Conroe, February 23 – The Saturday, February 11, 2017, meeting of the April Sound Property Owners Association (“ASPOA”) to elect new members of the community’s Architectural Control Committee (“ACC”) raised a lot more questions than it answered. Numerous procedural irregularities surrounded the vote and the animosity within the community was intense. While the incumbents may deserve re-election, they should stand for election to give the voters within April Sound a fair chance to decide.
For several years, a large group of April Sound homeowners have argued for more careful enforcement of April Sound’s restrictive covenants than the ACC has seemed to want. New construction or external modifications of existing construction must receive approval from the ACC before the work may begin. Andrea Fahrenthold, an experienced real estate appraiser, is a resident of April Sound and has led the efforts to reform the Committee and its work.
On July 7, 2016, Fahrenthold’s group presented a petition to the ASPOA Board of Direectors which called for an election to remove and replace the three ACC members. The ASPOA Board acknowledge receipt of the petition and declared that it was valid. For some inexplicable reason, the Board took seven months to hold the election and, when it did, the election was rather strange.
On February 11, the Board herded members of the community into the clubhouse so that several dozen people were turned away from the meeting and could not participate. The Board instructed security guards at the gate of April Sound to turn away the news media, even if specific members of the news media were named guests of people living in the community.
Rather than conducting an election with ballots for April Sound residents to vote for the ACC candidates of their choice, the ASPOA Board provided a strange ballot that merely allowed the voter to choose to “continue the present service of ALL THREE (3) members of the current” ACC or to remove all three. Voters had no opportunity to vote for any individual candidate for the ACC. If an April Sound resident wished to remove one ACC member and replace him or her, while keeping the other two incumbents, that resident had no way to express that vote.
The ASPOA Board contrived a method of maintaining control of the ACC essentially forever. It is likely when Montgomery County suffers a complete fiscal collapse due to the overspending of its County Judge Craig Doyal and his cronies on the Commissioners Court in ten or so years, the control of the ACC of April Sound will still remain in the same clique’s hands.
There is no question that emotions in the meeting ran high. ASPOA Board followers likened Fahrentholds’ group to “a band of terrorists.” Fahrenthold’s group had some strong language to offer in return.
Regardless of which group is in the right, the election simply was not one. Tin horn Latin American dictators may hold elections like that, but we just don’t act that way in the greatest democracy in the world.