When the members of the Summit Park Homeowners Association proposed changes to the neighborhood's Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) several months ago, they faced fierce opposition from community members who feared they would give the HOA unchecked power.
The HOA has since gone back to the drawing board and written up a draft of the new CC&Rs, which Wildland Fire Coordinator Mike Quinones says are far less restrictive. This Thursday, a neighborhood meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building to gauge residents' opinions of the changes.
On Dec. 8 last year, many residents of Summit Park received anonymous flyers in their mailboxes criticizing the proposed CC&Rs and stating how they would affect residents. The gist of the document portrayed the HOA as being extremely restrictive and with the ability to foreclose on homes if dues are not paid.
Although Quinones said the flier was "exaggerated and inflammatory," he and the other members of the HOA decided to go back to the drawing board.
"We're taking the language out [of the CC&Rs] that appeared to be about enforcement and [was] punitive and have gotten away from the idea that things have to be approved by the HOA," Quinones said. "We've fallen back on county code and ordinances."
The main impetus for the HOA to make changes to its CC&Rs is that, late last year, Quinones discovered that Summit Park's HOA is responsible for maintaining their fuel breaks under the Snyderville Basin Development Code. Fuel breaks are crucial in preventing the spread of wildfires, and Summit Park, a Wildland Urban Interface Zone, is one of the most at-risk communities in the county for wildfire.
Currently, HOA membership dues in Summit Park are not mandatory, except for in two plats, and so the community would not have suitable funds to maintain its fuel break unless more revenue is brought in.
The new CC&Rs include a provision for an annual Fire Prevention and Subdivision Common Area Maintenance Fee, which would be $50 (the current HOA dues) and would not exceed $100 unless approved by a majority of residents.
Quinones said that, by taking on wildfire prevention, it will make Summit Park more self-reliant and less dependent on spending from the federal government to intervene.
"The more money we put into this and the more effort [we give], the less chance of a fire there is," Quinones said. "Then the insurance company doesn't have to get involved and the federal government doesn't have to [intervene]."
As well as going toward fuel break maintenance, fees collected will help to control weeds in Summit Park, maintain common areas and help create defensible space around residents' properties, Quinones said.
Another concern of many residents about the previous CC&R draft was what was perceived as a restrictive stance by the HOA toward residents' homes, with one homeowner expressing unease at the possibility that the HOA could control what color a person's home was painted.
Quinones stressed that the HOA's Architectural Committee will be advisory in nature in reviewing design standards. There will be, however, restrictions on future development. He added that he sees where many concerned residents are coming from.
"As HOA members, we don't want a document restricting us because we have to live under that as well," Quinones said. "There is a reasonable expectation for a community that lives in a [wildfire-risk area] to do their part."
Summit Park residents are encouraged to attend the CC&R meeting on Thursday, April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sheldon Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Boulevard. To view the draft CC&Rs, visit summitparkutah.net/blog.