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Kennewick reservist faces threats over landscaping

Lt. Burke Jensen was called five months ago to serve his country in Kuwait. Now he is being told to get an irrigation system and landscaping on his property as soon as possible or face legal action from the Oak Hill Country Estates Homeowners' Association.

By John Trumbo

Tri-City Herald

KENNEWICK — Burke Jensen moved to Kennewick about a year ago, bought a nice house in the country south of the city and began to settle into a new job at Energy Northwest.

Then came the call five months ago to serve his country in Kuwait.

So Jensen, who says he is an involuntarily mobilized reservist, headed off, leaving behind a pregnant wife, a young son and a 2.5-acre lot with not a spot of landscaping.

Now, Lt. Jensen is being told to get an irrigation system and landscaping on his property as soon as possible or face legal action from the Oak Hill Country Estates Homeowners' Association.

"I really don't give a [expletive] where he is or what his problem is," said Chick Edwards, owner and developer of the 47-lot subdivision at the south end of Oak Street in Kennewick.

"It doesn't matter to me," said Edwards, who insists Jensen has violated terms of the homeowners-association covenants requiring that landscaping be completed within one year after an occupancy permit is issued for a home.

"[Jensen] doesn't have the right to walk away from his obligation," said Edwards, who as the developer is the only member of the homeowners association. "I have most of the property still, so I am the homeowners association," he said.

Jensen's situation is complicated by the fact his wife chose to return with her son to stay with family on the East Coast for the duration of her pregnancy, leaving the home unoccupied.

Jensen's attorney, Tony DeAlicante of Redmond, Ore., said Jensen had paid a landscaper thousands of dollars to design and install an irrigation system and hydroseed the large lot this summer.

But DeAlicante said it appears the landscaper may have abandoned the job with the irrigation system only partially completed and no seeding done.

DeAlicante said Jensen also would like to find a renter for his home, but Edwards said that would be a commercial use not allowed by the homeowners association.

"He's not going to rent it," said Edwards. He said an attorney who has reviewed the covenants agrees.

An e-mail on Friday from Jensen to DeAlicante, which was provided to the Herald, says several of Jensen's fellow employees at Energy Northwest are helping to clear the property of weeds and blow out sprinkler lines, if necessary, to make sure they will not freeze during the winter. It also says a neighbor used a tractor to mow weeds.

Rick Miller, whose home is in sight of Jensen's, said he's sympathetic to Jensen's situation. "Given the circumstances, it doesn't bother me," he said. "He can't control the circumstances."

DeAlicante said he has written Edwards to tell him the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prevents any civil legal action from being taken against someone on active military duty overseas. He also maintains Edwards cannot legally prevent Jensen from renting his property.

But Edwards said he isn't backing down.

"This is a contract. I don't like the way his property looks. This clown gets to do what he wants, and I'm as mad as hell," he said.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008231428_reservist06m.html
 

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Dozens want to help landscape reservist's vacant home


Oct. 6--Dozens of people have offered to help a Kennewick resident get his new home landscaped while he is away on military duty in Kuwait.

The offers began coming soon after the Herald published a story Sunday about Burke Jensen being told by the developer of his subdivision that the home in the Oak Hills Country Estates south of Kennewick was an eyesore without the landscaping that was supposed to be in place within a year after Burke and his wife moved in.

Burke, who was involuntarily assigned as a reservist last May, paid a landscaper to do the irrigation and seeding on the 2.5-acre property this summer, but the landscaper apparently skipped out without finishing the job.

More than a dozen people called the newspaper Sunday, and many more included comments on the Herald's website, criticizing the developer, Chick Edwards, who said he alone represented the homeowners' association because he owns the largest amount of land in the project.

"This to me this is very unpatriotic not to understand that (Jensen) is doing his duty as a soldier," Jose Salazar said in an e-mail.

Steve Sutter, manager of Hertz Equipment Rental in Kennewick, said he wants to help "mobilize folks to get the landscaping done to satisfy Mr. Edwards."

Other offers have come from a contractor, a plumber, the Home Depot stores in Kennewick and West Richland, the First Christian Church in Pasco and many individuals, including some military reservists and the ACES organization in the Tri-Cities.

Jensen's wife, who is pregnant, chose to move in with family in another state while her husband is assigned in Kuwait, leaving their home unoccupied.

But some of Jensen's co-workers at Energy Northwest have been keeping an eye on the property and helping with weed maintenance.

Comments in reaction to the story can be reviewed at www.tricityherald.com. Select the story "Reservist faces landscape woes," published Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
kanthek said:
I have no sympathy for idiots who sign up for that HOA stuff. It is well known that this kind of stuff happens.
Well, I bought a home 3 years ago, and it has a HOA. In fact, ALMOST all the neighborhoods in my town have HOAs, unless you buy an older home, or live outside of the city (which means a well, butane tank and septic tank here).

So, not always a choice.

I pay $180 here. They do not do much in my HOA, however. I sometimes wish they did, with the way my neighbor's yards look.
 

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HOA's are not voluntary here in the subivisions. If you want to buy a house there, you pay the HOA. Their purpose is supposed to be to prevent people from parking wrecked cars in their front yard next to the old washing macine, or painting a house purple.

More often than not the people running them become little nazi's drunk on power. They don't feel important unless they are harrassing someone. They are rude and most of the time they have no idea what they are taking about.

I had one of these nazi's put a note in our mailbox "You have one week to prune your oak trees son that they match the others on you street."

Our trees are neatly pruned, but not to the point of looking like a poodle tail. They look naked like that. I had to call them and ask what part of the code was that covered in? They couldn't produce it so they had to drop it.

If you don't address them quick, they can fine you and put a lean on your home.
 

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I say we take off and nuke Chick Edwards house from orbit, its the only way to be sure.
:?

Edwards need's to participate in a little activity servicemen call a "blanket party".

That or wall to wall counseling.
 
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