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Norhill Addition Revised Deed Restrictions From WHCA


fwki

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The Woodland Heights Civic Association is circulating a petition for revised deed restrictions on the original Norhill Addition. Today (November 5) I received a copy for signature (or opt out) from Norhill neighbor Gabe T Vick. The cover letter is dated October 4, 2012. Gabe is on the WHCA board, and the WHCA has been pushing additional restrictions for some time now. They do not give a summary of changes, so I dug through it and found that these revisions set neighbor against neighbor for enforcement with no protection from the Radical Preservationists. Even a renter can take legal action against you and recover damages and legal costs for so-called "attempted violations" on your part. Of course you have to hold-harmless the WHCA if they set one of these crazies on you. The stated objective is to limit side line set-back from zero currently to three feet, however, if you reside in the original Norhill Addition, READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT because there are other relevant changes. In order to assist others, please post any changes to the existing restrictions that you identify when reading both the original and revision. I plan to vote no AND opt-out under Texas Property Code 201.009.

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Any time they ask for your approval, yet won't tell you what you are approving, it is a sure bet that it is against your best interests. This is just another example of the so-called preservationists wishing to torment their neighbors in the "neighborly" Heights. Remember that if they get a certain percentage (I belieive 75%), it applies to everyone, regardless of opt out. If you need any help getting the word out, let me know.

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Is the only new restriction a three foot sideline restriction?

My first read shows several changes the biggest of which is the new enforcement provision, completely unacceptable lawyer nirvana. Next up would be the new specifics on Home Occupations basically allowing "low profile commercial activities" inside the house....ebay profiteers rejoice! Basically I read this new provision as an attempt to redline blue-collar and artistic commercial activities. Before we had "residential only" but every lawyer was breaking that rule, so they could not go after my old neighbor who ran a successful tile business. Now he is singled out.

They added inoperable autos to the vehicle/vessel prohibition list, so no more shade tree mechanics working on a hobby car in their backyard. Fence height limits are new; I am already out of compliance on that one. No more construction vehicles, so I guess if you drive your electrician truck home with your Master's license number on the side you cannot park it in your drive way or in front. They also increased the set back on side streets from 15 to 20 feet.

That's all for now. The Enforcement provision is absolutely draconian and flies in the face of common sense and neighborly culture. I have no idea why they would introduce such a senseless, McCarthy-like provision. Maybe they hate the culture of our neighborhood and want to turn it into a suburban-like, competitive neighbor-against-neighbor environment.

Edited by fwki
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....If you need any help getting the word out, let me know.

I'm going to go visit this Vick fellow and get all the important details they "forgot" to include, like how to vote and time tables. This has all been very low-profile; I watch the WHCA site, so I am highly suspicious of a hidden agenda. I will PM you after that encounter.

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My first read shows several changes the biggest of which is the new enforcement provision, completely unacceptable lawyer nirvana. Next up would be the new specifics on Home Occupations basically allowing "low profile commercial activities" inside the house....ebay profiteers rejoice! Basically I read this new provision as an attempt to redline blue-collar and artistic commercial activities. Before we had "residential only" but every lawyer was breaking that rule, so they could not go after my old neighbor who ran a successful tile business. Now he is singled out.

They added inoperable autos to the vehicle/vessel prohibition list, so no more shade tree mechanics working on a hobby car in their backyard. Fence height limits are new; I am already out of compliance on that one. No more construction vehicles, so I guess if you drive your electrician truck home with your Master's license number on the side you cannot park it in your drive way or in front. They also increased the set back on side streets from 15 to 20 feet.

That's all for now. The Enforcement provision is absolutely draconian and flies in the face of common sense and neighborly culture. I have no idea why they would introduce such a senseless, McCarthy-like provision. Maybe they hate the culture of our neighborhood and want to turn it into a suburban-like, competitive neighbor-against-neighbor environment.

Interesting. I knew there was a big push on for setbacks, but did not know about the other issues. Any chance you could scan and post a copy?

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The cover letter is misleading (the proposed restrictions ARE NOT "largely uniform with other restrictions applicable to the Woodland Heights". This is a new bar being set, much higher given the Enforcement Provision. The dates in the cover letter all passed by the time I recieved this copy in the mail.

