Aidan Smith - a Boy Scout in BSA Troop 1103 who lives in the Settlement is participating in a fund raising program called Flags Across America It is a great program where you fly an American Flag in front of your house during seven U.S. holidays. The flag is 3 foot by 5-foot and mounted on a 10-foot pole. For a yearly subscription of $35 he will personally install, put up, take down, and store the flag for you. He takes care of everything and you get to enjoy the flag proudly displayed. All proceeds go directly to scouting and support its purpose of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. If you are interested in participating in the program, please e-mail him at [email protected].
This program is also offered by Tate Hinton, a scout in BSA Troop 608 who also lives in the Settlement. Tate can be contacted at (832) 332-8032.
A reminder that posting of notices such as those advertising garage sales or lost or found pets etc. is not permitted on street signs, stop signs or streetlamps. These signs detract from the aesthetics of our subdivision and moreover they are in violation of Texas law. Any signs found posted illegally may be removed and you may also receive a citation. If you need to put up a sign, make sure that you put it on its own stake or frame and respect resident property rights. Any resident who observes illegally posted signs on traffic signs or street lights is encouraged to remove them.
To convey to your neighbors that you have a lost or found pet you can send an email, preferable including a photo, to the webmaster or post it on social media. The webmaster will forward any emails he receives to those who have registered their addresses on our Petlovers distribution list. If you have not already added your email address to this list via the Registration page of our web site www.wsmaonline.org please consider doing so as the more residents who join this list the more effective the pet repatriation service becomes and the fewer owners of lost pets are tempted to post illegal signs around our neighborhood. Thanks!
the prestigious Katy community
A Request to Dog Walkers
Although most dog owners do abide by theHarris County leash laws, which are published in each edition of the newsletter, regrettably some owners do not. The biggest problem about which the Board receives regular complaints remains owners who let their dogs out without any supervision at all. However, there are others who, although not letting their dogs out alone, will let them run free without adequate supervision while walking them around the subdivision. This is a major cause for concern to other dog owners who are walking their animals on a leash, only to have them aggressively approached by these unleashed dogs. And, of course, we have the unending complaints of owners failing to pick up after their dogs. This is a problem all along the dog walking routes, but seems to be particularly bad on corner lots. So, once again, those owners who do have dogs are asked to PLEASE be responsible and show respect for your neighbors. Thanks for your cooperation.
Taking Care of Your Grass
Here are a couple of excellent articles on this subject from folks who should know - Texas A&M!.
Concern continues to be expressed by residents regarding the many vehicles that are parked on the streets throughout our subdivision. This seems to be a problem which is getting worse despite earlier request in the newsletter and on this web site for residents to be sensitive to the inconvenience to their neighbors and the possible danger that can arise from this practice. The inconvenience includes such issues as making it more difficult for your neighbors to get in and out of their driveways and for the mail delivery personnel to access mailboxes. Cases were cited in which mail was not delivered for this reason. But the more important issue is the obstruction that is caused especially when cars and trucks are parked on opposite sides of the streets restricting passage of large vehicles, of which school buses and fire trucks are examples. There is also a real concern about the danger that cars parked on the streets can cause to children who may not be sufficiently mature to exercise the required caution around parked vehicles.
In addition to residents who just leave their vehicles parked in the street in the evenings, rather than moving them into their driveways, there are some cases in which vehicles are so parked for extended periods. As a reminder, Article 18 of our deed restrictions addresses this by stating in part “No auto, truck, boat, boat rigging, camper, motor home, mobile home, or other trailer, vehicle or equipment of any kind shall ever he left parked on any street right-of-way adjacent to any lot or in any driveway on any lot, except for temporary parking incident to the contemporaneous use of such vehicle or equipment.” Residents who ignore this requirement can expect to receive deed restriction violation letters.
But the answer to this problem is for residents to show concern for their neighbors by not leaving vehicles on the street for extended periods and, whenever possible, parking on their driveway. In cases where this is not possible, then care should be taken to avoid parking across from another vehicle such that the thoroughfare is obstructed.
Please be sensitive to this issue and help maintain our well deserved reputation for being a great place to live. Thanks!
