Homeowner Association Responsibility

7

PUBLISHER’S COMMENT:

I saw a recent post on social media that called attention to the role that HOAs have to the community they represent.  By publishing this comment below, BocaWatch, is hoping to encourage responsible residents to post similar situations in other neighborhoods and Homeowner Associations.  This first identified situation apparently has been an issue for years in past weather events.  Residents in Carriage Hill which adjoins Camino Gardens contacted FPL in 2015 when they were losing power for hours every 2-3 months. Even though those Carriage Hill residents have underground power, it was fed from lines in the SouthEast section of Camino Gardens where the problems were due to landscaping on the power lines. In particular, lots on Elm Tree Lane have power lines with roughly 25 feet of additional land between the power lines and their property lines adjoining Carriage Hill. FPL said that the individual Camino Gardens property owners were responsible to hire line clearing professionals to keep their landscaping clear of power lines. To their credit, FPL came out to Camino Gardens in January 2016 and cleared the lines which greatly improved reliability. This was FPL’s notice to homeowners at the time: “In order to provide you with safe and reliable electric service, a work crew will be clearing the power lines in your neighborhood in the next few weeks. This work involves trimming tree limbs and palms that could interfere with power lines – and cause safety hazards and power outages or flickers.”

That was 18 months ago and Camino Gardens residents served by the power lines in the SouthEast section of Camino Gardens are once again suffering without power from what appears to be landscaping entanglement. BocaWatch asks if enforcing that homeowner responsibility isn’t an HOA responsibility then what common good is the HOA?  Do the Camino Gardens HOA regulations address this issue and are simply not enforced? BocaWatch calls upon the head of the Camino Gardens HOA and other HOAs with chronic landscape induced power outages to respond to this matter…..BocaWatch looks forward to such response and will publish any response immediately upon receipt.

Al Zucaro

7 COMMENTS

  1. Any type of tree that are prone to falling or breaking during hurricanes such as Black Olive’s and Mahogany’s should be cut down and eliminated. This should be initiated state wide. In my opinion this would help out so much whenever we have these type of storms.

  2. We are Elm Tree Lane residents who have several trees that sometimes interfere with the power lines in the FPL easement. When we hire a tree company to prune the trees they tell us that they cannot trim near the power lines and that it is FPL’s responsibility to keep the trees trimmed away from the lines and transformer. A few days before Irma a tree branch shorted the transformer and the FPL employee that came out to reset it called in Asplundt, FPL’s tree trimming contractor, and they cleared the branches from the transformer and the wires, saving us and other residents a lot on inconvenience. FPL could not explain why the easement had been missed and why they ignored my previous requests to trim the trees. The short story is that keeping trees clear of power lines is FPL’s responsibility, not the homeowners’ or the HOA.

  3. Homeowners, plant the trees in places where they grow and threaten the lines. HOAs permit it. It doesn’t work to wait for it to blow a transformer to get FPL out to trim. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the horsepower of an HOA on the case with FPL identifying a neighborhood’s worth of landscaping that threaten the lines? An HOA looking out for the neighborhood. What a concept.

  4. I have been a resident of Camino Gardens for over 25 years. I believe the HOA should notify homeowners that they are in violation and city should also fine or complete work after a certain period and if necessary put a lien on the violators. Our community has lost power during Irma due the negligence of a few homeowners. This should become a law as we all suffer and it cost our utility company time and resources that we all eventually pay for with increased electric Bills. It would be nice to see our Mayor propose this as she is also a resident in our community.

  5. This is not only happening in the area you just described. It is happening 2 streets away from City Hall in my neighborhood. I agree that something should be done if a homeowner allows trees to grow into the power lines as well as the phone or Internet lines, they should be fined or a lien should be put against their property since they are causing a huge inconvenience to all of their neighbors when the electricity goes out many times from a simple storm. This is happening right now on High Street between Pine Circle and 5th Ave, two very huge ficus trees have fallen down and knocked down the lines but the city, FPL, and the Starlight condos can’t decide whose job it is to remove the trees from the middle of the road so FPL can fix our electric. Unfortunately another neighbor has trees interfering with the electrical lines and Sparks were seen when the electric was on! So right now the people on my electrical grid has been without power for 7 days when everyone else around us has power. Being a responsible homeowner is the key. I also believe FPL should be checking the line every year to ensure they are free of tree limbs. I hope the City and FPL will make an effort to help our neighborhood see light and feel AC very soon.

  6. It would seem that this happens all over the city, judging from the number of power lines compromised by trees. It’s an interesting conundrum because HOAs may or may not be able to regulate or enforce anything that is not specifically written into their rules.

    In my neighborhood, We don’t have HOA rules regarding who plants what and where. FPL comes through from time to time and clears the power lines in the easements and the Right of Ways. In fact, they tell us not to do it ourselves, that they would prefer to come out and take care of it. That said, we had our share of outages due to trees, but the question remains – who is ultimately responsible for keeping power lines clear of vegetation?

    Maybe more importantly, is the century-old notion of stringing thousands of miles of bare, hi-powered transmission lines twenty feet above our heads a good idea at all? Seems like trouble waiting to happen, no matter what the circumstances may be…..

  7. There’s two HOA issues. One is enforcement and the other is protection. Neither require laws and government and are very low in cost. Perhaps zero.

    1) HOAs *could* modify by-laws as needed if not already on the books or whatever that allow them to enforce vegetation standards where utilities are concerned in terms of planting. Nip the problem in the bud so to speak

    2) HOA’s *could* come to the aid of the community of responsible homeowners who have tried and failed to get FPL to keep the lines clear. It could be as simple as inspecting the neighborhood when they are checking out roof mold or whatever and culling a days worth of trimming to keep FPL’s costs down.

    In my neighborhood, power outages are common all year long and not just every 10 years when a named storm comes along. It’s always landscaping at a Camino Gardens home on Elm Tree Ln. Trimming MUST be proactive. You can’t wait for a storm.

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