Q. I am becoming very concerned about the number of home robberies in our area. What can we do? I don’t think enough neighbors are aware of this. Can we put up signs? I think someone needs to alert the neighborhood about this. We need everyone to be aware of who is in our neighborhood. Do you know about this? I am not sure how many have occurred but I think since last fall, it is more than 10. Who can we contact about this?
A. The Village Associations keep Village crime statistics as reported in the Tribune and Times. Since July 2007 to mid-June 2008 the following crimes have been reported in your area (2 Vehicle Burglaries and 9 Residential Burglaries, 5 the past month).
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Resource Deputy for the Village, the statistics for crime in the Village are still relatively low for Hillsborough County. The incidents in May were unusual and the Sheriff's Office was well aware of the increase in that area. However, none of the burglaries were reported to the Community Patrol until several days after they occurred. If the patrol is notified of crimes along with the Sheriff when they occur, they can pay particular attention to the area.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, setting up a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood is still the most effective means of crime prevention. An active Neighborhood Watch sets up telephone and e-mail lists to spread the word throughout the neighborhood on a very timely basis as you would like to do. Articles can be also be written in the Village Views on how to protect yourself and your property, but the Village Views is a quarterly publication and not timely for notification of activity in an area. County Ordinance does not allow signs on the public right of way and Village deed restrictions prohibit them on private property.
Your best contact for Crime Prevention information is the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Office at 247-8115 to set up a Neighborhood Watch or call Deputy Stramiello, the Village Resource Officer, at 264-8589 to make an appointment to talk to him. His office is in the Carrollwood Cultural Center Annex on Casey Road.
Q. I ‘m writing about numerous lawns that have dollar weeds in my neighborhood because of the reclaimed
water abuse. The lawns are disgraceful and unacceptable in my opinion. In the summer, you said there was nothing you could do because of the drought and heat, even with the reclaimed water and no restrictions. Well, now fall and winter have come and passed and there are still weeds.
I don’t understand why I follow the guidelines and pay good money to keep my yard looking great, while other homeowners ruin the look of our neighborhoods. I also noticed lounge chairs and golf net located on the side of a house in the Village which are an eye sore. I know I am being picky, but I am simply concerned with look of our beautiful community.
A. First, let me address reclaimed water abuse. While the homeowner may be over watering and causing dollar weed, the association has no authority whatsoever to enforce reclaimed water abuse. That is the responsibility of the County. The County does send out notices to conserve reclaimed water in their water bills and inspectors drive subdivisions looking for faulty irrigation systems. However, there is no restriction on the amount of reclaimed water a homeowner can use.
There are many homes in the Village that have trouble with dollar weeds because it is the pollinating/germinating time of the year (warmer weather, rain, and longer duration of sunlight). However, I can also state that most of those having trouble take appropriate steps to kill the weeds. This is the normal growing cycle.
We are coming out of the dormant growing season and a couple freezes. The St. Augustine grass has started to green up and spread over dead areas in the last month. By June and July most of the bare areas in lawns will be covered. For those that aren’t covered, the County asked and the Board voted not to require homeowners to replace dead lawns because of the drought.Reference the lounge chairs or the golf net. Neither are prohibited by the
Association documents or Board standards which are my enforcement guidelines. The Board has to operate within the deed restrictions for each subdivision and established standards.
Q. I have two questions. First, who owns which privacy fence in the Phase 1 area? Both of my neighbors act as if the fence on their side of my property is mine. They both need replacing and maintenance, but I do not want to do both. Is there any HOA rule that designates the owner of a fence? One neighbor said that a fence on the right side of my house when viewed from the street belongs to me because of the way the fence faces. Second, since 2003,my house has been flooded a number of times. Both of my neighbors have things on their property that contribute to my problem. I have a couple of solution ideas, but don’t know what course to take. I guess I’ll try to get the neighbors’ consent first. I feel the majority of the problem I have is coming from one neighbor’s property and the other side contributes significantly as well. Who should I contact? What is needed to fix the problem is a large open drainage channel or a concrete wall around my property to take care of the problem. See the dilemma? Please clarify.
A. The only way to determine who owns a fence is to locate the side boundary markers (usually metal stakes) at the front and rear of your property and then run a line between the front and rear markers on both sides and between the two rear markers. The front boundary is normally inside of the front sidewalk facing your front lawn. If the fence is on your side of the line, the fence is yours. If not, the fence is your neighbors.
When the subdivision was initially developed, the developer submitted a drainage plan for all the lots in the subdivision to the County for approval before any houses were built. Normally, all the water is designed to drain from the rear of the property to the street in front of the houses. Home builders must then comply with the drainage plan for the house to be approved. After County approval and construction, the drainage plan cannot be altered without a permit from the County and homeowners cannot alter their property so that drainage causes flooding on adjacent lots.
Start with the County to determine if your neighbors have altered their property in any way to cause the flooding. The drainage could also be altered unintentionally by trees or shrubs that have been planted and have grown to block the designed flow of water. Call the County agency that handles drainage and flooding issues. They will advise you how to proceed to correct the problems.