To report a burned out street light, any resident may call CenterPoint directly at 713-207-2222. However, for those with Internet access, you may also make this report on-line. For those interested, the website address to do this is http://cnp.centerpointenergy.com/outage. Then enter your contact details so that they can get back to you if more information is required. On the following page enter the details of the light(s) with the problem. Just as you would if reporting the outage via the telephone, you will need to provide the street address where the light is located and the 6-digit number that is prominently displayed on the front of the pole. Under normal circumstances the crew will be out to fix the problem within 7 working days.
Anyone noticing a streetlight that is out or has some other malfunction is encouraged to report the problem to CenterPoint via either of these two methods without delay. Our Association is charged for every street light each month irrespective of whether or not the light is functioning. So please help us get value for your hard earned money!
One question that is frequently asked by residents is in regard to the responsibility for fences between adjoining homes. This issue in not addressed in the Deed Restrictions so how it is handled becomes a matter of precedent. Most homeowners discuss it between themselves and come to an agreement on how to share the cost of repairing or replacing such a fence. The most usual approach is to split the cost on a 50:50 basis. This seems the most equitable and “good neighborly” approach. In some cases the homeowner who has the “good side” of the fence – i.e. that with no posts or cross members showing will pay 70 percent, but this is probably a minority situation. If one neighbor simply refuses to contribute to the cost, then it can become a legal issue and may come down to the position of the fence relative to the lot boundaries as shown on a homeowner’s Lot Survey. However, the Board is not aware of such a dispute ever reaching this stage. As both homes benefit from a fence then the homeowners in the vast majority of cases are prepared to share the cost equitably.
Some residents have raised questions regarding the condition of the streets within our subdivision asking where the responsibility lies for rectifying such problems as potholes and crumbling concrete around manhole covers and storm drains. The answer is that the streets belong to the County and therefore the County is responsible for funding and carrying out any required repairs. Residents are encouraged to bring specific problems to the attention of Commissioner Raddack's office, the telephone number for which is 281-463-6300.
This telephone number is also listed on the “Telephone Numbers” page of this web site.
Although there are many advantages of living in a mature subdivision with so many beautiful trees in our yards, there is, however, one particular disadvantage. That is the fact that after a number of years the same trees that give us so much pleasure also cause us problems when they are close to foundations, paths or driveways. As the roots grow and expand they can cause cracks and often raise large slabs of concrete many inches. The results of this effect can be seen on many of the homes in our subdivision and is becoming a cause for concern. This issue was discussed at the June 20 Board meeting and an action was taken by the Deed Restrictions committee to make a note of particularly severe cases for discussion at the next Board meeting. Owners of homes with such problems might want to begin thinking (and budgeting!) for repairs that will inevitably be required to their properties to address such problems.
After performing yard work sweep up all yard debris and place in bags for garbage pick-up, rather than hosing down or blowing the debris into the street.
After the cessation of storm or wind events, promptly sweep all yard debris into bags.
Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent those pollutants from blowing into the street.
Do not over water your lawn. Overwatering causes water to drain into the street carrying loose yard debris along with the water.
Instruct all employees or persons performing yard services on your behalf on the proper disposal of yard debris, and particularly, instruct them to not blow yard debris into the street storm sewer drains. Residents are responsible for the actions of those workers.
In response to complaints raised by some residents, a few years ago the Board took up the issue of loose cats in the subdivision. To collect facts and the opinions of a wider sample of residents on the extent of the perceived problem an email was sent out to all registered residents. Thirty Eight responses were received. Of these fourteen believed we have a problem and favor the Board taking action, such as trapping, to remove them; fourteen were opposed to trapping - many believing that the cats are useful in keeping vermin down; and ten replies were informational in nature.
