Surfside HOA, Ocean Park, WA
Summary. This page is a summary of the case. So many unethical and I believe illegal actions were taken by the board it will take me some time to document the full detail version. It is coming soon.
This case started about a shed roof but became much more than that. Through the HOA’s appeals process, the lawsuits, and as a Surfside Board Member, I found that the Board refused to follow anything close to due process, made up definitions of the covenants and policies as they went, changed written records, modified the minutes, refused reasonable access to records, and colluded to cause emotional and financial damage to people that did not agree with them, not to just my family, but to many others.
I built a 120 sq ft shed with a roof that extended 8′ in front, so I would have a covered area to work in bad weather.
The HOA claimed that my shed due to the extended roof violated the covenants and attempted to fine me. They claimed that the area under the roof extension counted in the size of the roof. But the Surfside Covenants about Sheds are:
Storage Sheds: A storage shed is permitted on each platted parcel. Such
storage shed must conform to applicable county codes. Storage sheds
shall house objects only and shall not be used for occupancy. Storage
sheds shall be placed on any acceptable location of the plot that is
appropriate for their intended use, providing they meet setbacks.
4.11a Foundations shall conform to applicable County code
4.11b Maximum enclosed floor area shall be no greater than 120 square
feet. Height shall be no greater than 10 feet from the average
grade level and not more than 1 story.
4.11c Construction materials shall conform to Section 4.5
As you can see my shed did not violate any of the covenants. The covenants clearly state that the ENCLOSED FLOOR SPACE cant be greater than 120 sq. ft. The roof overhang or extension is not enclosed, and has no floor.
The HOA then changed the complaint saying that my shed roof was violating an Ordinance, but the ordinances say the same thing and specifically state that roofs with two walls or less do not count in the size of a building.
Pacific County Codes
SECTION 21 – SUPPLEMENTARY DISTRICT REGULATIONS; 4. One accessory storage building less than one hundred twenty (120) square feet may be allowed without the primary building or structure being first established on the lot and without a building permit being issued, if all of the following standards are met:
a. The storage building is less than one hundred twenty (120) square feet in size and less than ten (10) feet in height; b. The storage building is temporary in nature in that it contains a floor constructed of wood or any other similar material, is placed on a temporary type of foundation such as pier blocks or skids, and is readily movable; c. The storage building shall be placed in the side or rear portions of the property and may be placed to within five (5) feet of the rear and side property lines; and d. The storage building is not to be used as sleeping quarters, nor shall it contain any plumbing.
SECTION 2 – DEFINITIONS;
- General; 83. Floor Area, Gross – “Floor Area, Gross” means the sum expressed in square footage of the gross horizontal area of the floor or floors of the building, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls, including elevator shafts and stairwells on each floor and areas having a ceiling height of seven feet or more, but excluding roofed areas open on two or more sides, areas having a ceiling height of less than seven feet and areas used exclusively for storage or housing of mechanical or central heating/cooling equipment.
Surfside HOA changed the complaint again. Obviously, the HOA Board was not trying to enforce the covenants, they were clearly targeting. They changed the complaint from calling the roof a roof extension, to calling it a lean-to so that they could say it fell under the following ordinance:
Ordinance no 162, L Page153
- In the R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-R districts, no structures including decks, RV covers, lean-to’s, garages, shops, carports, etc., shall be allowed in conjunction with the recreational vehicle usage; however, one storage building, not exceeding one hundred twenty (120) square feet in size, being temporary in nature and placed on a temporary or portable foundation, may be permitted.
Of course this doesn’t apply either because the roof was not in conjunction with an RV, it was part of a shed. There wasn’t even an RV on the property, my RV was kept on my adjacent property.
I requested the Surfside Board appeal hearing, and explained all this to the board. In spite of the fact that the no one at the appeal including the members of the Architectural Committee and the Board Members could find a covenant that my shed roof violated , they voted 5-4 to attempt to force me to take down the roof extension anyway. Jim Flood, on his own, with no Board Vote, said that if I could get a letter from the County stating that my shed roof was legal, they would drop the complaint. The Board just seemed to accept this, no vote.
At the next meeting I presented them with this letter from the County Commissioner Frank Wolfe. (Click the link to see the letter) The commissioner told me he had his people look into this then sent me this letter.
The Board refused to accept the letter, broke their promise and again voted to fine me if I didn’t take the roof down. During the hearing they failed to follow any reasonable parliamentary procedure, due process, the covenants or the laws.
I wrote the board requesting a hearing challenging their decision based on their failure to follow any reasonable parliamentary procedure, due process, the covenants or the laws. Click here to see that email.
The Board refused our request.
2016-11-15 Click this link to see the letter our attorney wrote to the Board again pointing out the the Board was violating both the covenants and the law.
The Board dropped the complaints and Surfside HOA sent us a letter stating that they had dropped the complaints.
We asked the HOA, along with Durdel and Ottersen to reimburse us for our attorney’s fees. They ignored our request. We filed in small claims court and were awarded our attorneys fees. Durdel was awarded the cost of taking his shed down, putting it back up and the court costs. Surfside paid us, but then decided to file appeal to Superior Court against Ottersen and me.
At this point my wife and I decided that we had had enough of the risk of HOA life. We bought another property outside the HOA in Ocean Park and put our house on the market.
Shortly after putting our property up for sale the HOA filed a lawsuit against us and the Ottersens attempting to force us to comply with the non-existing covenants.
We discovered that a constitutional attorney had recently bought property here in Surfside HOA. He wrote another letter to the Surfside attorney reiterating all the points above and pointing out the flaws in their case.
A few days later, the Board dropped the appeal and the lawsuit.
But even this is not the end. We requested that the Board reimburse us for our attorney’s fees for the appeal and the lawsuit that were dropped. They refused. We filed in small claims court to recover the approximately $5000 in attorney’s fees for the appeal. We were awarded those fees and the HOA paid.
The reimbursement of the fees for the dropped lawsuit is still pending.
This is a summary of events. So many unethical and in my opinion illegal actions were taken by the board, it will take me some time to document them all. The full detail version is coming soon.
As in all my reporting, I strive to tell only the truth. I am open to corrections or additions.
Nothing in our communications should be considered to be legal advice.