Quality of Experience: 

Favoritism and Shifting Bylaws

There is an almost pathological obsession with rules and fines at Beaver Ridge, some of which are enforced subjectively.  Much like the tax code, it is nearly impossible to fully comply, thus putting each owner at the mercy of the president, who lives on site and has the power to make their experience both unpleasant and expensive if he is not accorded proper respect.  The catch is that it is difficult to respect someone who has a different set of rules for himself.

While ordinary owners are held quite literally to a "zero-tolerance" policy, entitled members of the board routinely bend the rules to accommodate their own interests.  One example is the policy with pets.

Until 2008, the president kept pets when it was against the bylaws.  This made it difficult for him to issue fines to other owners who thought they could do the same.  His solution was to amend the rules with mildly ambiguous language which allows pets, but gives him the personal authority to issue fines and evictions.

Pets are one of several issues in which 'violations' are correlated to those owners with whom the president has had personal issues.  Smoke detector batteries are another.  A fine will be issued to one owner while another simply receives a friendly tip that they have been done a favor.  Even when it comes to association fees, there is strong evidence that those loyal to the board are effectively under a different set of rules. 

Owners and residents have discovered that the president is not above creating his own "rules" on the spot to support his immediate preferences.  He decides who qualifies as a 'guest' or 'invitee', for example, with the definition varying not by the guest's relationship to the owner but by the owner's relationship to him. 

Beaver Ridge is effectively the personal property of the president, for whom relationships are calculated rather than emotional.  The arbitrary interpretation and enforcement of bylaws creates a system of reward and punishment that keeps it this way.  While working to his benefit, it can also be a disincentive to knowledgeable investors.  According to a former owner, "Prices are cheap, but do you really want a place where you have to walk on eggshells around a guy who flips out over the least little thing?" 

This speaks to the personality of an individual who demands the highest level of respect for himself while acting in complete disregard for the needs of those who are of no use to him.  Some have complained that he takes special pleasure in hurting others when it is not necessary. 

Next Issue: Power and Representation