GOMO(HOA) TRANSFER FEE PLEDGE WALL
Message from the GOCC Board
To owners who paid a fee to GOMO:
Many current and former owners would prefer that their share of any refund of Fees remain in Garden Oaks. To facilitate this, GOCC is assisting those owners with information and modifications to the website to support keeping the funds in the neighborhood.
- We are suggesting 3 steps owners should take:
- file a claim using this claim form by 8/27/2018
- make a pledge here
- once you are notified of your refund, use the PayPal link to allocate your refund to the activities you want to support
To owners in Section 4 or whose ownership pre-dates GOMO
The Board also recognizes that many owners who predate GOMO would like to pledge support for a forming a new HOA or for the programs once supported by GOMO (Constable & Beautification). If your ownership in Garden Oaks predates GOMO or you are a Section 4 owner and want to pledge, send us an email with the amount, your name and address. We will add you to the pledge wall.
GOMO Bankruptcy Important Dates:
- Meeting of Creditors
- Tuesday, May 29, 2018 3:00 PM
- Suite 3401, 515 Rusk Ave., Houston, TX 77002
- The debtor's representative must attend the meeting to be questioned under oath. Creditors may attend, but are not required to do so.
- Proof of Claim Deadline
- Monday, August 27, 2018
- Proof of claim is a signed statement describing a creditor's claim. A proof of claim may be obtained at www.uscourts.gov or any bankruptcy clerk's office. Or here
The slide deck shown at the April 11 Town Hall meeting has been uploaded and is available here: LINK
To keep the Home Page from being taken over by these updates, a full listing is available on the Q&A Page. The Q&A Page is a members only page.
Walker and Patterson, P.C.
4815 Dacoma St,
Houston, TX 77092
Anyone can fill out this PDF to get electronic notice of everything filed in the case. The form title says debtor but everyone can sign up for electronic notification. Send the completed form to:
Clerk, United States Bankruptcy Court
Houston, TX 77002
Church Parking Lot
Where: Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet
901 Sue Barnett Dr.
When: Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m.
What: Informational meeting about the proposed sale of and release of deed restrictions for the Garden Oaks Baptist Church’s parking lot on Shepherd between the Chase Bank and Gabby’s.
The neighborhood attorney, Austin Barsalou, will be present and available to answer questions.
The proposed restrictions for the church parking lot were amended at GOMO’s request to include Section 1 owners and the HOA as enforcers of the proposed restrictions. The text of the proposed agreement between the church and the developer may be reached at this LINK.
I have not vetted the information below with my fellow GOMO Directors, but I believe it to be accurate. It is based on prior conversations with Patrick Barry from Gulf Coast, GOMO Board meetings, and emails with the neighborhood attorney, Austin Barsalou. After this was posted on social media, some corrections have been made.
There have been some statements on social media lamenting specific information on the Gulf Coast-Section 1 proposal from GOMO. Frankly, there is limited bandwidth with a depleted GOMO Board in dealing with the conclusion of the Section 3 litigation, bankruptcy, and possible re-formation issues in addition to a project driven by a private enterprise on their timetable. There is only so much that we can do given our current circumstances.
First, a bit of clarification. I wish to distinguish below between our Garden Oaks Section 1 deed restrictions (referred to as “restrictions”) and the proposed new restrictions by Gulf Coast embedded in the Garden Oaks Baptist Church Declaration of Restrictions Document (referred to as “protections”).
Gulf Coast first approached GOMO towards the end of 2017 regarding their plans to purchase the Garden Oaks Baptist Church parking lot (in between Chase Bank and Gabby’s) and build a commercial center. Gulf Coast followed up in early 2018 with a similar message at the Garden Oaks Civic Club meeting. As a bit of history, these lots are residential, but the Garden Oaks Board of Trustees, successor to the Garden Oaks Company (an entity whose purpose was deed restriction enforcement) and 75% of Section 1 owners amended the Section 1 restrictions to permit these residential lots to be used by the Garden Oaks Baptist Church for non-residential, church purposes only.
Gulf Coast’s initial plan was to propose amending the current deed restrictions to remove the residential restrictions while placing additional restrictions in a separate agreement with the church (please see my additional attached post). This vote would have required approval by GOMO and a 75% vote of Section 1 homeowners. The additional protections laid out in the separate agreement between the developer and the church would have been only enforceable by the Garden Oaks Baptist Church, and not Section 1 or GOMO. This plan fell through once GOMO informed Gulf Coast that the Garden Oaks Company no longer exists and GOMO is not legally its successor. In discussion, it was then proposed to utilize a section of Texas Property Code recognizing GOMO as the neighborhood’s HOA and to hold a similar vote amending current deed restrictions and also requiring 75% of Section 1 homeowner approval. This process could have wrapped the additional new “protections” in the separate agreement into the Section 1 deed restrictions making them enforceable by GOMO. However there was concern by Gulf Coast regarding the legal standing of GOMO in light of the Section 3 litigation declarations (topic to be discussed at our Townhall this Wednesday) and the vote’s long-term legal standing.
This brings us to the CURRENT PROPOSAL. Gulf Coast is proposing a release of deed restrictions that requires the approval of the owners of over 50% of the frontage of the lots in Section 1. The legal distinction here is a process involving a release of deed restrictions rather than amending the deed restrictions. At this point, GOMO consulted with legal counsel who responded that this process is legal. However, GOMO remained concerned that the new “protections” would still only be enforceable by the Garden Oaks Baptist Church. GOMO successfully lobbied Gulf Coast to rewrite the Garden Oaks Baptist Church Declaration of Restrictions to allow for enforcement of the proposed “protections” by any Section 1 homeowner, GOMO, and any future Garden Oaks neighborhood HOA.
