As previously announced on the gardenoaks.org website, the 14th Appellate Court ruling in the Section 3 case was received November 14, and GOMO met in special Executive Session with legal counsel on November 27 to discuss the ramifications of the ruling and options moving forward.
The appeals court ruling affirmed that GOMO is improperly formed but the ruling was limited to the specific homeowners in the lawsuit. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling that GOMO’s bylaws were invalid. The court also found that GOMO has both the standing and the authority as a valid Texas homeowners’ association to enforce the deed restrictions. The Board discussed many issues, including whether to request a reconsideration of the appellate court’s ruling, and the effect on GOMO going forward if the ruling becomes final. There were still many unanswered questions and GOMO’s legal counsel was tasked with addressing these issues.
A decision was made to request the appellate court for a 30-day extension prior to responding to the court to allow time to gather further legal input to the numerous questions the board had. This was granted and ends on December 29.
The regularly scheduled GOMO Board meeting was already planned for December 20, and it was determined to publicize the meeting as a “Town Hall” style meeting to answer questions about the case, prior to the 30-day extension deadline. GOMO members may have temporarily seen this listing for a “Town Hall” meeting on the gardenoaks.org website. However, GOMO was subsequently notified by its attorney that he was in discussion with the homeowners’ legal counsel over a possible resolution to the case.
By the time this Gazette issue is published, a small group of GOMO Directors will have attempted to meet with the homeowners in the case and their legal counsel to see if there is a pathway forward. The December 20th Board meeting is no longer advertised as a “Town Hall” and it is expected that the Board will meet in executive session to discuss the outcome of the meeting as well as the other aforementioned issues. Whether or not a resolution is reached, the meeting will hopefully be the first step in rebuilding the sense of community in the neighborhood.
The current Directors of GOMO share a desire for expeditious resolution of this case, and are mindful of the fact that GOMO has twice been found by the courts to be improperly formed as to the specific homeowners in the lawsuit. GOMO also believes that a neighborhood is stronger with a deed restriction enforcing entity and is mindful of the many, many people who voted to create GOMO in the first place.
This case has been hard on the neighborhood, the litigants, and the volunteer neighbors who have made up the GOMO ranks over the years. The Directors are also aware of the role GOMO played in reaching this point and that there is some understandable criticism from the neighborhood. Regardless of how this case gets resolved, GOMO is taking steps to encourage neighborhood communication and input to improve its transparency and effectiveness.