Marianne Hays, the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) Field Operations Manager who was consulted on the subject emphasized that The Harris County Leash Lawprecludes the use of Trap/Neuter/Return programs favored by organizations such as Alley Cat Allies to control the feral cat population and anyone who releases a cat in Harris County is subject to prosecution. As stated in the brochure published by HCPHES “The occupant/head of household of any premises on which a dog or cat customarily returns for a period of 7 days is presumed to be the owner of that animal”. This person is required to license and vaccinate the animal and house it in accordance with the provisions of the Leash Law. The preferred approach to handling loose cats is to catch and remove them using traps which HCPHES will loan to residents. There is no cost for providing the traps and subsequently collecting a trapped animal. Alternatively a person with a trapped cat can, for a fee, have the SPCA pick it up. No distinction is made between feral or loose domestic cats. If a cat is roaming free outdoors it can be caught in a baited trap by any resident. No license or permit is required. If a resident is known to be persistently harboring cats the resident can be reported to HCPHES which will have an officer visit that residence to explain the full implications of the law to them. If the resident ignores the warning and persist in harboring the animals they will be issued a citation.
As is evident from the email responses this is a very divisive issue with roughly half of our residents wanting the Board to take some action to reduce the loose cat population and the other half opposing it. The Board has therefore decided that rather than hiring a contractor to trap the loose cats as was originally envisaged, the residents who want the cats removed should take responsibility for initiating the action. Thus those residents who perceive a loose cat situation to be a problem should contact Crest with specific information, and if possible, photographic documentation.Crest will then send a letter to the violator’s residence asking that he or she either restrain the pet(s), or if feral, that they stop harboring them. If the resident who made the report lets Crest know that the violation persists, Crest will refer the violator to HCPHES which will send an officer to the residence and begin the process that could end in a citation being issued. Alternatively the complaining resident can request a trap from HCPHES and take direct action to remove the animals themselves.
Those residents who are allowing their cats to roam the subdivision and/or are feeding feral cats are asked to respect the rights of their neighbors and to comply with the provisions of the Harris County Leash Law. To do otherwise could result in the loss of a pet or to face unpleasant legal consequences. Your cooperation will be appreciated.
“The owner of a lot shall be entitled to display one sign thereon from time to time for purposes of selling or renting the property; provided, that each face of such sign shall be rectangular in shape and shall not exceed five (5) square feet in surface area, and that the content of such sign be limited to the words "For Sale" or "For Rent", the name and telephone number of the seller or real estate agent, and the words "Shown by Appointment Only". No other sign, advertisement, billboard or advertising structure of any kind may be erected or maintained within sub-division boundaries or within the right-of-way of any street bordering the aforenamed subdivision without first having obtained the consent in writing of the Board of Directors of the hereinafter named Association. Said Board of Directors shall have the right to remove any unpermitted sign, advertisement, billboard or structure which is erected or placed on any lot or adjacent easement or right-of-way without such consent, and in so doing, shall not be subject to any liability for trespass or other tort in connection therewith.”
Recognizing that many homeowners do in fact display signs which are in violation of the above restriction without applying for Board approval, this section expands on ARTICLE 17 to define the type, size and placement of signs as defined below for which the Board is prepared to grant blanket approval.
Your cooperation is requested in being sensitive to the fact that not every resident is awake and up early in the morning. For these people, early morning grass cutting, tree trimming roof replacement as well as noisy use of, or work on, motorcycles, cars or boats and other like activities by their neighbors or the contractors hired by them can be very disturbing. This is particularly annoying on weekends. To avoid a nuisance to your neighbors, please refrain from beginning such noisy activities before 8:00 am. Thanks!
Some residents have questioned why the grass surrounding our perimeter fence is not mowed consistently. This is a good question but is one that doesn’t have a very satisfactory answer. The reason is that the land surrounding our fence is parceled off into fifteen tracts owned by nine different entities. Harris County Precinct 3 also owns rights-of-way that extend a few feet each side of the roads surrounding our subdivision and the center strip along Colonial Parkway. In addition to the County, of all the owners of these tracts only the MUD#61and our Association mow on a regular basis.
Our Association mows the property which we own along Colonial Parkway about six times each year. We also mow narrow strips along parts of the fence where we need that done to give us access for fence maintenance. MUD#61 periodically mows the property it owns north along Mason Road as far as the Earl of Dunmore entrance. The unkempt triangular section between the intersection of Mason Road and Colonial Parkway is owned by Westside Venture Ltd. to which we continue to send requests to have them mow on a more frequent basis.
