By Rusty Bradshaw
The document detailing revised covenants, conditions and restrictions for Sun City has gone through a complete legal review, but it may not go before the Sun City Home Owners Association Board of Directors for consideration until the fall.
The document has been sent out to board members for review and it could be possible, but unlikely, the board would consider it at its June meeting, according to Jim Hunter, SCHOA board and CC&R Review Committee president. The board is scheduled to meet 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 25 in the meeting room at the SCHOA office, 10401 W. Coggins Drive.
“Timing of the approval process is under discussion,” he stated in an email prior to leaving for Oklahoma. “Summer plans, plus medical issues, have limited the committee’s time of late. I would expect the approval plan to not be ready for publication until fall.”
SCHOA CC&R Review Committee members recommended a number of changes to the CC&Rs to the SCHOA board during its Feb. 26 meeting. They came after 10 months of research by the committee and input from residents through in-person testimony at meetings and an online survey.
“Our existing CC&Rs have been in place since 1963, with some changes in the 1990s and clarifications in the mid-2000s,” Mr. Hunter explained during the February meeting. “With these changes we eliminated conflicting provisions and taken into account today’s needs and input from residents.”
Following review by Penny Koepke, SCHOA’s attorney, the CC&R amendments underwent some minor language changes, according to Mr. Hunter. At least one of those minor changes helped garner more support from one committee member who opposed detached utility buildings.
“I still am (opposed), but the provisions now in the proposed document are enforceable and I support the Compliance Department in its efforts, and this makes total sense — even if I don’t like it,” Pamela Schwarz stated in an email to Mr. Hunter. “My interest lies more in the community than in my little piece of turf.”
The SCHOA board in March committed an unspecified amount of funds from the operating budget, including some donations, to the CC&R revision campaign, according to Mr. Hunter.
“No special fundraising efforts are planned for this project,” he stated. “We will be seeking approval, not money.”
Whether the revisions are approved by the board in June or the fall, a campaign to convince 51% of about 17,000 single-family property owners will not get started until the board-approved document is published in the fall, Mr. Hunter explained. He expected the CC&R Review Committee would remain in existence, with its next task to determine the best strategy for presenting the document and getting changes approved by property owners.
Bill Pearson, committee member, believes the campaign to get the changes approved will rely on volunteers. He envisions a door-to-door effort, with volunteers explaining the changes and answering questions. Mr. Hunter said in February that could also mean hiring some people for that task.
“But we will have volunteer leadership,” he added. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Many of the recommended CC&R changes revolve around condition-of-property issues. They also incorporate many of the clarifications to the CC&Rs into the full document, according to Mr. Hunter.
“Because (previous) clarifications were not voted on by residents, our attorney tells us they are unenforceable unless they are brought into the main CC&R document,” Mr. Hunter explained.
Mr. Pearson said existing conditions on properties would be grandfathered, if the CC&R changes are resident-approved. However, the grandfathering would not last forever, according to Mr. Hunter.
“The condition would need to change to comply with the CC&Rs before a deed changes hands,” he explained.
But changes to comply would not conflict with county codes and ordinances and would not place an undue burden on a homeowner, he added.
CC&R changes were prompted last year when residents complained about large detached garages being built in multiple neighborhoods. Tom Wilson, SCHOA general manager, said he has wanted CC&R revisions for years because the current document has some sections that are unenforceable.
The bulk of the changes are incorporating the clarifications added in the early-2000s into the CC&Rs, with some of those clarifications being rewritten. In addition, some CC&Rs were rewritten or added to conform with Maricopa County ordinances.
Recommended CC&R changes include:
• Will allow variances for underage spouses who inherit property, as long as they do not bring in anyone under 55.
• Fences and setbacks must be consistent with Maricopa County codes and ordinances.
• No parking on streets longer than 72 hours in a 30-day period; no parking on landscaping, and no parking of inoperable or unsightly vehicles on a property.
• Prohibit wooden fences.
• Requiring detached garages be no taller than the adjoining home and a driveway must lead into the garage.
• Detached utility buildings will be allowed if they are screened or walled so they are not visible from the street.
• Gazebos and other outdoor living structures will be allowed and eliminate the phrase “servants’ quarters” from the document.
• Rentals of 29 days or less would be prohibited.
• Removed the phrase “except in a garage” from parking provision.
• Clarify responsibility for bushes, hedges or trees that infringe on neighboring properties.
Mr. Hunter explained there are no new provisions in the proposed CC&R revisions, the existing document was simply amended to make it more clear. In addition, conflicting provisions were corrected and amended.
“Today’s realities have been addressed, particularly with detached structures and fences,” he stated in a summary of the document. “The amended commercial use section clearly reflects the wishes of the homeowners, as does the entire document.”
Sun City’s CC&Rs were last revised in the late 1990s.
Shared roof properties — called condos and patio homes — are governed by their own set of CC&Rs in 386 separate homeowners associations for those properties. While each condo association CC&R document is similar to SCHOA’s in many ways, there are some differences specific to each association. Enforcement of the condo association CC&Rs is the responsibility of the boards for each entity, but most include a clause allowing them to request enforcement assistance from SCHOA, according to Jerry Walczak, Condo Owners Association president and a SCHOA board member.