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KAYSVILLE — When Tim Hodges, originally from Texas, moved into his neighborhood back in April, he says the land supported by the local Homeowners Association was a major factor, because it included a park and an equestrian area.
“It was perfect. It was everything we dream of,” Hodges said. “I mean, that’s a competition-size arena right there, so I was like, ‘sold!'”
It was also a major factor for Michael Aoki and his family when they moved there nine years ago.
“The HOA here was a huge part of it,” Aoki said. “It allows us to have horses, which we own. It allows us to have a lot of property to roam with our kids.”
According to other homeowners in the subdivision, however, the dream of having more than seven acres of open land in the neighborhood never quite worked out. Current HOA President Nathan Alvey says the developer’s original plan was to build about 270 homes, back in 2005. When the economy went south, the builder stopped at 63.
“We were gifted a mess,” Alvey said. “As we were billing homeowners, and as we were maintaining both the north and south side of the parks, we had negative cash flow.”
Alvey says by the time the economy recovered, and more homes were built, enough time had passed that the new homeowners were not required to become a part of the Schick Farms HOA.
“We had options of increasing fees to offset the cost of maintaining the land, or explore some alternative options,” Alvey explained.
Among those options, Alvey says, was to sell off about two acres to a developer, thus lowering the overall burden.
About ten years ago, Alvey says a previous HOA board had asked the city to take the land, a request the city denied at the time. As the HOA more recently sought zoning approvals to sell part of the land, Alvey says an agreement was then reached for the city to instead take over the land to eventually build a city park as was originally proposed by the HOA.
“We spent 12 years, trying to clean up that mess, and we think we’ve got a great solution now,” Alvey said. “A win-win for the community, a win-win for Kaysville.”
With the West Davis Corridor set to be constructed there in about two years, Mayor Katie Witt says the park will serve as a gateway to the community, and was one of the few pieces of open land left in the city where a park could be built.
Homeowners like Hodges and Aoki, however, feel they didn’t get proper warning from the HOA of the deal until well after negotiations had begun.
“About a month ago is when we start hearing that this is actually happening,” Aoki said. “And we don’t hear about it from the board. We hear about it from the board going to try and collect these votes from these people to try and persuade them to tell them what a great deal this is.”
According to minutes from a Schick Farms HOA meeting on Sept. 26, the measure passed with 21 homeowners present, and 41 lots represented by proxy votes. The Kaysville City Council approved their free purchase of the land Thursday night.
Hodges, who also serves as HOA treasurer, believes there is a way to make ends meet. He adds that there is a $70,000 reserve in the HOA account, from years of not maintaining the land. At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, he announced his intention to file a lawsuit against the HOA.
“I hope to accomplish what’s right,” Hodges said. “I hope to accomplish what’s best for the community, because the fact of the matter is I think they’ve been lied to.”
Alvey says the majority of homeowners see it differently.
“Most homeowners prefer not to have to continue to fight with their homeowners on how they want to see the park maintained,” Alvey said. “And I think the city can do a better job.”