Lake of the Pines “conditions” for sale of a residence are not new. Each time a Lake of the Pines home goes into escrow, the Environmental Control Committee (ECC) sends a “compliance officer” to the property to write a report about the exterior condition of the home for sale. The officer does not come inside the home. Nor does he have a warrant to poke around on your property unannounced, but he does it anyway. Possibly there is some clause in the LOP Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions where you gave him permission for entry onto your property, but I have not yet found this clause. *
The officer’s report will specify items that must be brought into compliance with Lake of the Pines standards, either by the seller before close of escrow, or by the buyer soon after close of escrow.
What kind of items are typically reported by the officer? Over the past 10 years, these 6 violations appear again and again:
1. Unsightly vegetation. Lawns that need to be mowed, weeds that need to be whacked, dead trees to be removed, piles of brush cleaned up.
2. Trash. All that stuff laying around on the ground that you should have cleaned up a long time ago.
3. Unfinished or unpainted construction. Broken windows, primed but not yet painted trim, half-done projects.
4. Sheds. This category really includes all outbuildings and accessory structures. On one of my recent sales, the officer required the removal of a tree house! On another sale, the removal of a pre-fabricated Tuff Shed. Can you have sheds at LOP? Yes, but they have to be approved by ECC. Can you have tree houses? No.
5. Fences. This is a complex topic unto itself, and I wont attempt to get into it now. Can you have fences at Lake of the Pines? No. (except when you can).
6. Propane tank screens. In the olden days, propane tank screens were built for aesthetic reasons, to visually screen the unsightly tanks from your neighbors. Not any more. Nowadays, propane tank screens are primarily designed to keep fire away from them. Beginning this year (2012), propane tank screens must be built so that there is no combustible material visible on the outside or inside of the screen.
This is a real pain in the ass–and also expensive and/or time-consuming.
I’ve built numerous propane tank screens for my clients over the years, and I will tell you for a fact, the new standards are easier “mandated” by the ECC than installed by the owners or contractors.
Before the newest set of ECC standards (2012), you would dig the holes, set 4X4 pressure treated posts in concrete, build a frame out of 2X4 or 2X2 douglas fir, and hang fire-resistant concrete hard-board sheets for siding, put a redwood rain cap on top, paint it to match the house. You might put on some decorative trim or lattice work so the screen did not look like the ugly, ungainly squat box that it is.
Cost in materials? About $200.
Now, you can not use pressure treated posts, 2X frames, or redwood rain caps unless you rip concrete hardi-board strips (or some other non-combustible material) and then clad all the wood on all sides. Ever ripped long strips of hardi-board? Ever tried to make the hardi-board edges match up with each other and look crisp and professional?
Or you can build the thing out of concrete block, or brick, or stone, or some other masonry technique.
Or you can hang the hard-board siding on a metal frame that you weld or bolt together.
Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Did I forget anything? Oh yes, before you build the screen, you have to submit plans to the ECC and have them approved. If you are lucky, ECC approval could take a few days. If you are unlucky, it could take several weeks.
Let’s see, you finally get into contract on the sale or purchase of your LOP home. Perhaps 10 days into your 30-day escrow, you get the compliance report and discover that you have to submit plans for a propane tank screen, then install it. By the time you get the plans together, ECC reviews and hopefully approves the plans, you may already be past the scheduled close of escrow.
What do you do?
If you are the seller, you can:
If you are the buyer, you can:
How much will it cost to hire a contractor to build a compliant propane screen? I have seen bids as high as $1800.
Here is the section from the CC&Rs that governs the inspection process:
*8.01 LOCATION OF INSPECTIONS
Routine inspections of all properties governed by these Standards may be conducted from the following locations:
(a) From all common roadways throughoutLakeof the Pines.
(b) From all areas of the golf course.
(c) From all navigable areas of the lake.
(d) From the parts of Combie Road that offer a view into Lake of the Pines properties.
(e) From the parts of Magnolia Road that offer a view into Lake of the Pines properties.
(f) From any other area in or around Lake of the Pines that is accessible without trespassing on private property.
(g) From neighboring properties if permission to pass is provided by the owner(s) / occupants of those properties.
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