Looks like your fence is grandfathered. I am all for lot line restrictions. I am tired of the reatlor meme that the only way to value a home is by square footage. The race to cram as many square feet into a lot is largely driven by realtors and builders. No one looks at a house for sale and thinks "gee, if it only was three more feet wider on each side, it would be perfect."

But, a lot of the restrictions look to be targeted at accelerating gentrification rather than preserving the existing neighborhood. The folks with the work trucks and cars on blocks will not be in the neighborhood forever. A combination of the cruel work of the tax man and offers from investors that are too good to pass up will gentrify the neighborhood in due course. No reason to hall people into court to get that done. The folks putting cars on blocks were here when most everyone moved in.

Giving residents the standing to enforce the restrictions is generally a fairly dull sword, but necessary given that WHCA does not collect big enough fees to hire legal counsel to fight restriction fights.

Not my part of the Heights, but I am interested to see how this goes. The anti-zoning/anti-preservation folks have always claimed that deed restrictions were superior. Well, here you go.

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They are superior if the people want them. If they are snuck in without adequately informing people of their contents, they are as bad as city imposed restrictions against people's will. In this case, at least one person dug past the fluff cover letter and found the problem. How many will not?

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What I'm not sure about on this is how these replace the current restrictions which require a 75% vote to "amend". They are posting on WH bulletin board that since this is neighborhood resident driven (vs being WHCA driven) that it only requires a 51% majority to "replace" the current restrictions with completely new restrictions per state law. If this is true then what is the purpose of the 75% written into the previous restrictions.

If you push hard enough, they will send a list of changes that they put together because enough were asking. There are quite a few changes but most serve to modernize or clarify. I personally do not agree with the fence, the vehicles/boats limitations, or the architectural submittal requirements because of vagueness for when they would be enforced and when they wouldn't. Like you said earlier, it becomes a neighbor vs neighbor of someone else deciding what they like or not.

I also didn't like that they rushed this out and then wanted to go door to door with a notary to collect signatures over the weekend. They did this before some of us had even seen the full document and certainly before they came clean on that this was more than the 3ft building line (which I approve of). Still seems that they hoped to push this thru without most realizing.

I'm not planning on supporting this initiative.

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What I'm not sure about on this is how these replace the current restrictions which require a 75% vote to "amend". They are posting on WH bulletin board that since this is neighborhood resident driven (vs being WHCA driven) that it only requires a 51% majority to "replace" the current restrictions with completely new restrictions per state law. If this is true then what is the purpose of the 75% written into the previous restrictions.

If you push hard enough, they will send a list of changes that they put together because enough were asking. There are quite a few changes but most serve to modernize or clarify. I personally do not agree with the fence, the vehicles/boats limitations, or the architectural submittal requirements because of vagueness for when they would be enforced and when they wouldn't. Like you said earlier, it becomes a neighbor vs neighbor of someone else deciding what they like or not.

I also didn't like that they rushed this out and then wanted to go door to door with a notary to collect signatures over the weekend. They did this before some of us had even seen the full document and certainly before they came clean on that this was more than the 3ft building line (which I approve of). Still seems that they hoped to push this thru without most realizing.

I'm not planning on supporting this initiative.

That's how I feel. But add on top that ANY OCCUPANT can beat you over the head with these things, and I am full force against it. It's one thing for someone with equal standing and similar risk (another owner) to take action, but a renter? He's got little skin in the game and can play it risk-free and skate off whenever. And the fact that certain owners could set up renters as rats.....

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....The anti-zoning/anti-preservation folks have always claimed that deed restrictions were superior. Well, here you go.

I agree they are superior, just as they are now. And as they stand, they are superior to the revision until WHCA comes clean and then cleans it up. I have to wonder why WHCA allows use of their letter head and officer to spearhead this thing but will not use the web site to publicize and encourage discussion....what's the agenda here?

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They are superior if the people want them. If they are snuck in without adequately informing people of their contents, they are as bad as city imposed restrictions against people's will. In this case, at least one person dug past the fluff cover letter and found the problem. How many will not?

The cover letter says "we encourage you to to review the new restrictions [plural]" and encloses a complete copy of the new restrictions. How in the world would someone have to "dig" to find out anything when all they have to do is read the attached restrictions. Anyone who owns property and does not read proposed deed restrictions before signing the consent form deserves what they get.

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That's exactly what happened on the historic district petition. They got people to support it by pumping sunshine up people's asse, without telling them what it would really do. Even though I read it and opposed it, I am now subjected to its restrictions.

