If you are a "special" friend of the board or the committee, you can remove sod and replace it with mulch.  You don't have to add many plants, either. You can even "lose" your approval paperwork (of which the management company also lost) and the committee will automatically approve you again.  The below "lost" approval request was approved by J. Thomson, K. Coglianese, and M. Oertel.  View the entire application here.  It's named  "9010 re-applied for 2 yr missing paperwork - Approved by Thomspon - Coglinaese- Oertel. pdf".  There are no details about types of plants.

Yellow line indicates proposed placement of curbing

  • Decorative curbing is allowed in the community for all homeowners.  FALSE

Decorative curbing was denied for the owners of 9070.  Curbing was requested along the lot line to keep  diseased St. Augustine sod, on property owned by the HOA and CDD, from encroaching on 9070's property.  It would also keep the mulch from washing into the street because the ACC had been denying  plantings in the mulched area.  It is a fact that many Sanctuary homeowners installed curbing without getting approval and were not asked to submit approval after installation.  According to documents provided by Melrose Management and the Sanctuary HOA, 9070 is the only home to be denied decorative curbing. At least 40% of the homes within the Sanctuary have concrete curbing.  The denial letter states "this is not in keeping with the community."  View the denial letter in the online documents, click here.

Some special friends have been approved for certain types of landscaping rock instead of sod or mulch. Be aware that the Sanctuary CC&R's and architectural guidelines do not specify the type of rock permitted in your yard.  However, the ACC says it can't be the "shiny or sparkling white rock" because "someone" has decided they don't like it.  Drive around the neighborhood and you will notice all kinds of landscape rocks have been used.  When and where did the ACC and board decide what type of rock can be used?  Check out the neighborhood photos below and on the Photo Gallery page. Selective enforcement is alive and well!

  • Sod must be replaced with sod, therefore perennial peanut is denied as a groundcover FALSE

This is our favorite myth.  Even the ACC members believe this one, although ACC members are allowed to replace sod with mulch (Check out neighborhood photos on the Photo Gallery page). Somewhere a board member told another board member who told the architectural control committee that sod must be replaced with sod, unless, of course, it's approved for certain homeowners.  Neither the Sanctuary CC&R's nor the original architectural guidelines contain any mention about sod must be replaced with sod.  However, Kellly Coglianese, in an email to ACC members on July 15, 2010 (two months after the start of the lawsuit) specifically lectures the ACC on mulch, the possibility of attorney action for a homeowner, and reminds the committee members of recent discussions.  View the entire email in the main section of the online documents. All of the issues Coglianese mentions are her personal opinions. Any decisions on changes for architectural rules and regulations need to be at a meeting open to all lot owners and the lot owners need to know the discussion would be taking place. All of the rules and regulation changes were done at improperly noticed meetings without prior notification to the homeowners. 

Sanctuary at Oak Creek

Architectural Control Myths

or what the HOA board doesn't want you to know

"Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." Edmund Burke

  • The rules and regulations can and will be changed at whim by the Sanctuary at Oak Creek board members and/or the architectural control committee members.  FALSE

The board would love you to believe this myth. It is one of the reasons that they are so sure they have a legal lawsuit. They illegally hold meetings, change the rules according to their desires, and expect every other homeowner in the community to play along.  Of course, if you don't play along, you risk monthly violation letters, illegal fines, and maybe even a retaliation lawsuit.  What is not approved for one homeowner can be approved for another, which is selective enforcement.

One absurd example of this is the way the board approved the screen door rule.  How many of you had any idea that a screen door rule was even being considered?  How many of you were given the opportunity to comment on the type of screen door?  These are rules pertaining to your property!

  • Architectural Control Committee (ACC) meetings are held "whenever"  and the committee only has to erect a sign in a committee member's front yard when they hold a meeting.  FALSE

Architectural control committee meetings are required by Florida law to be open to all homeowners and to be scheduled the same way as board meetings.  A sign in the yard isn't sufficient notice. Until very recently, architectural control committee meetings were held whenever and wherever without any notice at all.  There are no meeting minutes for many of the years.  The meetings are held in a private home instead of a public meeting place.

How many of you would have liked to attend a meeting to hear the decisions of the committee when they were making a decision on your yard?  In every architectural approval request we submitted, we asked to be notified of the next meeting.  No one, including the prior Melrose Management community association manager, Tri Morrocco, ever gave us notice of when the ACC meetings would be held. 

  • The Sanctuary at Oak Creek, June 1, 2005 Architectural Design Guidelines state landscaping changes require architectural committee approval when "Landscaping changes...consist of more than 10% of the existing landscaping".  FALSE

This statement applies only to those homeowners whose yards are not closely monitored by control freak board members and nosy neighbors.  Don't be fooled by the 10% exemption.  The control freaks know how many plants were on your first approval and they know how many plants you now have in your yard. They even send other neighbors and workmen over to count your plants and trees. if you are a member of the queen's court or if you have the same old tired landscaping from 14 years ago, you don't have to worry about submitting for architectural approval.  In fact, if you are a "special" friend of a board member, you can landscape your yard however you want to, whenever you want, and even get a letter telling you how wonderful your yard looks!  Board members and friends of board members have added to their landscaping, in excess of the 10% rule, and have not even received a request to submit an architectural application.