LAKE ASBURY, Fla. -- A Homeowner's Association (HOA) serves a purpose, but when it clashes with property owners, the only resolution appears to be in court.
Such is the case with some owners in Clay County's Lake Asbury and the association responsible for the lakes.
"They have threatened us," said Wendy Hendricks, "and they have said 'if you don't pay us, we are going to take your home from you.'"
Hendricks is a Realtor and resident of Lake Asbury. She said she has paid her $50 fee, but she has decided to support a lawsuit to stop the association from imposing the fee.
"There is no authority; they have just made this decision they're going to do this," she said.
Hendricks said the fee gives property owners the key to access the lakes, boat ramps and pays for upkeep.
"They're trying to make it mandatory that whether you use the lake or not. You're going to give them 50 dollars," she said.
It is a complex situation. The Lake Asbury Community Association sold the boat ramps to the Lake Asbury Lake Lot Owners Association (LALLOA).
Since the developer did not create provisions when the community was developed, the association imposed the fee to maintain the ramps and the lakes.
"The lake association has filed against the Banken family. They're foreclosing on their home for$50," said Hendricks.
Liens have been filed against 25 other property owners, but only one is in a legal fight with LALLOA.
Attorney Stephen Lankes, resident and adviser to the lake lot owners association, said Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes gives LALLOA the authority to impose a fee.
He said the lakes have to meet state mandates and the ramps need maintenance; someone has to pay for the upkeep.
Lankes said the fee only affects those on who own lake front property, about 431 owners.
Lankes acknowledges it has been a contentious issue and they're all looking forward to a resolution from the courts.
The case is schedule for mediation, Hendricks said, some time this month.
Regardless of the outcome, things may never be the same again. Hendricks said all she wants is her peaceful community back.
First Coast News