We’ve written several times about the Mayfield Estates homeowners who foolishly bought or built in a neighborhood without storm sewers and now are outraged that the City won’t flood-proof their neighborhood for them.
We’ve called them “freeloaders” for demanding that all City taxpayers bail them out, literally and figuratively, because that neighborhood’s homeowners didn’t want to spend the money to install sewers back when it was annexed to Park Ridge 50 years ago – or ever since. And from what we have read and heard, the folks running City government at the time of annexation were too stupid (or corrupt?) to require that the sewers be built as a condition to annexation.
So far City government wisely has told them “no,” unless they are willing to vote for a cost-sharing Special Service Area (“SSA”) or let all City voters weigh in via a referendum. And, so far, those Mayfield Estates folks are adamantly opposed to either option.
That’s their choice. Perhaps they’re hoping for a change in the Council next April and the election of more aldermen willing to act irresponsibly with other people’s money (a/k/a, “OPM”).
But now we’ve got a new group of residents knocking on the door and City Hall looking for OPM to subsidize the unpleasant consequences of another collection of deals the City did with developers of multi-family enclaves like Boardwalk (circa 1972), Bristol Court (circa 1967), Park Lane (circa 1972) and Park Ridge Pointe (1996), which we will collectively refer to as the “Associations.”
DISCLAIMER: The editor of this blog lives in Bristol Court.
Back when these planned-development enclaves were built the developers cut deals with the City to avoid having to comply with then-existing building code requirements. They kept all of the property in these developments “private,” and agreed to provide many customary City services through assessments of their homeowners. The deal the developers cut, however, didn’t involve property tax abatements to reflect the lack of certain City services.
Now the Associations want to change those deals, claiming they should get full City services for the full City taxes they pay.
Weren’t those the special deals the developers of these Associations cut with the City just so their enclaves could be built? Didn’t those deals allow the developers to benefit from below-City standard infrastructure, thereby lowering the prices of those residences? If so, the residents now beefing about the situation have nothing to complain about because those special deals might be the only reason they are living where they are living.
The 08.19.14 Memorandum from City Attorneys Buzz Hill and Kathie Henn sets out what seem to be pretty compelling legal arguments for why the Associations are barking up the wrong tree.
According to recent articles in both local newspapers, however, that didn’t stop Lee Tate, president of Park Ridge Pointe, from criticizing what he viewed as a “cavalier” attitude by City officials toward the Associations’ plight. He also claims he can’t understand why Association homeowners have to pay City taxes and Association assessments just because the developer got a special deal.
Gee, Mr. Tate, maybe you should ask Park Ridge Pointe’s developer, or whomever you purchased your unit from. But if you didn’t know what you were buying into when you acquired your unit, then shame on you and/or your real estate attorney for being stupid or negligent. And shame on you and your fellow Association homeowners for now expecting the City to bail you out of the deal you should have known about because – as is pointed out in the City Attorney Memorandum – that deal is reflected in both a City ordinance (No. 95-52) and Park Ridge Pointe’s Declaration.
If these Associations or their individual residents believe they have legal rights to the City services they haven’t been getting, however, then they should dig in their own pockets and hire a good lawyer to make their case to the City. They should even sue the City if they have a valid claim that the City won’t honor. But we haven’t heard or seen anything to date that would suggest these Associations or their members have any greater legal rights to the subsidy they’re looking for than do the Mayfield Estates folks for storm sewers that they or their predecessor homeowners should have paid for decades ago.
Which is why these Associations are whining and badgering the Council into giving them handouts they don’t deserve.
That’s the freeloader way.
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