Cherokee Hills Neighborhood Association’s growing pains
While zoning in the Seymour area remains a hot topic of debate, some citizens that live in the Cherokee Hills area are starting to take matters into their own hands.
In an attempt to resurrect an older, non-existent organization, residents and homeowners in the subdivision, one of the oldest in the area, have begun to form a neighborhood association.
The new association is already holding meetings, on the fourth Thursday of each month, the most recent in May at United Methodist Church. However, some residents are concerned that the association is moving too far, too fast and under the radar of most homeowners.
In the first meeting, officers for the organization were elected. Named to the post of President was Ken Cookson; Vice President Ernie Brewster, Secretary Gail Ledbetter; and Treasurer Erma Osborn.
Erma Osborn, who has lived in the community twelve years, has spearheaded the effort to revive the association from its original incarnation, which lapsed before she moved into the subdivision. Erma told The Herald “Our main goal is to keep our property values from deteriorating.”
Since the meeting was not widely announced in the press, the gathering was only attended by approximately 45 people, out of a subdivision that holds 300 homes and 400 lots, raising the question of whether the entire community was being adequately represented by the voters present, or interested enough to attend, according to Austin Rey who attended the meeting.
In order for the homeowner association to make legally binding requirements the proposed organization must first be duly ratified by at least 75 percent majority of the property owners of the community, according to Dan Scott, a local attorney. “A homeowner’s association basically restricts the use of your land and in order for any organization to be able to legally levy against you, first you have to agree and I’m not so sure that even a 75 percent vote is enough to make it legally binding.”
Also in question at the moment is the legality of what dues if any the association members would be assessed for membership. Currently, the association is asking for legal consultation to clear up these issues.
The association is also looking into establishing themselves as a non-profit organization. Cookson has told the group that the association would need this status in order to charge dues.
Purportedly, the goal of the group is to use the combined powers of the subdivision’s residents to address issues that affect the entire community. Though no particular issues have yet been targeted by the association, some concerns that have been brought forward include zoning and noise regulation.
President Ken Cookson told The Herald “We’re not trying to implement anything new, just to make people aware of the rules already in the covenant.”
The covenant to which Mr. Cookson was referring is the original neighborhood document that stretches back to 1971. In that document, it states that the covenant is good for twenty-five years, and renewable every ten. If that is the case, then the original covenant would have been null and void for the past seven years, having not been renewed in the past ten. This would leave the association without a binding document at all.
Erma Osbourn told The Herald that she didn’t get a copy of the covenant when she moved into the subdivision, and stated that most people that she talked to hadn’t received a copy either.
The next meeting of the association is scheduled for June 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the gymnasium of the Seymour First Baptist Church on Chapman Hwy., one-half mile from the intersection of 441 and 411 and next to Smoky Crossing Luxury Apartments.