Don't try to feed that line to us. People like you are EXACTLY why this proposal should be fiercely defeated.

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The cover letter says "we encourage you to to review the new restrictions [plural]" and encloses a complete copy of the new restrictions. How in the world would someone have to "dig" to find out anything when all they have to do is read the attached restrictions. Anyone who owns property and does not read proposed deed restrictions before signing the consent form deserves what they get.

I had to dig through it. You must be a spring chicken, but I had to use a magniflying glass for the current version. The fact that the cover letter was grossly misleading required that you had to search carefully through the language....changing fifteen feet to twenty feet, inserting "occupants" in the list of enforcers, subtly changing the Lot Maintenance clause for no apparent reason.....except now we have to remove dead trees....what if its on the lot line?, subtle redlining of blue-collar occupants, changing "one residence per lot" to "single family" which is an entirely different prohibition....I could go on and on.

Just have to "read"?....more like read carefully performing a word-by-word comparison to a crappy, fuzzy, minute copy with a law book and google nearby. And their door-to-door was just that....."Oh you haven't read it yet? Let me read you the cover letter.....here, now sign." And yeah, to hell with old people, they deserve what they get, gypsy roofers and all. You will not be misleading people in this thread, save that for your ongoing Walmart comedy. Now go away.

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I had to dig through it. You must be a spring chicken, but I had to use a magniflying glass for the current version. The fact that the cover letter was grossly misleading required that you had to search carefully through the language....changing fifteen feet to twenty feet, inserting "occupants" in the list of enforcers, subtly changing the Lot Maintenance clause for no apparent reason.....except now we have to remove dead trees....what if its on the lot line?, subtle redlining of blue-collar occupants, changing "one residence per lot" to "single family" which is an entirely different prohibition....I could go on and on.

Just have to "read"?....more like read carefully performing a word-by-word comparison to a crappy, fuzzy, minute copy with a law book and google nearby. And their door-to-door was just that....."Oh you haven't read it yet? Let me read you the cover letter.....here, now sign." And yeah, to hell with old people, they deserve what they get, gypsy roofers and all. You will not be misleading people in this thread, save that for your ongoing Walmart comedy. Now go away.

Sorry, but if you are going to own real property, you are going to have to be able to read a few pages of 12 point font. Compared to the deed restrictions in the burbs, this is Reader's Digest stuff. It is not the job of the people that want the restrictions to sit down with every resident, read every restriction to them and compare the language with the old restrictions. People had no trouble sending out fliers claiming that the historic ordinance would allow the City the power to tell you where to put your AC unit without disclosing that this was nothing more than an assumption based on a flawed legal interpretation that if the ordinance doesn't say the City can't do something, the City must then be able to do it. People have every right to say what they want when advocating for something they want. WHCA decided that they want the restrictions. They are obviously going to advocate for the restrictions. Adults understand this and will actually have to take 25-30 minutes to read a few pages of documents. WHCA is not your attorney and is not charged with making sure that every resident does what any reasonable adult would and should do. They are a representative board. If you don't like how they do what they do, vote them out. But, to expect them to be your real estate nanny is obsurd. Anyone in Texas who relies on their HOA or community association's opinion about proposed deed restrictions in lieu of actually reading and understanding the restriction deserves what they get.

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So much for the neighborly Heights. What an a-hole! But, at least he is warning us that we better read their crap closely, else we get screwed.

Let this be your notice, Heights residents! Oppose EVERYTHING! Especially id it comes from the HOA, and even more so if s3mh has no problems with it.

Again, fwki, if you need help warning the neighbors, let me know. I am most concerned with them getting those percentages. They usually do not have deadlines, so if it takes them 4 years, as it did in my hood, it still counts.

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Interesting. Was it S3mh or Leonard (I get them mixed up) who got all bent out of shape when I said they should know the weight of their vehicle.

That is printed on the door jamb of their vehicle visible every time they get in.

Especially considering that is a life/death situation with the Bridge of Doom and all.....

Guess knowing how far your setback requirement is comes in more handy when you really just want make sure all your neighbors obey your vision of a perfect neighborhood.

Why they don't just move to Cinco Ranch where they can join the HA and rule their little pre-created fiefdom to their hearts content is beyond me.

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So much for the neighborly Heights. What an a-hole! But, at least he is warning us that we better read their crap closely, else we get screwed.

