A couple of people had contacted the blog lately regarding letters received from the HOA about their garage conversions.
Obviously the letters had caused a lot of concern for owners, that had perhaps used their garage space for games rooms or home theaters. These ‘bonus rooms’ are a big financial commitment to their property investment and perhaps not one they’d really look forward to ‘undoing’.
I took a few minutes to catch up with the HOA’s Oraine Williams, Sr, Community Association Manager who to me, offered a very balanced understanding of the current use of the garage spaces. His underlying message to owners was ‘not to panic’.
Oraine mentioned that he has no intent to cause any concern for owners and was working very intently on potential options that would create a long term solution without hardship to the homeowners, and the wider community.
He mentioned that the background to the heightened awareness stems from the rising level of ‘on street’ parking within the resort.
Oraine did mention that without a good solution, the resort would struggle if the roadways were increasingly obstructed as more homes are built.
I’d asked if there was any logic to particular homes being issued letters of concern, and Oraine was keen to point out that he has no agenda to ‘out’ the homes that had conversions, but would be obliged to issue the letters to any that do fall into his view.
If it helps, having known Oraine for some years now, I personally trust his word on that.
At the moment, Oraine made it clear that the letters were ‘advisory’, and I left our conversation thinking that the HOA has an appetite to fix the growing parking problem in the fairest possible way for everyone, including owners, builders, property managers and the community as a whole.
In the meantime my advice to owners would be to encourage guests to park sensibly on the driveways. If street parking can not be avoided, make every attempt to park on the same side of the street (good luck with that though!).
Just in case you are wondering; Oraine did want to emphasize that a range of owners had received letters, and that no consideration was being made about resident/non resident or property management company for each home.
He also mentioned that he was not actively ‘searching for homes’ to serve letters to.
Also if you are curious about the regulations of garage conversions, it’s a building regulation that enforces all homes within Reunion to have a two space garage;
Section U – Garages
No garage shall be used for any purpose which prevents the daily usage of the garage for the primary purpose of parking at least two (2) operating automobiles.
As soon as we know more about Oraine’s plans, we will let you know of course.
If the resort had a common parking area for overspill, owners and property managers could encourage guests to park their vehicles there instead of in the street.
Unfortunately the resort changed the access rules to the shuttle bus service, but a rethink could easily and quickly alleviate the problem, and give much needed patronage to the often deserted bars and restaurants within the main building.
UPDATE July 30th 2015
I thought it best not to post an actual image on Reunion Resort’s official rental home website, but we did notice that the Resort itself operates and openly markets vacation homes with converted garage units, in clear contravention of the above ruling. Here’s an excerpt from a recently built home, complete with a very visible garage conversion;
the game room complete with billiards table, shuffleboard table, multi-game arcade machine with over 1200 games, dartboard, bar and flat-screen TV
With that in mind, I think that it would be very unreasonable for the various stakeholders within Reunion, to penalize owners, or prevent existing, or future conversions.