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I read the article that was posted on the dam at Springboro and several articles that have been in Mount Vernon News giving the views on the Knox Cattleman's Dam from those on city council and administration, but none has been written from those of us who live here and are expected to pay for whatever needs to be done.

I have written a letter to the editor of Mount Vernon News which has yet to be published. I am writing as an individual who lives at 78 Woodlake Trail. I do not speak for my homeowners association. I understand the HOA organization is reviewing all its available options under the law. I speak only my for myself.

Six years ago my husband and I purchased a newly built home at 78 Woodlake Trail. My husband and I worked very hard over the years to save enough money to purchase a new and final retirement home in a very nice neighborhood. Our home is probably one of the smallest, but we have wonderful neighbors and we love it. We were happy here until recently.

When we purchased our home we were not informed that there was a HOA. At our closing we were given a paper by our realtor, entitled "Regulations and Bylaws of The Landings Development Phase VII & VIII, Inc." That is when we asked if we were part of a homeowners' association and we told we were. Nothing was even mentioned about a pond or a dam in our bylaws. Where we live we can not see the pond or dam so we never thought there would be any issue about that.

When we went to the first homeowners' meeting we first heard mention of the pond and dam but were reassured by our attorney, Kim Rose, that it was nothing we had to be concerned about because we were not responsible or either. We were given a "Memorandum" dated February 25, 2013 written by Kim M. Rose to D. Derk Demaree, President, which had a copy of the quit claim deed attached. In his memorandum Mr. Rose stated "While circumstances may appear to place title with your organization, clearly the deed was not granted to your organization. Your organization is not the present owner."

We were reassured and gave no more thought of it.

Originally the pond was part of the Yauger farm. Later, the dam was classified as a class 2 dam. The city approved building more homes around and below the dam and the classification was changed to a class 1 which has more restrictions. Now we are told that we may have to pay for the repairs that are needed as a class 1 dam.

The city should at least bear some or all of the responsibility since they approved the building thus changing the restrictions.

Last month at the city council meeting, a councilman, Matt Starr, mentioned that he lives at the Fairways and has a HOA and they pay for maintaining their development which includes such things as mowing, snow removal and street repair. We looked at homes in that area and chose not to become part of it because of it being part of a HOA.

He tried to compare his HOA to ours but there are no similarities. He knew what he was signing up for and we did not sign up for any of this. We do not have any of the amenities that are offered that he is paying for at The Fairways. We do our own mowing, snow removal and maintenance and have city streets.

People who have moved into our development are not being told anything about the HOA or the pond/dam issue. This is not right!!! We have had two neighbors move in the past year, one just about 4 weeks ago and they were not aware of a HOA or the pond/dam until we told them after they moved in.

How can our realtors sell property without telling people that they are in a HOA or that we have legal issues with the dam/pond? How can we be held responsible for something we were never told about and even were told by our attorney that we bore no responsibility? Now, those who were elected to represent us are not allowed to vote on this issue...citing conflict of interest.

These voted in officials are people who own property or are affected by this vote. Three of our council persons and our council president are exempted from voting, thus taking away our representation. What good does it do to vote for people to represent you if they have their voices and votes silenced? Is this fair? Is this democracy?

I am sure if you were living in our area you too would be upset by the way things are being handled. Oh, I forgot, if you lived there you wouldn’t be able to speak about it. I've heard the phrase that you can't fight city government - now I understand.

No one can tell us what the cost is going to be, how we will have to pay for it or how many will be paying or how long. Will it be assessed to our already high taxes? If this goes through what if in the future we are told that more money is needed? We are part of the city of Mount Vernon and as such pay for other repairs that are done around the city.

If this goes through, we will could lose our home. And, we can't even sell it with this unsettled. We are in our 70’s and living on a fixed income. Starting over at this point in our lives would be very difficult, if not impossible. We are sure we aren't the only ones in this position.

Thanks for reading the other side -

Sue Kinton

Mount Vernon

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