I hesitated to include The Ongoing saga of my rogue mailbox story on the blog because I was concerned that some people would think my battle with the board was just because of it. But it is relevant because it’s about my outrage that the Board is fining people over petty issues when they don’t even have the authority to fine. I removed the post from Nextdoor on the advice or a friend who had good intentions. Mostly it was about the absurdity of it all. I don’t care what color my mailbox is. I do care about the Board governing according to the CCRs. This is what I posted. Word for word:
The ongoing saga of my rogue mailbox.
Ok. So why are all of the mailboxes black in The Shores? It’s not in the ACC Guidelines and the management company can’t tell me why.
A couple of months ago we painted and repaired our mailbox post and my husband went to get a new mailbox because ours was smashed by a branch from a tree. The Home Depot was all out of black mailboxes so he brought home a nicer bronze box. At first I thought “oh oh the HOA has been pretty touchy lately.” And then thought “it looks really nice and it’s dark enough so we are probably ok besides there are no guidelines in the the doc about the look and color of the actual box, just the post.”
A week later I get a call from the management company about someone on the board complaining that my mailbox was the wrong color. (Seriously, do these people have anything better to do?) The caller said it’s not a violation but that they would prefer the mailbox be black. I said I would talk to my husband about it and review the ACC Guidelines again. Upon viewing the guidelines I was still unable to locate anything about the color of the box.
Another week or so goes by. I get an email asking if I changed the box. I responded that I will be happy to if they could show me where in the docs the color of the mailbox is dictate. They replied with the paragraph about mailboxes from the ACC guidelines which I had already read a dozen times.
“Mailboxes shall be constructed and maintained in conformance with standard design as noted in Appendix A. House numbers, to match the standard two sided raised numbers painted black are required below the mailbox.”
This obviously means the house number plaque must match the color and design of the standard post with the raised letters painted black. However, the HOA claims the word “mailbox” is somehow implied in that sentence. It’s not.
The actual mailbox itself or its color isn’t addressed. It isn’t addressed in Appendix A either. In fact, the Appendix A is very clear about the post and the number plaque but nothing about the mailbox. (See the screenshots of the mailbox rules as they appear in the ACC Guidelines)
So another week or so goes and I get a violation notice. (Remember, I was told it’s not a violation)
I respond with a letter pointing out that I am not in violation of the rules because the post and number plaque conforms and there are no rules about the actual mailbox in the ACC guidelines. And if they want us all to have black mailboxes they just need to change the guidelines to address the color of the mailbox. In the meantime it stays. (They also better address the shape because I am this close to buying an alligator shaped mailbox and painting it black.)
I get another letter. I wrap my mailbox with a vinyl wrapper that is black with a peace sign and I email a photo of it to the management company. I get told that I am not supposed to decorate my mailbox. LOL. Nothing in the guidelines states I can’t decorate may mailbox.
So on the day of the last board meeting I get a link to attend because they will be discussing my mailbox. (Eye roll). I respond that I am unable to attend because I have more important things to do and to please stop harassing me and work on changing the rules instead.
The next day I get an email stating the board voted on Thursday to recommend I be fined for my bronze mailbox. Now there will be a meeting of the fining committee to decide whether to fine me for this non violation. I am guessing they will fine me. It’s $100 per day up to $1000. I can take the hit. I am fortunate like that. (If any fining committee members are reading this feel free to chime in. On second thought you might not want to reveal yourself as a person who would fine your neighbors. I would like to show up at this meeting so please give me plenty of notice.)
If you can also take the hit might I suggest having a little fun with your mailbox and ditch the cheap black one. I am looking for one shaped like an alligator. I won’t be painting my mailbox black however and I won’t be buying a new one (unless I find that alligator shaped on). Currently I have it wrapped in a vinyl wrapper with an American flag printed on it.
It really isn’t just about the color of the mailbox. It’s about the HOA board overstepping their bounds. If I don’t stand up to them this time who knows what they will decide is in the ACC Guidelines that isn’t there (maybe they will find Trump’s missing Georgia votes. (LOL) or slip new rules into the docs like making every owner install landscape lighting, charging stations or paver driveways. They have already changed the ACC Guidelines to include the ability to levy fines. I guess they can do that without a member vote. So now they can decide that if they don’t like wreaths on doors or cute garden signs they can threaten you with fines. Prior boards and Management companies weren’t as hostile. I guess some people would prefer to live in North Korea type conformity and those people are governing us.
This post got a lot of replies before I deleted it.
The Board voted to fine me $100 a day for having a bronze mailbox. So rather continuing to make this issue about the mailbox, I replaced the bronze metal one with a black plastic one similar to my neighbors’. They told me that the plastic one does not comply. Thus, I replaced the plastic one with a metal one so I can focus on getting the Board and RealTime Property Management to comply with the CCRs instead of making this a personal mailbox issue. Kind of happier with the metal one because I can wrap it with “holiday decorations”. Right now it is wrapped in a Pride peace sign.
Peace to all – Queen of Chaos