Let this be your notice, Heights residents! Oppose EVERYTHING! Especially id it comes from the HOA, and even more so if s3mh has no problems with it.

Again, fwki, if you need help warning the neighbors, let me know. I am most concerned with them getting those percentages. They usually do not have deadlines, so if it takes them 4 years, as it did in my hood, it still counts.

Always with the name calling. Par for your course.

I guess you are right. When people get a new deed restriction from their HOA or community association, they should just trust them to summarize all the details of the deed restrictions in the cover letter. If they actually have to read and understand what the restrictions are because the cover letter doesn't spell it out and the guy at the door doesn't sit them down and read it out loud to them, then the HOA is obviously trying to pull a fast one. Such dirty tricks cannot be tolerated. In fact, you should propose a deed restriction that requires any future restriction to be read out loud to every resident affected and bans any descriptive cover letters because these are clearly necessary. In fact, lets just throw out the common law rule that people are bound by what they sign and change that to people are only bound by what they sign if it can be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the document was read out loud to them and was not accompanied by a cover letter directing them to read the enclosed document. Such blantant trickery and deception must be stopped in its tracks.

End sarcasm.

Give me a break. I have seen tons of different deed restrictions from neighborhoods all over the city and the accompanying propaganda letter from the HOA. There is absolutely nothing nefarious about this. WHCA is being 100% transparent and has not misrepresented anything. If you do not like the restrictions, you have every right to ask the association to hold a meeting for a discussion with neighbors about the restrictions and changes. But the whole trickery and deceit thing is pure paranoia and completely without any basis in what is actually happening.

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Dang it, I go out for the evening and he snuck back into the thread. Well enough is enough, let it be known as of now S3mh has invisible ink and avatar, so I won't even know if he slinks into any thread anymore, problem solved.

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Dang it, I go out for the evening and he snuck back into the thread. Well enough is enough, let it be known as of now S3mh has invisible ink and avatar, so I won't even know if he slinks into any thread anymore, problem solved.

Ignorance is not bliss....if you don't know what your enemy is thinking you can never be prepared to counter their plans. Blocking people who oppose your viewpoints is a disservice to yourself.

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Give me a break. I have seen tons of different deed restrictions from neighborhoods all over the city and the accompanying propaganda letter from the HOA. There is absolutely nothing nefarious about this. WHCA is being 100% transparent and has not misrepresented anything. If you do not like the restrictions, you have every right to ask the association to hold a meeting for a discussion with neighbors about the restrictions and changes. But the whole trickery and deceit thing is pure paranoia and completely without any basis in what is actually happening.

It depends, if you recognize that the HOA purpose is to protect the home owners, ALL of them. It's in their best interests to ensure that everyone knows what the changes are.

Sure, the rules of the HOA are in place to help maintain property values for everyone, and to keep your neighbor from parking their car on their lawn, or keep the lawn tidy, but they shouldn't be hiding changes they are trying to make.

If they do hide changes and it ends up hurting individuals in the neighborhood this will actually hurt the property values (at least in the short/mid term).

They gain nothing from doing this, and actually might have a tougher time getting things to pass if people are afraid of the changes, even if they end up being a good thing, but because they made it hard to understand, people will assume the worst and vote against. When you need a very high percentage of people to pass something, it does best to ensure they understand every bit of what they're voting on.

If a HOA does otherwise, they aren't a good HOA.

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Not a problem, we only have so much time so I choose carefully. Back on topic, the new regs in and of themselves don't restrict any of my current plans and some I believe to be beneficial. However the provision putting renters on equal footing with owners is completely unacceptable, a show stopper and it only applies to Norhill. On indemnification for WHCA, I do not see why it is necessary, and why should Norhill owners indemnify WHCA when no other neighborhood does so?

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I have an email in to WHCA Deed Restrictions Committee but haven't received a response. Absent a response showing a willingness to engage soon, I will set plans in motion to obtain at least the minimum 25% of homeowners Disapproval of the Petition. I think that's achievable by simply pointing out the empowerment of renters and the indemnification clauses unique to Norhill, no need to get into the subtle redlining of minorities, which I personally find highly offensive.

