Solar Power is the Enemy for One Arizona Neighborhood

Chandler, AZ resident Matt Burdick installed a pool and heater at his home in September. The idea was to serve two purposes: Year-round swimming and conserve energy. However this upset the Lantana Ranch homeowners association and now a pointless battle has been waged.

Claiming that Burdick’s $5,000 investment was actually in violation of the subdivision’s deed agreement, he’s received two violation notices since last month, fines totaling $300 and an order to pay his HOAs $472 legal bill. Burdick, a state employee and spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, is ready to fight.

This whole dumb mess started out as a misunderstanding on Burdick’s part. He’d assumed that state laws would make solar devices exempt from HOAs on power trips- it does not, thanks to some loopholes discovered by a jealous neighbor. Needless to say, he never sought out permission prior to the installation.

As it stands now, Burdick is hoping that House Bill 2593, which would close any loopholes, will be passed and (more importantly) become retroactive. The house passed the bill- now it’s up to the Senate Committee to do the right thing on Thursday.

The loophole in question allows HOAs to regulate the appearance and placement of solar devices. God forbid the panels don’t match the roof.

Note to HOA: Black goes with everything. Just ask the closest woman, gay dude or metalhead.

Property manager and local tough guy Joseph Latkowski declined to comment. Instead he had his lawyer issued the following words of encouragement to Burdick and his wife:

“Had you exerted such energy in the application process, you would not be in the position you find yourselves.”

Had Mr. Latkowski not been such a douchebag, I wouldn’t have had to use such a word to describe him.

On the Burdick’s side is Rep. Chad Campbell D-Phoenix, a sponsor of the bill. His side, known widely as the reasonable side, says that HOAs can have reasonable restrictions on placement of solar devices provided the restrictions do not impair the function, unreasonably restrict the use, or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.

So far the management company at Lantana Ranch hasn’t been moved towards reconsideration, mediation or compromise.

Public response to this unfortunate event has been favorable for the Burdick family. Let’s hope the fellas in the Senate Committee agree. Regardless of the outcome, Joseph Latkowski will still be a douchebag.

Solar power is pollution free during use, requires little maintenance and will reduce grid loading during times of peak demand. Why wouldn’t its use be embraced and encouraged?

Sources:
Edythe Jensen, “Home’s solar device spurs battle with HOA” AZcentral.com
URL: http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/0328cr-solar0328-ON.html

Staff Writer, “Solar power” Wikipedia.com
URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power

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