Posting of Notices on Street Lights and Traffic Signs
The Board passed a resolution at its July 17 meeting to require anyone who takes down pickets from the perimeter fence to replace those that have been removed with new cedar pickets using treated wood screws or best industry practice materials (aluminum ring-shank nails, etc.) to attach to the 2x4s. If the 2”x4”s are damaged then these should be replaced with new treated pine 2”x4”s. The top rail should be 2”x6” cedar and the bottom rot board should be 2”X6” treated pine.
The use of treated pine pickets on the perimeter fence is prohibited as these warp in the sun and the Board has found that when the old pickets are taken down, especially those that are nailed rather than screwed, the pickets split, break off edges and are for the most part un-fit to for re-use.
We would appreciate the cooperation of all residents whose property borders the fence line to pass this requirement along to any contractors which may at any time need to temporarily remove pickets from the perimeter fence to perform work in their rear yard.
Discarded Trash in our Recreation Area and Neighborhood-
In addition to beer cans in our recreation area there are a lot of other items that are being discarded detracting from the quality of our facilities. These include such things as soft drink cans, water bottles, food wrappers, tennis ball containers old tennis balls and the like. The Association does not employ anyone to clear up this junk so users of our facilities are strongly requested to discard such material in the trash cans provided. In the tennis courts there are small trash containers for this purpose. But at the end of the games when players leave they should empty these containers into the large trash can near the playground just outside of the tennis court gates as this is the only container which is serviced by our trash collection service. Sponsors of the tennis leagues are reminded that, as defined in their signed league agreements. it is their responsibility to ensure that all trash is removed prior to their departure from the courts.
Our recreation area is not the only place where trash is being discarded. In walking around the subdivision trash can be seen alongside the streets, on people’s yards, including “decorating” our foliage at the entrance esplanades. This does not enhance our experience in living in this great subdivision nor add to its attraction to potential purchasers. PLEASE let’s all work together to maintain the attractiveness of our neighborhood. Thanks!
This issue was researched In response to a query by a prospective residents. The answer was obtained from the Chief Prosecutor of the Harris County D.A's office. He told the officer who coordinates our security patrol that the only situation in which it is legally permissible for golf carts to operate on public streets in the County is in Master Planned Communities (which usually have golf courses within their boundaries) in which the deed restrictions for that community approve the use of these vehicles for driving to and from these recreational facilities.
As the Settlement does not fall into this category, the use of these vehicles on our streets would be illegal.
One of the benefits of living in our area is that it affords us the opportunity to spend evenings outside on our patios and, for those who have them, around our pools. However, there is a downside in that our homes are close together and many of our neighbors leave early for work and turn in for the evening after the 10:00 PM news! The issue is the level of noise, both from music and loud conversation and laughter that sometimes accompany such outdoor activities. No one wants to curb the pleasure of those enjoying the good company of friends on warm summer evenings, but for the sake of your neighbors, when engaged in such activities please give a little thought as to whether the noise level might be disturbing the sleep of those who live close by. Your neighbors would really appreciate the consideration you would be showing them by keeping the noise level low. Many thanks for your cooperation.
Barking dogs are an annoyance to many residents. When new to the neighborhood and left outside it is not unusual for dogs to be somewhat distressed and to bark until they become more familiar with their surroundings. But it seems some are slow learners! And when there are multiple dogs left outside at a residence, or when dogs are within barking distance of others, the noise can become a real problem for those living close by. This is particularly so when it occurs at night often in response a dog’s territory being invaded by a loose cat or a wild animal. But it can be equally disturbing during the day especially for residents with babies who need to sleep. So if you are a dog owner please be sensitive to the fact that some of your neighbors might not be as tolerant of your barking dog as you are and if your dog is one of the offenders please give some thought as to what steps you might take to minimize the distress being caused to your neighbors. Thanks.
All signs shall be professionally made and shall be rectangular in shape and shall not exceed 5 (five) square feet in surface area. An exception to the rectangular requirement will be made for School Spirit signs which it is recognized are often of irregular shape.
Other than temporary election signs mentioned below, no signs other than those advertising the sale or rental of the property will be permitted within 15’ (fifteen feet) from the curb
Small signs provided by a security company that advertise that the home is protected by a monitored alarm system are approved.
