HOA's $40,000 plan for new fence is misuse of funds, some residents says

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A neighborhood in Overland Park is divided after its HOA made plans to pay $40,000 to replace a fence.

"I mean, you can see the wood is… you can see it’s old and rotted," said Doug Sale, who lives in a home that backs up to the fence.

Sale has lived in Shannon Valley for seven years and as far as he's known, the fence along the back of his property belongs to the Shannon Valley Homeowners' Association. 

"It’s what everybody sees going up and down College Boulevard, and it’s the first thing they see and you want that continuity," said Sale. 

The fence is nearly 20 years old and needs to be replaced. But when the HOA sent out a letter saying it would foot the $40,000 bill, some neighbors were not on board. 

"The fence sits on those peoples' individual property… They do not sit on the association’s property," said Rich Triola, past HOA president.

Triola said in 2001, the HOA agreed to pay for a replacement fence along College as a one-time fix. 

"And from that moment on, the fence was the sole responsibility of the homeowners," said Triola. 

Triola saved the resolution outlining the transfer of property to the 20 homeowners along the fence. 

He showed the resolution to the current board members, but they said it wasn't valid. Triola was told since it was never filed in court it doesn't stand. 

The board also argued they wanted the fence to have conformity since it's along the entryway to the subdivision. 

Sale said as a homeowner he thinks that's important to the neighborhood’s value as well. 

But Triola said in the HOA bylaws homeowners are required to get approval on any fences they plan to put up, so that's no excuse. 

Triola is worried that this will set a new precedent on what HOA funds are used for and have a ripple effect. 

"If the homeowners association takes responsibility for the fence on College, then why wouldn’t they be responsible for the fence along Antioch," said Triola. 

We spoke with board member Gary Fox about the situation. 

Fox is against paying for the fence but said the board is somewhat divided on the issue. 

He said they have agreed to allow the 500-home community to vote but that the board would take that vote under advisement. 

Meaning this decision and this fence could remain split for quite some time. 

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