Homeowners Association at Fishhawk Lake….Disspelling the Myth of the Big Bad HOA

Gayle Rich-Boxman, Broker

Vernonia Realty, Specializing in Fishhawk Lake Estates



Anyone who’s been involved  with a Homeowner’s Association has an OPINION, good or bad about HOAs. Some people have served on a board in the past and say, “Never again” or they have served and think, wow it’s not as bad as the picture that was painted before becoming a board memmber. Regardless, it seems that the term “Homeowner’s Association” always brings up questions for potential buyers.

Is Fishhawk Lake Recreation Club a gated community? My answer to that is that I wouldn’t live here if it was! There are many reasons why living in the country suits my husband and me and because it is a simpler type of life is one of the big ones. So the answer to that question is a firm NO. We are a private community and try to be neighborly, but if someone who isn’t a member comes to try to fish, or use the clubhouse facilities we gently explain to them that this is not a public lake.

How restrictive are the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions? The CC&Rs are on the website for Fishhawk Lake and are extensive, but I have found that our community is user-friendly when dealing with rules.  Asking is better than just going ahead and doing it, because the rules can possibly be bent, massaged, or simply changed/clarified as a result of discussion. Because buyers are sometimes interested in purchasing vacant lots and building, it’s part of my job to make sure that the future home they have in mind will work in this community. For example, it has to be no smaller than 900 sq.ft. even though there are some older homes/cabins here that are less square footage before the rules were changed and as a result have been grandfathered in. I have been asked about yurts, or round houses and I had thought that this structure was not allowed, but if it has a foundation under it, then that is possible. Manufactured homes are not allowed and we as members voted on that at an annual meeting years ago. I personally am happy about that because they are close to impossible to re-sell and get a loan for this type of home. Interestingly enough, we have no height restrictions, which is one you would commonly see in an HOA set of guidelines. Paint color is a restriction here, so that it blends with the natural landscape. If you have plans to build for example, it’s best to come to the monthly board meeting and meet with the architectural committee face-to-face, after the general meeting.  That way, if there are questions, you could get them answered quickly and save time.

What kind of fencing if any is allowed?  Black cyclone fencing is allowed and I had already known that because we had a “doggie den” built for our Golden Retrievers and when we went to the architectural committee that’s what they told us would meet the requirements for fencing. Since then, I have learned from one of our local builders that another type of fencing was OK’d by the architectural committee. It was one he built himself, out of wood and is very simple, yet decorative but doesn’t “obstruct the neighbor’s view”, which is part of the criteria.

Can you do vacation rentals?  This may be a “deal breaker” for some who are trying to cover the expenses of a second/vacation home as our CC&Rs don’t allow for that. I can appreciate this resrtiction because we don’t get people up here that we don’t know zipping in and out of here, trashing up our community for a weekend and then taking no responsibility for it, or having any sense of pride-of-ownership.  We are tucked away and that’s part of the allure and we enjoy our privacy as it keeps our area pristine.

Any volunteer opportunities?  We have a sizable amount of volunteers in our wonderful community, which makes it easier to keep costs down for maintenance of the lake and surrounding areas.  Several fulltimers (there are about 35% of us at Fishhawk Lake) and some weekenders step up to “make a difference”. We have members who do a neighbor-watch schedule which is basically spending a few hours a week driving around the community making sure that nothing “fishy” is going on or someone’s left a door open, or something that just doesn’t look normal.

Several homeowners volunteer for the Mist-Birkenfeld Fire Department to help support them in medical efforts until Lifeflight can arrive or the Fire Department can make it there to transport a patient needing emergency medical treatment in our immediate community and the surrounding areas. Fishhawk Lake also has a fire engine and it’s housed at the lake which offers homeowners the chance to lower their insurance premiums as a result, so that benefits all of us. We also have more fire hydrants per capita than any community similar to ours in OR which also helps us with our insurance coverage. 

Others just do what is necessary whether it involves a quick clean-up of debris, snow removal or helping with a burst pipe that could potentially slow down the water pressure and keep all of us from using our normal daily amount of water usage.

There is an ecological foundation that is spearheaded by a recent retiree and is a nonprofit organization set up to create monies for several projects to better our environment around Fishhawk Lake.

These are just a few questions you may have, please feel free to e-mail me directly with more.: richbox@centurytel.net

For other information and general questions about Homeowners’ Associations, I recommend a Homeowners Association expert, Richard Thompson.  He sends out a monthly newsletter with articles and Q&A that are informative and helpful.


Contact Rich Thompson rich@regenesis.net or call 503.977.7974

About fishhawklakerealtor

I've been the local realtor/neighbor for 14 years who lives full time in the Fishhawk Lake area, a private lake community in the middle of the coastal range in a very small town in Oregon . It's heaven out here and my husband and I have lived here full time for about 12 years and over 15 altogether as weekenders before that. This area is my niche, my specialty, my passion. Doing this is truly a dream come true. Let me help you make it yours. Call me, your local expert: 503-755-2905 REALTOR® John L Scott Market Center Also check out my blog on ActiveRain: http://activerain.com/blogs/gayleatfishhawklake Or to check out my listings go to my website: http://www.lakehomesatfishhawk.com/
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