Contractor signs are allowed for no more than 30 (thirty) days unless prior approval is granted and must be placed no further than 15’ (fifteen feet) from front of home. They must be moved no more than 10 (ten) days after work is completed.
Garage Sale signs shall be removed on the same day that the sale ends. Posting of these signs is not permitted on street signs, stop signs or streetlamps.
There is a preference that religious and political signs not be displayed. However, as an owner may feel very strongly about these subjects and wish to express their views with a sign or flag, such items will be permitted provided that in the judgment of the Board they are in good taste, respectful and are not likely to be considered offensive to other residents.
Signs which are part of holiday decorations are approved
At election time, signs promoting candidates and propositions are allowed by State law for defined periods of time before and after an election. Note that State Law takes precedence over deed restrictions.
All signs and flags must be maintained in good condition.
In all cases, the Board has final approval of any sign or flag and the interpretation and enforcement of these guidelines and has the authority to remove any such item that in its view is not compliant.
Residents are asked to take care not to allow yard debris and clippings to enter the storm sewer drainage system as this can be a contributing factor to street flooding during a heavy storm event.
The following steps can be taken by homeowners to reduce the amount of debris that enters the system:
The notice goes on to remind residents that although voluntary compliance is the goal offenders can be subject to significant financial penalties. Please be sensitive to the problem that improper handling of yard debris can cause and help minimize future street flooding.
As our homes age the upkeep that comes in maintaining their beauty - paint, yard work, repairing, replacing etc. seems at times to never end.
Two of the most noticeable areas homeowners bring to our attention are mildew and mailboxes. I know many of you may have at one time or another noticed one or both of these while driving or walking through our wonderful neighborhood.
Mildew - a common issue within our neighborhood is a problem that can be easily remedied by either power washing or applying a product called “Spray & Forget” found at most local hardware stores and which can easily be applied with a garden sprayer. For small areas it also comes in a spray bottle. Or there is also the old fashion way using a brush, bleach, and hose!
The removal of mildew from any area of your home will go a long way towards restoring its overall clean appearance and that of our neighborhood.
Mailboxes/Posts – The curb appearance of a home is one of the first things many notice while enjoying their walks, jogs, biking or when looking at a home with a possible intent to purchase - and themailbox and its supporting post are a major factor in this,
Many things affect the appearances of ourmailboxes such as the weather, wear and tear, etc.. We expect them to last and last - but they don’t. Amailbox is just not for mail it also plays an important part in the curb appearance for our home.
To help improve the appearance of your mailboxand its post, look to see if they may need a little TLC – clean, paint, repair, replace, straighten, missing numbers - all easy fixes with just a little time, effort, not that costly compared to the final results.
Your HOA would like to ask all our residents, the next time you walk in your yard and go to collect your mail, give both your home and mailbox a good looking over, if you notice that one of these areas needs a little attention take that next step you will be amazed at the end result.
Thanks for your help in maintaining the beauty of the Settlement and have a Great Summer!
Nextdoor Article by Lieutenant Donald Wine from Harris County Sheriff's Office · 18 May 16
I wanted to post something on different noise issues, such as loud music, barking dogs, and loud vehicles. We all have experienced the barking-all-night dog at some point or another when living in a subdivision with our houses close together.
Harris County does not have a noise ordinance, as many of the municipalities in our area do. Noise ordinances can specifically target an offense, such as loud music from a vehicle, where if an officer hears it, they may issue a citation.
Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies follow the Texas Penal Code, section 42.01, section (a) 5, Disorderly Conduct. “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (5) makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy…”
In the past, we’ve relied on section 42.01(c) (2), “a noise is presumed to be unreasonable if the noise exceeds a decibel level of 85 after the person making the noise receives notice from a magistrate or peace officer that the noise is a public nuisance.” Generally, on a loud noise call if the audiometer didn’t peg a minimum of 85dB, we felt there was little we could do but ask the offending party to turn down or stop whatever it is making the noise.
However, the Texas 14th Court of Appeals tells us that’s not the case. The court heard the appeal of a person arrested for disorderly conduct. That person appealed, stating the statute was “vague” and the police couldn’t prove the 85 dB presumptive standard. The court disagreed and cited the “reasonable person” standard; “the test is whether the conduct is compatible with the normal activity of a specific place at a specific time”.
