Memorial Day is upon us. As we remember the more than 1million men and women who gave their lives in service of our country, many of us will partake in many traditions. We’ll fly the American flag; enjoy good company; bar-b-que; swim and listen to great music, among other traditions. But if you live in a Community Association you may want to check your governing documents for the rules & restrictions regarding how high your flag pole may be or if there are limitations on the dimensions of the flag you will display. Are you permitted to bar-b-que on your porch or patio? What about guest parking or how loud or late you can play your music?
In consideration of these questions I took to my own Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions (the governing documents of my HOA) to double check on the rules regarding the aforementioned. Interestingly, I found no language in the documents about flying a flag, bar-b-ques or playing music. There is however, very broad language regarding “noxious or offensive activity which may be or may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.” I was surprised to read that vehicles, including service vehicles, “are not permitted to park on the street” in light of the fact that both personal and service vehicles are almost always parked on the street at any time during the day or night.
Additionally, the documents restrict trucks as they are not permitted to be parked in driveways. This restriction in an era where so many people drive SUV’s as personal vehicles? Clearly outdated. I also learned that I cannot have or raise livestock on my property. I was disappointed to read this because I was recently on a friends’ farm and enjoyed retrieving farm fresh eggs from the chicken coop each day. Following that visit I seriously considered acquiring my own chickens. Now I know this is not permissible, which is so disappointing because nothing tastes better than anything fresh from the farm.
The governing documents of my HOA have not been updated or amended since first filed in April, 1986. Yes, you read that correctly, 1986! That being said, when I brought this to the attention of the Board I asked about revitalizing and updating the governing documents. The HOA proceeded to revitalize the documents but the Board is still working on making the updates. Perhaps this is my opportunity to request an amendment to the livestock restriction!
Nonetheless, my neighbors will be enjoying Memorial Day as we have done for many years. We’ll enjoy the company of family and friends, bar-b-que, swimming in the pool and listening to great music. As we enjoy a great day we will keep in mind the (loose) rules of the Association and hope no one complains.