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I received a nice response from Gabe over at WHCA deed team. As aggie92 said, this is Norhill-driven with assistance from WHCA. The proposed petition is open for discussion and change and only a small number of sig pages are executed to date. This draft was developed by the WHCA, along with a committee of Norhill residents, working with outside legal counsel to facilitate the process. He said they did have problems with timely distribution, and I am taking him at his word that this will be a Norhill group effort. Hopefully we get it right for the 388 Norhill owners first and foremost.

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I have an honest question about the reasons for the garage apartment prohibition (in the Norhill deed restrictions and others). Just my two cents, but a garage apartment seems like a good way to add much needed living space to a small bungalow without changing the look or character of the main house. No need for camelbacks or weird looking additions. Preservationists and Expansionists could both be happy (ok ok I know that will never happen).

Personally, a garage apartment would make my relatives' visits way more enjoyable. Further down the road,it could be the perfect close-but-not-too-close option for caring for my aging parents. If I lived in Norhill (which I don't), I think I'd be lobbying hard for the inclusion of garage apartments rather than continuing their ban.

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I Love my garage apartment! My relatives love my garage apartment as well...Also when handled appropriately by residents I see no problem with renting the apartments...I rented mine to my brother in law and his wife while their house was being remodeled, I rented mine to a friend of a friend while they were building a house, I rented mine to a good friend of mine when IKE split his house in half, and I rented mine to my in-laws while their house was being repaired as well...

Both of the repairs from IKE I was paid out of insurance proceeds and the other two were just low cost rent....My garage apartment has been a blessing...used frequently and loved by pretty much everyone who uses it...My other set of in-laws from out of town far prefer it to staying in our house as they like to sleep late and my kids get up before 5:30Am....

I understand rent restrictions b/c some will abuse it, but rent restrictions when you have good owners does kinda stink. My apartment has its own parking space on my property and everything else about it has had zero impact on my neighbors.

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I love garage apartments, I wish I had one. I know someone who has a garage apartment that is very open loft like space. They pretty much rent exclusively to artists and the rent is very affordable. They do this because they are art fans, and like to help out young strugging artists. (i think they charge $500 for rent in a space that would easily rent for up to $1000). These are the kinds of stories that really make the Heights interesting to me.

If it doesn't have a kitchen is it still considered an apartment, or is it just detached living space?

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If it doesn't have a kitchen is it still considered an apartment, or is it just detached living space?

No. When I got my new garage and "gameroom" permitted, the City wanted to charge a $1000 "impact fee", because I was adding an apartment in their eyes. No amount of argument that it would not be rented out did any good. Their position is that if it has a full kitchen and full bath it is an apartment. I solved the dilemma by not putting in a bathtub, even though the plumbing for one is in the walls. The City said that was OK, and I did not pay the impact fee.

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No. When I got my new garage and "gameroom" permitted, the City wanted to charge a $1000 "impact fee", because I was adding an apartment in their eyes.

WTF do they consider the impact to be? No shower, yet I can flush the crapper until the wax ring fails?

So I guess that if you were to rent it out and the tenants (or relatives) just showered at the downtown Y after working out no impact would occur? Weird.

Edited by TGM
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The construction of new garage apartments is prohibited under the existing deed restrictions. It looks like the new deed restrictions just try to put a definition to the term "garage apartment" (bath + kitchen + bedroom=garage apartment), but do nothing new otherwise. Under both old and new restrictions, garage apartments already in existence can be maintained indefinitely. If anything, the new definition might help people who want to build a "mother-in-law" garage apartment with just a room and bathroom without fear of violating the restriction.

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WTF do they consider the impact to be? No shower, yet I can flush the crapper until the wax ring fails?

So I guess that if you were to rent it out and the tenants (or relatives) just showered at the downtown Y after working out no impact would occur? Weird.

I should have gone into more detail. The "impact" is on water and sewer infrastructure from increased density due to an added "residence". The water department imposes the impact fee. Despite my claims that it will never be a revenue producing apartment (it won't be), the water department's position is that future homeowners could rent it out. I am not overly upset at the concept, even though Heights density has plummeted over the years. These homes used to be populated with 6-8 person families. Now, they are filled with singles and couples, with an occasional "family" of 1 or 2 children. The infrastructure's only enemy is age, not capacity.

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The construction of new garage apartments is prohibited under the existing deed restrictions. It looks like the new deed restrictions just try to put a definition to the term "garage apartment" (bath + kitchen + bedroom=garage apartment), but do nothing new otherwise. Under both old and new restrictions, garage apartments already in existence can be maintained indefinitely. If anything, the new definition might help people who want to build a "mother-in-law" garage apartment with just a room and bathroom without fear of violating the restriction.