Our Section 1 deed restrictions reserve numerous lots for commercial use. In addition, there are several lots that have “turned” commercial since the inception of the neighborhood. An outstanding issue is whether the commercial lot owners can participate along with Section 1 homeowners in the proposed vote to release the deed restrictions on the Church parking lot. GOMO’s guiding principal has been that if the Section 1 homeowners agree to the release of the restrictions, and if our neighborhood can enforce the new “protections,” then it is acceptable. However, due to concern that the commercial lots might skew the result, we are trying to estimate the total linear feet of the old commercial lots, plus the new commercial lots and compare to an estimate of the total linear feet of the residential lots. This data analysis is still outstanding and obviously Gulf Coast has just commenced their campaign with Section 1.
The vote process is legal, and GOMO has worked to ensure that the new “protections” can be enforced by our neighborhood. GOMO takes no official stance on the vote, either for or against release of the deed restrictions. GOMO will support Section 1 in however they choose to vote. The following is my “unofficial” opinion of the current situation. The “protections” seem to be expansive, reasonable, and will serve to protect the neighborhood. These protections certainly go beyond what (doesn’t) exists on the other commercial lots in Section 1. I expect these lots will eventually go commercial, so there is consideration that if this vote fails, the next proposal could be deemed worse for the neighborhood. On the other hand, increased traffic will be a problem. Perhaps not as bad as what may occur with the new HEB further south, but Shepherd cannot be widened further to accommodate a dedicated turn lane. Our neighbors in Section 1A (directly behind the parking lot) will be most affected, and although Gulf Coast has promised to mitigate noise based on the types of renters they will allow (and opening/closing hours), our friends will be concerned about their future property values. Finally, the participation of commercial properties in the vote is a challenge for all of us. They are listed in the Section 1 deed restrictions, but GOMO does not send them notice of our meetings. The commercial properties have never attended a meeting and have not paid a transfer fee to the neighborhood. I’m not sure this rises to a valid legal argument prohibiting their participation, however.
If you have stayed with me this far, please allow me to make an appeal to attend the GOMO Townhall this Wednesday, April 11 from 7-8:30PM at the Garden Oaks Elementary School (GOMM). We will discuss the bankruptcy situation (and the bankruptcy attorneys have promised me they will attend), but most importantly begin the discussion of bringing the neighborhood together post-litigation. I have been on the GOMO Board for 6 months (I joined the day after receipt of the appellate courts verdict), and it is incredible how divisive this issue has become. I pride myself on process, and I joined GOMO as I had a vision for how to pull our neighborhood out of this. Bringing the litigation to a close was a goal, and bankruptcy will definitively solve the issues of possible transfer fee repayments and remove concerns of a process run by GOMO that has inherent conflicts of interest. GOMO will emerge re-organized and free of all legal and financial entanglements, but the hardest part will remain. GOMO is improperly formed, and that broken egg cannot be patched up again.
Interestingly, the Oak Forest HOA has a fairly robust model that may not necessitate re-formation, but if the neighborhood wants a HOA with a mandatory funding mechanism, it will require a re-formation campaign. With input from GOMO Directors, I have created a Powerpoint presentation that highlights some benefits of re-formation that can fix some of the procedural issues with GOMO. But nothing can be accomplished without first speaking to both the litigants and the GOMO Directors involved with the litigation case about what happened. In medicine, some errors can be based on perception or cognition, but the majority of errors are based on poor communication. I will request a group of those in attendance at the Townhall to form a committee to explore re-formation (2 members per Section, from all Sections 1-5) that will also examine the roots of the litigation and lessons learned.
The Garden Oaks Baptist Church parking lot issue demonstrates that the neighborhood needs a strong HOA, and currently it is weak with many unfilled Director positions and struggling to come to terms with the improper formation issue. I am hoping the Townhall on Wednesday will provide a fresh start.
Garden Oaks Constable Program Needs YOU!
Your Constable Program support for 2018 is needed!!.
The effort to increase the number of households in Garden Oaks supporting the Constable Program is necessary because of the loss of GOMO funding. We previously had three constable patrols, with two of those patrols being paid from GOMO surplus funds. That ended in 2016.
The civic club has signed two contracts for 2018, with each contract providing 40 hours of professional law enforcement officers patrolling in our neighborhood. Each contract costs about $77,000. These contracts will be funded by the residents of Garden Oaks. We need to raise $154,000 each year to keep these contracts in place. We need your support. Today!
If everyone in the neighborhood contributed, the cost would be about $110 per household annually. Currently we have right at 292 supporters (out of some 1400 households in GO), which is not nearly enough to fund two patrols for 2018. We are asking each household to contribute a minimum of $225 annually to keep the deputies patrolling in our neighborhood.
Following on, we are pushing hard to have enough funds to cover both patrols for the duration of 2018. We have distributed GO Constable Supporter signs to those who are paid for the current year and who have requested signs. If you would like a sign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help us keep our neighborhood safe!
Garden Oaks a "Hidden" Houston Gem
For those who don't know, Garden Oaks is one of Houston's best-kept secrets. Nestled among towering pines and grand magnolias, this quaint and architecturally unique neighborhood of approximately 1400 homes continues to attract attention and rave reviews.