Cedar Park man believes his HOA is denying his rights

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by ANDREW HORANSKY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 30 at 6:42 PM

CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Shortly after moving from California to Cedar Park last year, Larry Mathers added solar-powered lights to his yard. He then decided to get an estimate on eight solar panels for his roof. The cost would be $11,000.

“This will probably be our last home,” Mathers said. “If we can save by putting in solar and not having a bill, it works out for everyone.”

Mathers approached his homeowners association for permission to put in the panels. While they discussed it, he gathered signatures from several supportive neighbors.

This month the HOA came back with an answer -- no.

According to the HOA, the panels could go at the back of Mather’s roof, but not in the front, because they would be too visible from the street. The problem for Mathers is that they could not get as much sun there.

The company running his HOA is Real Manage. On Tuesday, KVUE visited their Austin offices and called their corporate headquarters. An employee told KVUE that there would be no statement, and that Real Manage’s Cedar Park manager does not talk to reporters.

Apparently, he is not talking to Larry Mathers either. Mathers’ latest letter from the HOA informed him that all future correspondence would now go through an attorney.

Some of his neighbors are just as frustrated as he is over the treatment.

“You have got to put the panels where the sun is going to be,” neighbor Kellie Hammersmith said.  “What’s the point of having it?”

Mathers, however, may now have a new law on his side. House Bill 362 recently went into effect. It states that an owner can place panels outside an HOA’s designated area if the panels increase energy production by more than 10 percent. Mathers said the difference between the front and back of his home is more than 60 percent.

At the same time, the HOA also has rights. It can still object to the panels, claiming they interfere with the use and enjoyment of the land, or because the community is still under development.

The matter may ultimately be left to a judge to decide.

Do you think HOAs wield too much power? Join the conversation on Facebook on The KVUE Insider or call/text our soundoff hotline at 512-522-8025.

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