Peace requires responsibility

I read with interest Lisa Provence's article on the problems facing Dogwood Valley in Greene County ["Slap happy: Lawsuits bloom in Dogwood Valley," October 27, 2005].

The world seems to be a much more complicated and litigious place than it was when I moved here in 1988, and many older subdivisions find themselves rife with contention and without the financial resources to maintain their decaying infrastructures. This is compounded when lot owners neglect to pay fees of many years standing– a situation like the one that eventually led to the auction of some Dogwood Valley lots.

I don't think that government taxing authorities would hesitate to take the same course. The Property Owners Association Act was written in part to give older subdivisions the ability to raise funds to meet their ever-increasing expenses.

As I understand it, in the Winkleman case mentioned in the article, the Supreme Court ruled that DVCA did not fall under the POAA because certain documents were not on file with the Greene County land records. Taking the Supreme Court's advice, that situation was remedied– but perhaps it will take another court case to say for sure.

The Board is charged with enforcing the governing documents of the Association, and the courts are the proper forum for disagreement– not unsubstantiated charges in newspapers and letters or TV news. Most of the lawsuits mentioned in the article are being brought against the Association, and without the donated legal fees, DVCA would be unable to defend itself.

Everyone I know would like to live peacefully and enjoy our beautiful surroundings. But this requires responsible citizenship– not unpaid fees, junked cars, or disputing gates to which every Dogwood Valley land owner can get the combination.

Judy Coughlin