Sample Letter to HOA regarding Landscape Dispute in Clark County, Nevada
Posted by: Mark Albright on Mon, Jan 05, 2015Share this post
To Whom It May Concern,
Please be advised that this firm has been retained by the
property owners of the above referenced home, Robert and Eileen , to
respond to your concerns that a 15-gallon plant has not yet been planted in
front of the HVAC unit in the side yard of said home. This letter will
constitute a supplement to Mr. J’s letter submitted to the Review Committee
on November 3, 2014.
As you know, Southern Nevada is one of the driest deserts in
the world and water is an issue of utmost concern to the local governmental
entities. As a result, Henderson, Nevada, has adopted codes and
regulations, in conjunction with other local municipalities, to ensure an
adequate water supply for the community. The lengthy drought in the South
West has resulted in the water level of Lake Mead, the primary source of local
water, to continue to drop, raising concerns over future water
availability. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), and local
municipalities, have adopted Drought Plans to reach conservation goals and
adopted other drought responsive measures.
Water use restrictions were originally implemented in 2003
to help conserve water and protect the future of our water resources. However,
the drought has only grown worse over the past decade. Consequently, most
governmental jurisdictions in the Las Vegas Valley, including Henderson, have
adopted laws that prevent a homeowners association (HOA) from restricting the
installation of water-saving landscape, often known as xeriscape. The SNWA web
site points out that in some cases, the HOA board may not even be aware of the
potential conflict between their own covenants (CC&Rs) and the water
restriction laws adopted by the local municipalities.
For example, Henderson Code Section 14.14.050 prohibits HOAs
from “imposing private covenants, conditions, restrictions, deed clauses or
other agreements between the parties which require the installation of turf or
prevent the utilization of water efficient landscaping, including but not
limited to xeriscape…” (emphasis supplied).
The Sun City Anthem Design Guidelines, at section AA,
require swimming pool and spa equipment to be located at the side of the house
near the utilities and A/C equipment. The Guidelines further provide that
the equipment should be screened from the street by an “L wall, a perimeter
wall or a retaining wall,” and further allow the wall to be constructed of
concrete block. My client, assuming that since pool pump equipment should
be near the A/C and screened by a small L wall or perimeter wall, built such a
beautiful wall (out of concrete block) to avoid the necessity of wasting more
water, particularly since the three prior bushes planted in that location have
The small screening wall (see photo of the subject screening
wall attached hereto) is acceptable to the neighbors and does a much better job
of screening the A/C equipment than a small bush. More importantly, it
does so without the addition of hoses, pipes and sprinklers in the area which
would waste water unnecessarily, particularly when compounded by some 7,800
homes in the Anthem community all adding bushes and water pipes to screen the
A/C unit in side yards. Since screening walls are acceptable on side
yards for hiding pool equipment, they should be similarly acceptable for HVAC
More importantly, our consultation with local water
conservation agencies leads us to the conclusion that the CC&R in question
is illegal under the Henderson Code since it attempts to compel and impose
landscape requirements on the homeowners which prevents the utilization of
water efficient landscaping. Here a small block wall to screen equipment
in the side yard is not only beautiful, but avoids the necessity of adding new
sprinklers to waste limited water resources.
I do note that section AA allows the perimeter block walls
to be painted “to match the color of the house.” If you would prefer that
we paint the small screening wall to match the color of the house, then please
so advice and we will purchase the paint and perform the work, while at the
same time conserving the precious water resources of our community and honoring
Henderson’s preference for water conservation in residential landscaping.
Please do not hesitate to call should you wish to discuss
this matter in greater detail.
About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.
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