A new traffic fining policy in the Mountain Lodge subdivision on the North side has some neighbors complaining that their Homeowners Association has gone too far.
The first time a driver is caught breaking the rules, they will be sent a written notice and a certified letter in the mail. If a driver is caught a second time, they will be sent another letter and a $50 fine. The fine is $100 for a third violation and $200 for a fourth violation.
If a driver is cited more than four times, the policy states that he or she could be banned from driving in the neighborhood for a period of six months
The policy is enforced by off-duty Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputies. The deputies are hired and paid by all-volunteer HOA.
The tickets do not go on a driver’s record and the fines are paid to the HOA.
The association's declaration states that it maintains the right to "adopt, amend, enforce and revoke rules and regulations" pertaining to common areas. That includes "the authority to assess fines against owners violating such rules."
Michael Johnson, who lives in Mountain Lodge, believes the policy is unnecessary.
“I just don’t think it is enforceable,” Johnson said. “I’m not paying the Homeowners Association. Paying the police and courts is enough.”
HOA board member Jimmy Chapman is in charge of security and safety in the neighborhood. He says the new policy is in response to numerous complaints of speeders. Chapman adds that neighbors had several opportunities to speak out against the policy at town hall meetings before it was put in place.
Chapman also said that banning a driver from the neighborhood is “highly unlikely,” and that portion of the policy is only in place to address the most extreme violators.
“I’ll pay the dues,” said Johnson, “but I’m not paying an additional traffic fine. They’ll have to put a lien on my house and we’ll fight it in court.”
If a driver does not pay up, the fine will be tacked onto HOA quarterly dues. The HOA does have the authority to put a lien on a house to collect the money, but again, Chapman says that is unlikely.