Paquette, the society’s senior state director in Texas. Citing our lax laws on private ownership of exotic animals, Paquette says Texas requires registration of 19 species of animals.

That does not include Kangaroos. So what do you think? Would you want a Kangaroo — or a wild tiger — as a next-door neighbor?