Monday, January 31, 2005

eMachineShop = CRAZY Expensive

I have a very simple idea. Just a flat slab of steel with some holes in it. This would be about the simplest thing to machine in the known world. I can do this myself with a drill press and about 30 minutes of work. They want to charge $575 per unit!!! OMFG!

In all reality, the hardest part of this project I am facing is finding a supplier for a few slabs of stainless steel. doing the actual machining is 90% no brainer, 10% work.

With that said, I am a bit shaken by the creation price of this unit... I would like to sell this for about 29 bucks, but I will really have to work at finding some uber-cheap way to manufacture this item.

Posted by Dennis Bottaro at 12:06 AM
Categories: Rant

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Neighbors and Politics

My beef this day comes courtesy of my neighbors. They want to dredge up the past of this little community…

Here is some background: I live in a subdivision that was once a 55+ community. The controlling company folded, leaving the community to manage itself. The community refused to incorporate a homeowner’s association, thus losing it’s ability to legally self-manage.

Fast forward about ten years… A new developer in town wants to build some low-income apartments on the land immediately to the north of our community. No one in the subdivision wants this to happen. So after much yelling and acting like toddlers, some of the folks came up with the idea to form an HOA. This is a great idea… but…

Quite a few of the residents in here are from the early 55+ days of the subdivision. They are strongly against young people with children moving in here, and want a return to the 55+ retirement community they initially bought in to.

Herein lies the first problem: There are quite a few (dozens in fact) younger, working couples with families living here, and have been here for years. I have been in my home for about five years. What happens to the group of homeowners that do not fit the original definition of the community?

Another nice action this HOA group did was to research the deed restrictions set in place by the original developer. This document was drafted in 1976, and put in force for 30 years. We are still under those restrictions, and have been – but no one was able to enforce them. That is until the HOA comes to town!

These restrictions cover all sorts of fun things:

  • No major alterations to your home will be allowed unless approved by committee
  • All onsite store-rooms will be immediately located adjacent to and attached to the primary residence
  • No building eaves shall be closer to the front of the property line than 15 feet, or sides closer than 5 feet, or rears closer than 10 feet.
  • No signs or ads
  • No campers or trailers on lots (unless behind the home and not visible from street)
  • No boats unless housed in a completely enclosed, approved structure.
  • One small household pet (no more that 15 pounds). No other pets are allowed.
  • No children under the age of 18.
  • Keep it pretty or we will charge you 120% of the cleanup fee.
  • No privacy fences.
  • No regrading unless approved by committee.
  • No trucks larger than ½ ton allowed.
  • Children can only visit no longer than 4 weeks twice a year.
  • No building will be allowed unless by the original developer
  • All garbage containers shall be kept at the rear of the house. All trash must be bagged in a 2’ x ‘3 plastic bag.

This list is WAY out of mode for quite a few of the residents in the subdivision.

  • There are folks with detached sheds,
  • Two homes on my block have been regraded,
  • Many of us have big pets,
  • There are children all over the place,
  • One sweet older lady down the road from us keeps her trash cans at the curb (because it is too hard for her to take them back and forth),
  • One couple that lives up the road from me are long haul truck drivers that park their rig on their lot,
  • A couple that lives up the other road park their RV on their lot.

The group wishing to form an HOA wants to revise the original restriction documents. But there is provision within the documents themselves that allow for revision only after the passing of 30 years from date of filing. The documents were originally filed December 28th, 1976. That being said – an HOA could not do anything but selective enforcement of the regulations until December 28th, 2006.

The original document no longer reflects the condition of the community. Condition here meaning both the physical state of the community, and the state of the community’s population.

The initial drive for an HOA was to be able to provide a unified voice to sound protest of the development of the parcel of land immediately north of our subdivision.

I fear an HOA would begin a witch-hunt for those residents that do not fit the original definition of this community.

There was a time, not long ago, when I extolled the virtues of this little 3 street subdivision to almost anyone how would listen. It was a nice quiet place where you could live undisturbed, walk the streets at any hour of the night without concern, and raise a family without worrying who your child was playing with.

This was all before the community wanted to rise up, not only against the new development, but also against its neighbors.

Posted by Dennis Bottaro at 11:32 PM
Categories: Rant