Thursday, December 22, 2016

Recent posting on our sister blog - The Crossings at Willow Creek

As part of the work I’m involved with to effect HOA legislative change in Arizona, one of our team members is blessed with some amazing insights into the Pontius Pilate attitudes of local government who benefited greatly by tax burden shifting when HOA’s were created. The believe they have no responsibility at all.
To some extent that’s true because municipalities under the City Council/Town Manager system, which bifurcates policy and operational decisions, benefit from sovereign immunity when acting in a public body with respect to policy decisions.
The recent Riley vs The City of Prescott case, even though sadly lost, reaffirmed there was no sovereign immunity for the Mayor. The City’s appeal was dumb because that ended up being reaffirmed in the 9th Circuit of Appeals, down one only from the US Supreme Court.
The lesson - when elected officials usurp the role of the City Manager by meddling, in smoke filled rooms or not, then there is liability for operational decisions. This should not happen if elected officials felt comfortable delegating day to day stuff to staff. But there is little trust and doing a “good ole boy” a zoning favor becomes highly tempting – but dangerous.
In the case of the Crossings, backroom dealings changed a plat approved in City Council with no road going through it. That’s because when the plat was recorded, a deal had been done with the developer to reroute a major highway from his adjacent business subdivision through his, and eventually our, residential one – without going back to Council for approval publicly.  Their logic - ordinary folk don’t count, and if they object, retribution will follow.

So as the Crossings unfolds, we may have a lesson in teaching a City who needs something red hot stuck up its rear end a lesson which has been a long time coming. As the Crossings HOA now is in legal name only, instead of us being the lone holdout of 79 lots, we are now 1 of 1 with the power to enforce via a derivative suit to force compliance with easements carrying all the City’s water.  

Happy Holidays