The restriction on the rental of garage apartments is not enough? Why the need to define them? What if your mother-in-law wants a "(bath + kitchen + bedroom=garage apartment)". She is just SOL? My experience with HOA people is that they tend to be nit-picking micro managers.

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The restriction on the rental of garage apartments is not enough? Why the need to define them? What if your mother-in-law wants a "(bath + kitchen + bedroom=garage apartment)". She is just SOL? My experience with HOA people is that they tend to be nit-picking micro managers.

There is no restriction on the rental of existing garage apartments. The restriction that is already in place is for the construction of a new garage apartment. That restriction continues, but is now defined. Without a definition, the intepretation of what is and is not a garage apartment is left up to the nit-picking micro management of whomever is on the board of the civic ass'n or a neighbor entitled to enforce the restriction. They could claim a single room with electricity is a garage apartment and force you to go to court to fight over the definition. Far better for everyone to agree on a definition so everyone is on notice what is permitted and what is not than to make everyone guess and fight it out in court. But the question of whether to restrict the construction of new garage apartments has been decided decades ago in the existing deed restrictions. Anyone who bought into the restricted area was on notice that they could not build a new garage apartment. Anyone who wants to build a bath + kitchen + bedroom with their garage has been SOL in the Norhill Addition for a long time. The new restriction just draws a fairly good bright line as to what is SOL and what is permitted which is preferable to the alternative.

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Build a new garage "room" with the required electricity plumbing etc, and do the finish work of adding a bath and kitchen without permit. There is always a way around a bunch of nanny's running a nanny state. I'm so glad I live in a non-historic, no deed restriction part of the Heights!

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The question must be asked why there needs to be a restriction on new garage apartments in the first place. The Heights is full of them. This is an attempt by the HOA to change the existing character of the Norhill neighborhood, which is in direct contradiction of the stated goals of the preservationists. Those opposed to these new restrictions constantly point out the inconsistent stances of the preservationists, but the preservationists simply move the goalposts and start anew. It is no wonder that these people must be opposed at every turn. They have a perverted view of what is needed to preserve the neighborhood, and that perverted view must be quashed.

These newest restrictions will severely impact property values in Norhill, which is the unstated goal of the proponents. It was their original goal in supporting the historic districts, until that goal was met with staunch opposition. Now, they hide the goal, and make up new ones, virtually all of which are untrue. s3mh's posts give a good view of these inconsistent goals. His posts are often untrue, and at best, simply show his belief that his opinions are superior to those of the actual property owners.

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The question must be asked why there needs to be a restriction on new garage apartments in the first place. The Heights is full of them. This is an attempt by the HOA to change the existing character of the Norhill neighborhood, which is in direct contradiction of the stated goals of the preservationists. Those opposed to these new restrictions constantly point out the inconsistent stances of the preservationists, but the preservationists simply move the goalposts and start anew. It is no wonder that these people must be opposed at every turn. They have a perverted view of what is needed to preserve the neighborhood, and that perverted view must be quashed.

These newest restrictions will severely impact property values in Norhill, which is the unstated goal of the proponents. It was their original goal in supporting the historic districts, until that goal was met with staunch opposition. Now, they hide the goal, and make up new ones, virtually all of which are untrue. s3mh's posts give a good view of these inconsistent goals. His posts are often untrue, and at best, simply show his belief that his opinions are superior to those of the actual property owners.

It isn't new. In 1981, the following restriction was recorded: "There shall be constructed no new garage apartments after these deed restrictions are renewed; however, existing garage apartments may be remodeled." The 1981 restrictions are a renewal of the previous restrictions which were set to expire in 1981. Thus, the construction of a new garage apartment in the Norhill Addition has been prohibited for over 30 years. All the "new" restriction does is put a definition on the term "garage apartment" which was previously undefined. The definition is sufficiently restrictive (bed + bath + kitchen) that it could actually give people some piece of mind in putting in a finished room with a bathroom as part of a garage without running afoul of the deed restrictions. Thus, if anything, the "new" restriction is actually less restrictive because it is not subject to the subjective determination of what is and is not a "garage apartment" and gives residents latitude to put in finished living space without fear of a legal fight over the term "garage apartment".

