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Ivy Falls home owners divided over revived association

Posted: May 31, 2014 - 11:04pm
Cynthia Sager, a resident of Ivy Falls Plantation, has filed a lawsuit protesting the collection of homeowner association fees.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Cynthia Sager, a resident of Ivy Falls Plantation, has filed a lawsuit protesting the collection of homeowner association fees.

A resurrected home owners association in Ivy Falls Plantation has some property owners protesting its efforts to enforce covenants and collect dues.

Cynthia Sager, who has lived in the Grovetown neighborhood since 2010, contends the board of the homeowners association doesn’t have the right to collect dues because the board voted to dissolve the association three years ago.

That, however, hasn’t stopped the revived association from sending out notices for annual fees and threatening to place liens on homeowners who don’t comply.

“The association was dissolved in October 2010,” said Sager, who was on the home owners board when the vote was taken. She said the new group has “no authority” to meet or enforce any rules because the association doesn’t legally exist.

She even placed a legal advertisement last month in the Columbia County News-Times giving notice of the association’s dissolution, albeit more than three years after the board vote.

Sager said it was merely the last step in the process of officially killing off the old association.

The homeowner’s association attorney, Wright McLeod, said the advertisement is too little, and too late.

He said there might have been a vote to dissolve the association, but the process isn’t that simple.

McLeod said the board stopped meeting and collecting fees, but the corporation still existed, waiting for interested homeowners to revive it and take over, which is what occurred a few months ago.

“They just walked away from enforcing the rules,” McLeod said of the previous board. “They don’t want to pay dues, and they don’t want anybody telling them to.”

According to a letter sent to Ivy Falls homeowners on March 31 from board President Don Wheless, dissolving the homeowners association would require several steps beyond a board vote, including unanimous approval of the homeowners, approval of the county officials and that of mortgages-holders.

In the meantime, Sager has filed a case in Columbia County Magistrate’s Court disputing the fee assessment of $100 and claiming the current board is illegitimate and has no legal standing to collect. She has been encouraging other homeowners to pay only under protest, with a demand of a refund when the case is settled.

“They are simply ramming this down people’s throats as fast as they can,” she said. “I hate bullies more than anything else.”

Wheless said he didn’t want to comment on the matter until the court case has been ruled upon. He did say the board has decided to hold off on placing any liens on properties until legal proceedings are finished. No hearing date has been set.

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