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Sparks Fly Over Jasper Highlands Debate

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 11:37 am

LACIE SILVA – Editor

Emotions and frustrations ran high at the County Commissioner meeting on August 28, as people of the Jasper Highlands gated community and Dane Bradshaw spoke about legislation involving the transfer of control of the Property Owners Association (POA) to a Homeowners Association (HOA).

The proposal was submitted by Jeff Cobbs, a resident of Jasper Highlands for two years, and at the meeting he advocated for his community and other communities in similar situations to the board. Cobbs described the purpose of the HOA and why he believes that the legislation to regulate the change in control is necessary.

An HOA is a private association-like entity in which members are elected by the community to serve as a board. Cobbs states that an HOA is a government. Although HOAs often perform maintenance, security, and code enforcement functions on the part of a local government, an HOA is not a municipality. In a similar fashion, the developers maintain current control over the housing developments except that they are not elected by the community.

Cobbs further expressed his concerns regarding developers potentially choosing to retain control of the housing development indefinitely. “That’s what you call a dictatorial form of government. That’s a dictatorship.” he stated. Cobbs continued by citing the “Restatement of Property 6.19.2,” he states, “After a time that is reasonably necessary to protect his interests and complete his work in a project, the developer must turn over control of the HOA. That is the law.”

Cobbs also referenced the guidelines used were from the Uniform Common Interest Association Act. The correct name is the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) and is a comprehensive legislative framework that regulates the establishment, administration, and dissolution of common interest communities. These communities encompass various types, including condominiums, planned communities, and real estate cooperatives. This act does outline regulations that state developer’s authority ceases upon the sale of 75% of the maximum allowable units by the declarant or at the conclusion of a two-year period with no development progress.

The legislation is not absolute and regulations vary by state, of which Cobbs stated that this 75% rule is the general one followed.

Cobbs further discussed generalities of monopolies and several hypotheticals including the inheritance of a development on the part of the developer’s child. He claimed that one developer has maintained control over a set property housing development for over 30 years without turning over control to the homeowners, though he did not specify the developer nor the development. Furthermore he stated that if the owner of a developer company were to pass away his/her children would inherit the business and continue maintaining power and control of the housing development.

He also claimed that numerous case laws show that homeowners have regularly sued the developers of their housing developments to gain control of the HOA as the developers are unwilling and refuse to relinquish control. At times the homeowners are having to sue the children of the deceased developer as the requests to the developer and subsequent legal cases are drawn out for many years, according to Cobbs. No specific examples or cases were referenced.

Cobbs, speaking to the crowd, asked as a concept, “isn’t this stupid?” He reiterated the hypothetical in which developers perpetually maintain control by referring to developers purchasing land, fueling money into building homes and the land, selling the homes but maintaining control well after all the properties have been sold. These rules and regulations of the housing development would be decided upon by the developers who also require a fee that is associated with the property belonging to the housing development.

In describing the lawsuits between community members and developers, Cobbs went on to explain that the cases are continuously drawn out. He stated that developers would wait until just before the court date to request a six month extension over and over again. Each time receiving a favorable decision by the judge to continue drawing out the process of turning power over to the homeowners.

Cobbs in his final statement requested the commissioner board to pass a resolution in support of the amendment to “Title 66 Chapter 27 Multiple Ownership Property Part 7 Homeowners Association adding a new section regulating the Developer Control Period.” Complete information and specifics concerning Cobb’s proposed amendment can be found within his formal submission to the County Commissioner Board.

In the upcoming week, the statements made on behalf of Dane Bradshaw, who serves as the President of Jasper Highlands and represents the developer enterprises, as well as holding the role of President of Jasper POA will be presented. The subsequent week will feature an exploration of concerns, statements, and narratives voiced by community members during the public comments section concerning the Jasper Highlands gated community.