Monday, September 5, 2011

The Restricted Life Style

Today is Monday, the 18th week of  the "ABC with the Accidental Knitter's meme".
The letter is R

Nine years ago Ross and I moved into an Active Adult Community in Barnegat, NJ.  The community is one of many that have popped up down at the Jersey shore.

According to  Wikipedia  the population of our once little town has grown from 2,817 in 2000 to the nearly 21,000 which it currently is.  I'm sure the six new senior complexes have contributed somewhat to  the growth of the population.

Primarily what enticed us to move an hour away from everyone and everything was the close proximity to the beach.   Secondly,  the main selling point so aptly described  to us in detail by a very competent salesperson was the "Lifestyle".

Have you ever seen the ads for these communities?  Photo montages of very young looking people actively swimming, jogging, biking, playing tennis, working out in the on-site fitness centers, etc.

These are my favorite two couples

I'm sure these four would have never thought to skip through the woods in the rain or dance on a picnic table before they moved into the "Lifestyle".

So we were sold...hook, line and sinker.   Or was it hoodwinked by that line of...

Anyway, we signed on the dotted line.

Three months later on the day of closing we were handed a copy of the By-Laws along with a copy of  "Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions", each weighing about 3 pounds.  Okay, they might not have actually weighed three pounds, but they certainly were not light reading material. 

There are also documents on Rules and Regulations along with stated punishments for each violation.  

I think they hide the Stocks and Pillory  in the "beautifully wooded surroundings" :)

Here are a few excerpts from the "Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions".
 "No building, fence, wall, or other structure shall be constructed or maintained up any Lot, nor shall any exterior addition, change, or alteration be made until the plans and specifications showing all details of the sam are submitted to and approved in writing by the Board or the Architectural Review Committee, if one has been appointed.  Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to authorize the Board to approve any structure or plating in the easement described in Article XXI herein."

 "No Signs window signs, notices or displays of any nature oor kind shall be shown or displayed up the Lots or Units"

"No outside clotheslines, solar panels, antennas, or satellite dishes over 20 inches in diameter are permitted on any Lot. Satellite dishes under 20 inches in diameter are permitted on the rear portions of roof areas provided same are not visible from the street."

And it goes on an on.   

Ross has been on a committee for the past three years.   These seven folks have been re-writing the by-laws, rules, regulations, covenants and restrictions.  

This was a very huge undertaking to say the least.

Their task was to wade through mounds of papers, line by line and attempt to make the documents more understandable, with less legalize, and perhaps even a little less restrictive.

One of the more controversial restrictions is the one regarding vehicles.  In the original document, which was written by the developer 15 years ago, it was stated that no trucks of any kind would be allowed to be parked on the street or in a home owner's driveway.  They had to be parked in the home owner's garage.

One home owner spent thousands of dollars extending his garage so that he could fit his truck in.  Many others had to sell their trucks because they couldn't fit them in their garages. 

This is one of the restrictions the committee wants to ease.

After all many people have boats down here at the shore.  I'm sure that was one of the selling points used.    I bet somewhere in the brochure is a photo of a couple speeding along the bay.   

Most people who have boats need some kind of truck to haul their boat.

Also I see many SUV's around here, parked in driveways.  Aren't they basically trucks?

But as in any group there are always the squeaky wheels.  People who I am sure suffer from "middle child" syndrome.    

One of them insisted that a major reason he moved into this type of  community was so that he wouldn't have to deal with seeing trucks parked willy nilly all over the place.    Yes, he said willy nilly.

Another complained that he had to sell his truck, so why should the rule be changed now?   

I wonder if  Ross and I would have been so quick to sign on the dotted line if, instead of showing us the "Lifestyle", the salesperson handed us the three pound Covenants and Restrictions document.  
Can you imagine that...
    Salesperson:   Okay before I will even attempt to show you the models, which are professionally decorated and include all of the upgrades which you probably won't be able to afford, but which you will want because you basically want that model, which we created expressly to entice you into buying all of the upgrades...and before I show you the two swimming pools, indoor and outdoor, and the tennis courts and bocce courts and the ball room, and pool tables, and ceramics room, and card must read this three pound document.   I expect to see you back here tomorrow morning with a written report on said document showing that you completely understand all of our Rules and Regulations. 



  1. LOL!!  You summed that up great - with a nice touch of humor too!!  We live in a neighborhood with an "association" and it was the same thing.  Blah, blah, blah.  So, my husband did the same - get on the committee and change some of those crazy rules!!  We've been here almost 15 yrs and to be honest, the association has kind of faded away and nothing is enforced.  Probably because no one has really moved (except a few and the new owners don't seem to care) and we didn't want to be bothered with all those rules!  Enjoy the beach and the games - just keep your truck out of site and your satellite dish on the back! Haha!!

  2. We have friends who live in one of these communities. When ever we visit I think I would love to live there. However, my DH would never do it. He hates the rules. We live in a mobil home park and he pushes the rules all the time. I'd be a wreck if we lived in one of those realllllly manicured communities. 

  3. I always find it amazing reading some of the restrictions on places like this, especially the no washing lines one... I know seeing washing lines isn't always pretty, but who wants to dry everything inside/electrically when the outdoors is a perfect place for it?!