Weeds Between Walls and Sidewalk

Our community manager recently learned that the association takes responsibility for weed control in the area between the walls along streets and the adjacent sidewalks. She was quite apologetic for having written a few weed notices for those areas recently… to owners on the adjacent lots.

Not to worry… those notices have been quashed, kaput, gone.

Want to know more about why the association takes care of them?

Hotly Debated at One Point

Historically, the board had always had the landscapers take care of this area (between the wall and sidewalk). I can’t remember the exact timing of when this happened, but at one point there was some notion to no longer do this (as a money-saving initiative, I think).  Homeowners caught wind of this potential change and (those that got involved – less than a dozen) spoke against it at a meeting. 

Governing Documents

Having studied the CC&Rs, I pointed out several items that — to me — made it very clear that these are the association’s responsibility.

The CC&Rs have two relevant definitions in Article 1:

1.12 “Common Area” means (a) Tract B, Tracts D through H, inclusive, Tracts J through N, inclusive, Tracts P-1 through P-9, inclusive, and Tracts Q-1 through Q-6, inclusive, Rio Crossing, according to the plat recorded in Book 676, Page 10, in the records of the County Recorder of Maricopa County, Arizona, together with all improvements situated thereon and (b) all land, together with all improvements situated thereon, which the Association at any time owns in fee or in which the Association has a leasehold interest for as long as the Association is the owner of the fee or leasehold interest, except that Common Area shall not include any Lot the Association acquires by the foreclosure of the Assessment Lien or any deed in lieu of foreclosure.

CC&Rs Section 1.12

1.2 “Areas of Association Responsibility” means (a) all Common Area; and (b) all land, and the Improvements situated thereon, located within the boundaries of a Lot or a public right-of-way which the Association is obligated to maintain, repair and replace pursuant to the terms of this Declaration, the Plat or other Recorded document executed by the Declarant or the Association.

CC&Rs Section 1.2

Farther down in the document in section 8, there’s this:

8.6 Maintenance of Walls other than Boundary Walls. Walls (other than boundary walls) located on a Lot shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot. Any wall which is placed on the boundary line between a Lot and an Area of Association Responsibility shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot, except that the Association shall be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the side of the wall which faces the Area of Association Responsibility. In the event any such wall encroaches upon the Common Area or a Lot, an easement for such encroachment shall exist in favor of the Association or the Owner of the Lot, as the case may be. Any wall which is placed on the boundary line between a Lot and public right-of-way shall be maintained, repaired and replaced by the Owner of the Lot, except that the Association shall be responsible for the repair and replacement of the surface of the wall which faces the public right-of-way.

CC&Rs Section 8.6

More of My Opinion/Interpretation

So the Tracts where the green belts are located are pretty clearly included in what the association must maintain.  We know the city maintains the streets and the sidewalks (except the sidewalks which are clearly on Common Areas – that means Rio Crossing maintains the walkway from Highland to the Roma Park area, and the sidewalks around and to/from the playgrounds and picnic Ramada). 

So in my personal opinion (not a lawyer, and not representing a board policy here), this boils down to the following:

  • Everything on a Lot is the responsibility of the owner.  Walls are situated on the property lines, making them “common walls”; the owner is responsible for “their side of the wall”, and the association is responsible for the side of any wall that faces onto Common Areas or Areas of Association Responsibility.
  • Everything on Common Areas is the responsibility of the association.
  • The city maintains our streets and gutters, street lights, and any sidewalks not on Common Area.  (A close examination of the properly lines shows that the sidewalks in front of homes is not on the Lot, but on “city property”.)
  • Everything else in Rio Crossing that is not a Lot and is not a Common Area and not maintained by the city is then an Area of Association Responsibility.

This means — in my opinion — that the following items are the responsibility of the association to maintain:

  • Gravel areas between walls and sidewalks – and any weeds or other living things that grow there!
  • All mailbox units.  (These are located on what is technically Avondale city property/easements. I believe the post office maintains individual boxes, but the unit itself, from the ground up – excluding the individual compartments – is the association’s responsibility.  I think of it like a condo.)
  • All doggie stations and garbage cans, and their supports and concrete pads, etc.

So, one more time: “I’m not a lawyer” and “these are just my opinions”, but it’s backed by facts I’ve checked out pretty thoroughly.  And I thought some of you might appreciate the information.