LEAGUE CITY

The Lakefront Preserve Homeowners Association board in League City has gone rogue, residents said.

About 20 residents living in the 60-home neighborhood are accusing the board of not following the association bylaws, making rash decisions, such as cutting down trees without a vote, and not handling money the right way.

Rob Draeger, the board’s president, and Roy Anderson, treasurer and secretary, did not return phone calls or emails for this story. The Daily News reached out to both men in April and again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“People were extremely upset because they were not given a choice or a vote, and two men just decided to cut down three huge, irreplaceable oaks,” resident Kim Osborne said. “People were also upset because two men that did not provide financials have sole access to all of the HOA’s money.”

Cutting down oak trees at the entrance into the neighborhood off Davis Road was just one rash act that residents didn’t expect and didn’t appreciate, she said.

“The same group cut down trees on someone’s private property,” said resident Cecelia Faske. “They’re just winging it.”

But other strange things have happened, residents said. The board held meetings in the street, held elections that didn’t go by the bylaws and threatened some neighbors, they said. Not everyone wanted to go on record or have their photos taken out of fear of retaliation, they said.

“There’s been a lack of transparency,” said Preston Phillips, a former HOA board member who has lived in Lakefront Preserve since 2000.

Sometime last year, the board ended an agreement with its property management company, and residents knew nothing about the decision or the reasons, Phillips said.

“There needs to be a layer between homeowners and the board so there’s a neutral party,” Phillips said. “We don’t need neighbors trying to enforce deed restrictions.”

Phillips was leaving for work one morning in April when he saw lawn service crews cutting down trees, he said.

After crews had cut the trees down, the board sent out a letter to neighbors about surveys done to validate taking down the trees, but the surveys never happened, residents said.

The trees caused damage to the curbs and to a wall, the letter stated.

League City code enforcement officers and city arborist Heather McKnight visited Lakefront Preserve on April 9 in response to residents’ concerns that trees were removed without a permit. The city staff determined cutting the trees didn’t violate any ordinances, McKnight said.

“Based on site measurements of the remaining stumps, none of the trees that were removed are considered protected trees under the current tree ordinance,” McKnight said.

Protected trees have to be at least 19 inches in diameter or 60 inches in circumference when measured at 4.5 ft above the ground. The trees also have to be on the list of protected tree species in the ordinance. Oaks are on that list, but the ones cut down at Lakefront Preserve were smaller.

“The trees are gone,” Faske said. “There’s nothing to be done about that. They were beautiful trees. It looks dead now.”

Rumors are spreading through the neighborhood about other issues, including the $619 annual association fees, but residents said they can’t get the board members to call them or text them about information such as a changed meeting time or place.

“We are seeking advice,” Faske said.

Valerie Wells: 409-683-5246; valerie.wells@galvnews.com

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(7) comments

Randy Chapman

Home-owner associations are a scourge that needs to have their legal authority reigned in by the legal system. Far too many have become little Nazi groups that consider their power absolute.

Don Schlessinger

Perfect reason not to buy into a neighborhood with an HOA, and a hard lesson learned for the families who bought there. Those trees weren't "pruned," they were scalped.

Bill Cochrane

I agree that HOA’s can be a PAIN, but the fault lies with the residents. Residents elected by all homeowners run the HOA. I’ve been involved with several HOA’s. I’ve been on the board as a board member and as president of the board. On one board I converted the board to a user-friendly HOA. Before that, the board treated the other owners as the enemy. Why? Because at every board meeting there was ZERO (0) participation from other homeowners. These folks need to get off their be-uts and go to every board meeting and start electing like-minded board members. Sitting around complaining about what’s going on without going to meetings is like complaining about politicians without bothering to vote. Speaking of voting, I’m leaving to cast my vote in the city elections right now!

Robert Ray

Bill Cochrane, you really need to read the article more fully. These members have been trying to interact with the HOA board, however, the Board isn't playing by the rules. Holding meetings in the streets, changing the date, time and/or location of meetings without proper notification, basically holding illegal elections (not conforming to the body's own bylaws and/or without a legal suspension of said bylaws) and lack of financial transparency are just a few things mentioned in the article above that indicate that the problem does not rest on the shoulders of those complaining. The fact that the President and the secretary/treasurer have failed to respond to the newspaper's own requests, not even a no comment, seems further indication that the problem is that these individuals are in need of being replaced forcefully (ie, legally removed from office and/or possibly jailed -- just to be clear that I am not advocating violence).

George Croix

We don't have an HOA out here in Running Rats Acres, thank God, so I wonder why, in the face of such bad actors, the other residents, who are supposedly united in opposition, don't just stop paying the fees and tell the bad actors to go pound sand?
If they're already breaking their own rules, then what can they do to anybody else who bucks them??

What am I missing here..??

Bill Cochrane

Robert Ray, I read the story several times and failed to see where the complainants actually attended the meetings. I simply suggested that a majority of the homeowners ban together, go to the meetings and vote in homeowners that will run the HOA the way they feel it should be run. If the homeowners really wanted to do something, besides complain to a newspaper, there is a slew of information on “How to remove a HOA board in Texas.” Google it!

Robert Braeking

Disband the HOA. Now if we could only disband the city council.

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