Follow-Up On Cease And Desist Order

An open community discussion was introduced by the Board of Trustees with respect to the “cease and desist” order that was issued at Liberty Commons as a whole, and specifically for those who have altered the slope behind Building 5 (41-71 Berrington Road). As background, some Unit Owners and Non-Owner Resident altered the area behind the stone retaining wall and removed natural overgrown vegetation. Some replaced the natural vegetation with flowers and plants. Others started the process, of clearing the invasive trees and shrubs due to the overgrowth and amount of ticks. These unauthorized alterations have some significant and serious risks associated with them with regards to the integrity of the stone retaining wall and erosion on a site that has wetlands buffer zones and a perennial stream buffer zone.

As nice as an improvement as these efforts produced, the nice flowers and planting, an inadvertent problem was created in the way of erosion from two sources created by multiple Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents, by adding stone walls from the upper parts of the slope down to the stone retaining wall, and by not replacing the native vegetation without replacing them with stabilizing plants. The added stone walls have created channels for water to collect and flow down taking soil and bark mulch down onto the sidewalk, which was quite evident to Liberty Commons’ landscape contractor, the Board of Trustees, the Managing Agent (North Point Property Management, LLC.), and some other residents with green thumbs. These are big contributing factor that has lead some Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents to blame the landscapers of not doing their jobs, which is not accurate nor true. The other issue is bare soil on the slopes, which has also contributed to the erosion issues.

Both of these contributing factors and underlying causes needs to be addressed in the very short term (i.e., days or weeks). It was the consensus of those Unit Owners present at the Board of Trustees and Unit Owners Meeting that the Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents who performed the alternation must take corrective actions under the Board of Trustees supervision. If these Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents fail to step up, then Liberty Commons Condominium Trust will need to have an outside contractor perform the work and the expense will be assessed back to those Unit Owners who contributed to altering this slope without authorization from the Board of Trustees. The second option could lead to some damages to existing flowers and plants, which will be at the sole liability of the Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents. There was one Unit Owner who felt it was Common Area and therefore the Liberty Commons should absorb the costs. I explained that they was unauthorized work that was performed, this was not a budgeted expense, and that it would set a bad precedent to allow individuals to alter the Common Areas and then the rest of the Unit Owners have to pay the expense. Such action would violate the Board of Trustees financial obligations. One suggestion was to use monies generated from fines to offset any costs.

Mike Toledo, one Non-Owner Resident who performed some of the alterations was present at the meeting, and provided some background on the issues that they were trying to solve. He did offer to be a part of the solution and make things right. This Non-Owner Resident, Mike Toledo, has been a valuable asset to Liberty Commons in so many ways and his contributions were acknowledged. Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees sincerely hope the other Unit Owners who were a party to these unauthorized alterations will also step up to be a part of the solution as well. A couple of other Unit Owners at the meeting who live in another Building said they would be willing to assist. We, Liberty Commons, can turn this issue into an opportunity for community building experience.

Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees are looking for input into solutions, individuals who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts to correct the issues, etc. Anyone who has ideas and is willing to help, should contact the Board of Trustees using the Get In Touch form.

The Board of Trustees made it quite clear that no work is to be performed in the Common Areas nor to Common Elements without the prior written permission of the Board of Trustees. This applies to everyone, and not just those in Building 5 (41-71 Berrington Road). Only the Board of Trustees can grant permission. However, a request can be submitted to Liberty Commons’ Managing Agent, North Point Property Management, LLC., and the request will be added to action items for the Board of Trustees decisions. These limitations include, but are not limited to:

  • Adding or removing Common Area plantings, shrubs, or trees
  • Trimming shrubs, bushes, or trees
  • Adding, removing, or placing anything in Common Areas, except normal deck/ patio chairs, table, and an umbrella
  • Changing doorbells, lights, electrical outlets, windows, doors, etc.
  • Attaching anything to decks, buildings, trees, etc.
  • Adding a satellite dish, other communications antennas or devices
  • Adding temperature or weather sensors
  • Changing the flue of the furnace or water heater
  • Adding numbers, stickers, or similar to windows, door, siding, etc.
  • Adding or removing bark mulch to Common Areas, this is the landscape contractors obligation under contractual terms

The best practice to follow is to consult the Board of Trustees first, obtain authorization, and if approval is provided, then proceed within the agreed upon specifications. This saves everyone a lot of time, energy, undue expenses, and frustrations.

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