Floyd County landlord in dispute with homeowners association | New
FLOYD COUNTY – The Jeep vibrates back and forth as James Photiadis carefully steers the vehicle down a wet, rocky path overgrown with vegetation and surrounded by steep drops on either side.
He parks the Jeep a few yards from the entrance to a ravine and points through the gap in the walls where his ownership begins. The narrow track is nothing like the paved roads of the Canyonlands Subdivision over the ravine, and Photiadis does not live within the closed gates of the private community. But he always charged the same owner association fees.
And the reason he pays $ 600 a year is under his feet Thursday afternoon. Because the unguarded passage connects the subdivision to part of Photiadis’ property, he has to pay the Canyonlands Homeowners Association $ 600 per year.
These 21.29 acres of his property off Canyon Road in Floyd County, which contains no development or housing, is considered part of the subdivision. It is a fact that Photiadis has been fighting for almost 10 years, and he filed a complaint in the hope of obtaining redress.
“It’s taxation without representation,” he said.
The subdivision was developed by David Ruckman, from whom Photiadis said he purchased the property in 2012. It sits well below the lot where Photiadis’ house is located along Sun Ridge Drive near Quarry Road in Township. of Georgetown.
The views are scenic as this is one of the few areas in Floyd County that is largely untouched by development. Photiadis said part of his reasoning for purchasing the additional acreage was because he wanted it to remain green space.
Photiadis said he only learned after purchasing the property that it was included in the Canyonlands subdivision, thus placing it under the jurisdiction of the neighborhood association.
Looking at the property, he said it was hard to imagine that it would be included in a flat subdivision.
Access easements – the narrow paths that lead to either end of the property – were cited as reasons why the acreage is in the subdivision, although Photiadis pointed out that it was unrealistic for anyone to ever develop the plot. .
“The whole thing is a vertical slope,” Photiadis said, pointing up the developed parts of the area from the access easement to the bottom of the ravine.
Photiadis said he had tried to find reasonable common ground with the homeowners association. He said Canyonlands does not perform any maintenance on the access roads and that he has done all the work that makes the path at least somewhat usable.
Photiadis said it requested compensation of $ 100 or $ 200 per year for the maintenance of easements, but it was refused.
Near Photiadis’ house is the other portion of the access easement. This portion is a gravel road that extends less than 15 feet in width and leads to the area in question. The descent is also steep and like on the other side of the ravine it is wet and would be impassable for most vehicles.
Photiadis said the path is often blocked by fallen debris such as rocks and tree branches.
Although Photiadis has posted a warning sign, sometimes motorists will try to cross the path and usually get stuck at the bottom of the hill.
It’s not just a question of money, but of protecting property interests, Photiadis said. There is a clause in the rules governing the homeowners association that allows a developer to buy back a property at 82% of the sale price if it is not developed within two years of purchase, he said. declared.
Robert Brinck, president of the Canyonlands Homeowners Association, said that since Photiadis has chosen to take the case to court, he would not be able to answer questions for this story.
After filing a complaint, Photiadis proposed a settlement in 2020. According to the proposal, it would pay the association $ 20,000, which is equivalent to 34 years of membership. In exchange, he asked that his property at the bottom of the ravine be reserved in green space and that any future development be prohibited on the site.
Photiadis said the offer was turned down.
Attorney John Kraft represents the homeowners association in the lawsuit, which remains open before Floyd Circuit Court. He said on Friday he would not comment on a possible settlement.
Kraft said Photiadis “filed a lawsuit, he asked the court to make a decision, but he turned in all directions outside the court to ask for a ruling.”
Kraft said Photiadis contacted the state attorney general and asked other officials to look into the matter, but to no avail.
“I will not comment or judge a case in the press when he asked the court to try him in court,” Kraft said. “It seems he doesn’t want to try him in court. He tries to look for all the other possible avenues.
Photiadis conceded that, based on state law, landowners in his position had few options. He said the homeowners associations had too much power and the Floyd County government should never have included plots like his in the subdivision when it was approved over a decade ago.
It does not make sense to tie up a property that cannot be developed and which should be green space in a subdivision, and thus, allow it to be controlled by an association of owners, Photiadis said. Associations should also not be allowed to charge fees to adjacent owners without maintaining the infrastructure if they do not maintain it, he continued.
Last month, Photiadis sent emails to State Senator Ron Grooms and State Representative Ed Clere about it. He said Thursday that both offices admitted to receiving the emails, but had not heard directly from either official.
“In my case, I am asking for something that should be inherent in HOA laws,” Photiadis wrote in the letters. “That a home / property owner be allowed to ask their county to remove the restrictions of an HOA, if that home / property owner can demonstrate that the HOA does not provide any service or product for the dues it receives.” , or the restrictions it is imposing on the property.