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There is no restriction on the rental of existing garage apartments. The restriction that is already in place is for the construction of a new garage apartment. That restriction continues, but is now defined. Without a definition, the intepretation of what is and is not a garage apartment is left up to the nit-picking micro management of whomever is on the board of the civic ass'n or a neighbor entitled to enforce the restriction. They could claim a single room with electricity is a garage apartment and force you to go to court to fight over the definition. Far better for everyone to agree on a definition so everyone is on notice what is permitted and what is not than to make everyone guess and fight it out in court. But the question of whether to restrict the construction of new garage apartments has been decided decades ago in the existing deed restrictions. Anyone who bought into the restricted area was on notice that they could not build a new garage apartment. Anyone who wants to build a bath + kitchen + bedroom with their garage has been SOL in the Norhill Addition for a long time. The new restriction just draws a fairly good bright line as to what is SOL and what is permitted which is preferable to the alternative.

So in this instance you support and rally behind the clearing up of the ambiguity of the previous rule... why can't you understand that is what people wanted from the Historic Ordinance. I don't agree with what Nohill is doing, nor would I want to live there, but I do appreciate clearly knowing what is and isn't allowed. The ambiguity and what I feel intentional vagueness of the Ordinance is what so many people are against and why it will eventually be revoked. Norhill is a clear example of why the ordinance is NOT needed.

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So in this instance you support and rally behind the clearing up of the ambiguity of the previous rule... why can't you understand that is what people wanted from the Historic Ordinance. I don't agree with what Nohill is doing, nor would I want to live there, but I do appreciate clearly knowing what is and isn't allowed. The ambiguity and what I feel intentional vagueness of the Ordinance is what so many people are against and why it will eventually be revoked. Norhill is a clear example of why the ordinance is NOT needed.

Who said I was against making the restrictions in the historic ordinance better defined? I am all for clarity and predictability. I think there should be a set of pre-approved addition design guidelines that allow people to fast-track a project without having to wait for a HAHC meeting. But, with a historic preservation law, there will always have to be a subjective element left up to the discretion of the committee charged with enforcement of the ordinance. And given the diversity of historic architecture in the Heights, hard and fast standards can create more problems than they solve (one-size does not fit all).

And lets get real. The anti-ordinance people never cared about correcting ambiguity and vagueness in the historic ordinance. A number of clarifications and revisions requested by the anti-ordinance folks were adopted in the revised ordinance. But the response from the opponents wasn't "hey, wait. You forgot to fix ____." The response was "we have to repeal the ordinance because the Heights will turn into a slum if we don't." And time has shown that the fear of the land use restrictions was unfounded and overblown. Just in the same way many on this board are reacting to Norhill's very reasonable attempt to revise their deed restrictions.

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If there was some worry about renting out garage apartments, then the only language needed was "No garage apartment shall be rented". That allows property owners to build a garage apartment for guests, for parents who have to move in, or for any other reason. I would love to turn part of my garage into a guest bedroom, since our house doesn't lend itself to expansion. Under the Timbergrove restrictions, I can do just that.

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It isn't new. In 1981, the following restriction was recorded: "There shall be constructed no new garage apartments after these deed restrictions are renewed; however, existing garage apartments may be remodeled." The 1981 restrictions are a renewal of the previous restrictions which were set to expire in 1981. Thus, the construction of a new garage apartment in the Norhill Addition has been prohibited for over 30 years. All the "new" restriction does is put a definition on the term "garage apartment" which was previously undefined. The definition is sufficiently restrictive (bed + bath + kitchen) that it could actually give people some piece of mind in putting in a finished room with a bathroom as part of a garage without running afoul of the deed restrictions. Thus, if anything, the "new" restriction is actually less restrictive because it is not subject to the subjective determination of what is and is not a "garage apartment" and gives residents latitude to put in finished living space without fear of a legal fight over the term "garage apartment".

So back to my point. Why do we need a definition? You can't rent space above your garage. Period. Why are rules needed to define space that is not going to be rented?

Edited by west20th
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The restriction on the rental of garage apartments is not enough? Why the need to define them? What if your mother-in-law wants a "(bath + kitchen + bedroom=garage apartment)". She is just SOL? My experience with HOA people is that they tend to be nit-picking micro managers.

Apparently you can't keep the brown people out without also keeping the mothers-in-law out.

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  • The title was changed to Norhill Addition Revised Deed Restrictions From WHCA

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