The Architecture Committee (AC) has been handling a number of requests for changes to fence lines in Grand Oaks, and we take each request on a case-by-case basis. While we appreciate owners wanting to maximize fenced yard space, we balance that with issues around neighbor sight-lines, security, and setting precedent. Moving a side fence forward, especially on those lots that are very narrow and/or on a curve, can dramatically alter the space and proportion of the view from a neighbor's living or dining room. We have turned down requests on multiple occasions where the new fence would be very close to a neighbor's window. We have also had Austin Police Department (APD) representatives tell us that flat fence lines between homes provide less ease (corners are easier) for bad guys climbing fences, and create less shadows where people might hide.
There are a number of requests coming in for screening for trash cans on sides of homes. Please know that we prefer the smaller options (just masking the cans) to any larger plan that might create a place to stash too many things that might be better in a yard or garage. Also, we prefer the screens to match house siding. Finally, as with fences, we are disinclined to approve anything that is right outside a neighbor's window. It might be worth considering which side of your home is on the "garage side" of your neighbor when considering your placement options.
On the paint topic – we are having a growing number of requests for shades of gray/charcoal in the community. Please know that requests for the identical color of a neighbor's home are unlikely to be approved. And yes, we are still trying to keep the original community colors predominant in the look of the neighborhood.
FINALLY, and most important of all, if you request AC approval after or during a change you may be paying to re-do paint or landscaping. This has happened, and continues to happen. We do not approve things because they are done, and we hate to tell owners they must incur more expense because they jumped the gun. This past month we had an owner that had to paint part of a home three times because of a failure to wait for approval. And when it comes to paint, you must tell us WHAT PAINT GOES WHERE. We get apps that say "repainting, colors attached" but they do not say where each color is to be applied. We don't guess, and you will be asked to resubmit (as many times as it takes) to get it right.
Another Board meeting has wrapped up and there are a couple of things I want to share.
One of our fellow homeowners has been busy preparing for a cleanup event. Be on the lookout for an announcement soon with details.
Our landscaping company, Greater Texas Landscapes (GTL), is in charge of emptying the four poop bag receptacles around the trail and failed to do this for a few weeks. CAM, our association management company, has been working with the account representative and the issue has been resolved. We're asking our GTL account representative to attend our next Board meeting, and subsequently every other meeting, so that we can build a better relationship and ensure open lines of communications to address issues in the future. If anyone has any problems, requests, or comments regarding landscaping there are a dew of channels for this. One, you can attend the regular board meetings. Two, you can contact the Board under the About menu. And lastly, we can always use volunteers on our committees, including the Maintenance Committee.
The second item for maintenance is the removal of the fallen tree along Sweet Clover Dr and the dead agave at the intersection of Sweet Clover Dr and Winterstein Dr.
For some time now irrigation has been a hot topic. Our irrigation system is in a varied state of disrepair. Over the course of 2016 we made some major repairs to critical areas. With watering season upon us we'll be working with GTL to identify the necessary repair spots as well as looking at alternatives, such as bringing in watering trucks. It is critical that we provide the requisite amount of water for new plantings so that's where our initial focus will be.
Back at our annual meeting a homeowner had brought up the idea of a bee hive in the neighborhood. While the idea of helping the bee population is a worthy one, the HOA lawyers and insurance have strongly advised against it due to the liability involved. As such, we will not be pursuing the bee hive any further.
A landscaper has been selected and will be planting very soon (possibly tomorrow). The areas that will receive plantings are Campfield Pkwy & Empress Blvd; Keepsake Dr & Empress Blvd, Winterstein Dr & Sweet Clover Dr; and Keepsake Dr & Dulcet Dr. All of these areas will be planted with some Wedelia trilobata. The Keepsake/Dulcet circle (including entrance) will also get some Asian jasmine, Cottoneaster Glaucophyllus, santolinia, and knockout roses.