Mr. Neighbor and our young neighbor lady wasted no time yesterday getting started on this. Mr. went into the county to show the county attorney our covenants and get his advice, while young neighbor got a hold of someone from the state DOT to find out if and how someone could add another access to our private road off the state road. Both got their info about the same time, so early afternoon we all met over at Mr and Mrs. Neighbors table and shared information. While Mr. was waiting for the county attorney to get out of a meeting he went over to the land planner guy (it's all in same building, small town, LOL) and asked him what he thought. He said he thinks we need to form an HOA. Mr. texted me this info and I did a quick google search on what is involved, because none of us have ever lived in an HOA before. What a pain in the butt. Eventually we will need to probably do this, and definitely if the guy tries to fight us, but I said to Mr. why can't we just write a letter ourselves, signed by all of us, telling him he would be violating the written (and count approved/recorded) covenants with his proposed build and land use.
At the same time Mr. was texting me he got good advice, young neighbor was texting me she heard back from the state DOT guy. We decided to all meet at Mr&Mrs shortly after. The county attorney said to do the same thing I suggested. Write a nicely worded letter to the couple. along with a copy of the covenants and we all sign it and someone hand deliver it. The state DOT guy said in order to add a new access from the state hwy the guy would need to apply first and from the sounds of it it wouldn't likely get approved, but he would need that approved first. He just can't add it. She asked what if the guy just decides to put it in himself anyway? He would be fined.
Mr. agreed to write the letter (he writes part time as a profession, so he seemed the logical choice) and sent it to us to review and it was great. They printed off copies and we went over after dinner and added our signatures. I called the out of state guy who owns lot 6 and it has worked out perfect. They are actually over here visiting his wife's father, they came over to Mr&Mrs house at 10 this morning to sign. We went over there, as I wanted to meet them (only dh had met them before) and we also got our signed copy to keep.
Mrs offered to go try to deliver the letter to them, in person, at their house in town and also drop the copies off at each county department. Very good of her to take that on. I sure didn't want to go knock on their door and hand it to them, but she hopped in her car and off she went. She emailed after she got back that they were not there at that house, so she went to the post office and got it done certified mail. They have a PO Box at the post office, so the lady who runs out post office said she would put it right in their box. Mrs said they are also contacting the local state DOT office to let them know the owners in our subdivision do not approve of a new access road being added, if he tries to do that. So now we wait and see what their reaction will be once they get the certified letter.
A couple of other things that aren't directly related to covenants,
but in all of us talking to each other, are kind of giving us an idea of what this guy is really like, and
that he's probably not going to react well to any of this. Mr. said the guy
called him last week....wanted to know if he knew who he would contact
to bid on a county road construction job....why he would call him to ask that?
weird (he doesn't work in that field at all). But we all came to the conclusion we think he did it to see if
Mr. would say anything about him not being able to run a business from
this property....we think he was trying to feel Mr out or see if it was just dh who brings up the covenants to him that say you can't.
When we were all at Mr&Mrs little get
together back in early June, there was a comment the guy made that rubbed dh
wrong. He was talking about their out of state house (which is where
they live 90% of the time the past 11 years) and one of their neighbors. I
didn't catch the whole story, but something about the neighbor guy (who he didn't like because he had a Biden sign in his window) was
complaining about him, so later, he grabbed a shovel full of dusty dirt
(because that's all their "yard" is) and threw it over onto the guys
house/yard or something like that. He was all proud of it, but you could
tell his wife was embarrassed. Then during this conversation last Monday dh
had with him and his wife out at their truck, the guy kind of let slip
that he had problems with the HOA there....well, no kidding (was dh's
thought)- you live in a really nice HOA neighborhood of 1 to 1 1/2 acre
lots of really nice homes that overlook a lake and your place
looks so ugly! Everyone else has nice paved driveways and nice landscaping
and their place is gravel driveway and just a huge gravel parking area
in front, on both sides, and the back is also gravel and then just sagebrush past that. Not to
mention 2 big pieces of earth moving equipment and a trailer parked there, as well as a 500 gallon fuel tank (for his equipment). In addition, based on this conversation with them last week it sure sounded like they have no intention of paving their driveway (not required to) and no intention of landscaping. The wife says "what's wrong with just leaving it all natural?" Dh just kind of shrugged and looked over at their overgrown lots and said "I guess so, but you are responsible (I think it's a state or county law) to take care of the noxious weeds (knapweed and mullein are the 2 main ones) that are mixed in it all, so it seems easier to just have some landscaping....
The other thing we just found out from Mr., that happened at their little party in early June, was they had also invited a couple (let's call the guy M) that lives about a mile from us. They pulled in the driveway at the same time as these new property owners. They did not know each other at all. The new guy drives a nice big fancy white pickup. M says "nice truck, I have one just like it". The guy says "No..you don't". M says ya, I do, even the same color. The guy says "well, it's not like this one". M says ya, it is. Same edition and year. The guy still has to tell him "well, it's not like my truck!". What in the heck? So, M is a pretty quiet and reserved guy, but at this party he was even more quiet than usual and I was kind of wondering what was up. Well, now we know it was because he wasn't much liking our new neighbor who bought lots 4 and 5.
I ended up emailing the zillow link to Mr&Mrs and young neighbor, of the couple's main house (out of state) that has been for sale since last October. When we talked with Mr at the fence on Sunday we mentioned it. Said while the house itself is a very nice house, the rest of his acre and a half is not at all - after living there now for 11 years. Yesterday Mr asked me to send him the link and then I also sent it to young neighbor lady. Her reply back to me was "that's some beautiful landscaping there on that place". Later, when we were all at Mr's house, she had sent her dh (who was at work) the link to their house and he happened to text her back while we were sitting there. His comment was "geez, even their tiny patch of lawn looks like crap". So, they were as "impressed" as we were. I reiterated that this couple have lived in that house/HOA neighborhood for 11 years and zero landscaping. The guy literally just graveled almost the whole acre and a half. Then you look at all the other homes around them. Nice beautiful (expensive, they started out asking $750k for theirs) homes with beautiful landscaping. I'm guessing that is why they are having such a hard time selling it, in what was still a very hot market almost a year ago when they listed it.
Today, with Mr&Mrs and the lot #6 owners, we also talked about what our next step will have to be, if the couple tries to fight this/proceed with their building plans. Mr. knows of a really good attorney in our county that does well with litigation type things. He is going to call him, just to kind of "reserve" (or put him on retainer is probably the better terminology) him if we may end up needing him. He thought this was a good idea to do now, so that if the couple decides to get an attorney, they don't get him. Mr. said we want him on our side, not the other guys.