This is good news for you, and for the responding peace officers. We may issue a citation to the offender, and it would be his responsibility to bring up any disputes at court, assuming he wishes to fight the charge. If the noise is "unreasonable" in the opinion of the responding peace officer, a citation may be issued.
What about barking dogs? Again, with the lack of an actual ordinance we (the police) rely on the Disorderly Conduct statute. We can issue a citation directly or you can go to the local Justice of the Peace and file a complaint. In either case ask the responding deputy for the case number he used for his report and take that to the court clerk. The dogs’ owner will be summoned into court and the judge will decide on what punishment is appropriate. If you have to resort to calling law enforcement, make sure and document all calls made, to include the date and time, and the officer’s name, and a call slip number as well. Document the barking by recording it and note the time and date it is occurring. This is all evidence you can use against the owner in court.
Finally I want to address loud mufflers on vehicles. Years ago I was a night shift patrol deputy and I used to get constant complaints about a motorcycle that was REALLY loud. I stopped the driver and after giving him a verbal warning he complied and stopped using that bike. This falls under the Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 547.604. Muffler Required:
(a) A motor vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler in good working condition that continually operates to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
(b) A person may not use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device on a motor vehicle.
The violation we see most under this section is a loud muffler. If the muffler is loud, harsh, and seems "unreasonable" to the peace officer we may issue a citation. The courts will typically dismiss the citation if the violator corrects the problem by having the muffler removed and replaced with a normal muffler.
I hope these topics have answered your questions about these issues, and please feel free to message me if you have a topic you would like me to address.
Remember, “It’s a jungle out there” (I loved Hill Street Blues)
Sergeant Donald Wine
18 May 16 · Subscribers of HCSO District 4 in 1 area in Crime & Safety
For those who are sometimes taken by surprise when the invoice for the annual Association maintenance fee arrives and wonder how on earth they are going to be able to scrape sufficient money together to be able to pay it by the January 1st due date, there are two options: a Payment Agreement and Pre-Payment.
The most frequently used option is to enter into a Payment Agreement. As described in our Collection Policy, you have the legal right to spread your payments over the number of months you select up to a maximum of 18. But having an unpaid balance at the time of the fee for the NEXT year becomes due is, for obvious reasons, highly discouraged. Crest does charge a fee for managing a Payment Agreement and interest is levied on the outstanding balance. And as you are not in good standing with the Association while there is still a balance, use of the pool or rental of the clubhouse for private parties will not be possible. However, while a Payment Agreement is in force there will be no legal action taken to collect on this debt. This saves you substantial legal fees which could run to thousands of dollars, and if the fee remains unpaid the end result could be the devastating foreclosure on your home. Nobody wants that!
There is another option to a Payment Plan; one that doesn’t cost you anything and preserves your good standing with the Association. This is to pre-pay your maintenance fees. Although for the first year it might be a stretch, Crest will accept a series of payments of whatever value and intervals you can handle.
There are three ways to make the pre-pay payments:
• Pay by mailing a check to the Crest office
• Online payment via the Crest website with the payment charged to your credit card. This is not a good option as the credit card company charges $14.95 per transaction.
• Online payment via the Crest website paying by echeck. Here you give your bank’s routing and your bank account numbers and the money is directly debited from your account. Paying this way there are no additional charges so clearly this is the preferred online payment method.
For those who may have difficulty with budgeting for a single payment at year end, the pre-payment approach has many advantages. Timely payment of the annual fees helps keep the Association costs low for everyone. We encourage everyone to find the best payment option for their situation.
Pool Safety Breaks Have Replaced Adult Swim Periods
In order to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, during the summer of 2017 A-Beautiful made a procedural change replacing Adult Swim periods with 10 minute Safety Breaks.
It is recognized that some senior residents may be disappointed to lose the Adult Swim periods. However, making the pool available for a group of residents based on their age has been viewed by the Courts as discriminatory.
The need for safely breaks and the rational for why they now replace the former adult swim periods are addressed in the following two documents: