When the news broke last week that a homeowner’s association had been created in the Sunview additions and had pledged its support to the low income Hawk Ridge Apartment complex, resident’s reactions ranged from shock to anger. Each of the three officers involved with the HOA spoke to The Grizzly Detail over the past week, and it turns out that some of the news was surprising to them as well.
Michael Arnold Jr., who at the time of its creation was the treasurer of the Sunview HOA, resigned from the group on March 16.
“I had second thoughts about it when I started filling out the paperwork,” Arnold said.
Arnold is a renter in the Sunview area, not a home owner, which is one of the reasons he began to feel uneasy about his involvement. Another reason was the HOA’s filing of official community support for the proposed low income Hawk Ridge apartments.
“I kind of got almost misled. That’s why I sent my resignation in. I said I don’t want [any] part of it,” Arnold said.
Arnold said that the Hawk Ridge Apartments had been mentioned by those in the HOA, but he thought the group’s focus would be elsewhere.
“When I filled out the stuff with the HOA I was trying to start something to help our community out,” Arnold said. “I guess I didn’t understand what the whole concept was when I did it. Therefore, as soon as I found out, I sent a letter in for resignation.”
Sunview HOA Secretary Jack Cook also said he was unaware of the HOA’s intention to file official support for Hawk Ridge. When asked if he was involved in that action, he had this to say.
“I didn’t know about that part of it,” Cook said. “I was not in on that.”
Cook went into detail about the sequence of events that took place.
“Jim [Ryan, White Settlement EDC Director] called me and asked me to come by and sign papers,” Cook said. “I signed the papers, but as far as really reading over the fine print of the deal I didn’t pay that much attention to it because I trust the people involved. Nobody ever told me it was hooked to any one specific deal.”
Cook said that personally he does support the Hawk Ridge Apartments, as they could mean a boost to his church and other churches in the area, but that his intention in joining the group wasn’t based around helping Hawk Ridge. He said he was interested in helping give a voice to the neighborhood and to help give them a chance to get things done.
“As far as being part of a conspiracy, and that’s the way that article looks, it makes me look I’m part of something I knew nothing about,” Cook said. “I do everything above board. I don’t like the insinuation that came out on this thing that I’m behind something that’s crooked. I’ve never done that kind of junk and I don’t intend to be involved now.”
When told what both Arnold Jr. and Cook said about their feelings towards the HOA’s support of Hawk Ridge, Sun View HOA President Jason Carter gave his response.
“We had talked about it, Jack Cook and I, after I had talked to Jim [Ryan] about it,” Carter said.
Carter said that he’d have to talk to Arnold about it to better understand what his feelings were, but that he understood why Arnold chose to resign.
“It caused a lot of grief, that article, and I understand why he doesn’t want anything to do with it,” Carter said.
He went on to say that he supports economic development, and that he believes the Hawk Ridge complex will help the local economy and the base, indicating this led him to speak to Jim Ryan about filing support with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
“I came to ask him [Ryan] what I could do,” Carter said.
According to Carter, he and Ryan spoke about using last week’s EDC meeting as a platform to announce the Sunview HOA. At that meeting, Carter did address the citizens, apologizing for not informing them that the HOA was in existence sooner. He stated that a lack of time and money had kept him from spreading the word.
Speaking with The Grizzly on Monday, Carter stressed that the HOA did not automatically cover everyone in the Sun View area.
“It’s all voluntary,” Carter said.
He explained that not having solid contact information available for people led to some of the anger residents had last week, acknowledging that things could’ve gone smoother if people had a way to contact him.
“It would’ve saved people a lot of grief,” Carter said.
Carter said that the reason he gave the White Settlement Police Department’s contact info when filing the HOA paperwork is because it protects police officers like himself from threats, and is a practice allowed by the State. He said they’re looking to switch the HOA’s contact information over to Cook’s phone number, something that was absent from the HOA paperwork that was filed.
“I’m available to anybody that wants to talk to me,” Cook said.
Cook indicated that he was always around the community, and was not hard to contact. Carter also said that the email address firstname.lastname@example.org could be used to get in touch with the group.
“If anybody has a question I definitely want to answer it to the best of my ability,” Carter said.
As for the intentions of the HOA, both Carter and Cook were quick to shift the focus away from Hawk Ridge, saying that the focus fell more on giving that section of the city a voice.
“It just makes sense to me to have a voice,” Carter said.
Both he and Cook spoke about their desire to see the area have representation on matters such as the overhaul of Central Park and anything else going on that might affect Sunview, saying they weren’t looking to police things like what kind of trees people can grow in their yards.
“I didn’t get in this to make people do anything in our community that we don’t want to do,” Cook said. “I got into it because I’m tired of hearing all my neighbors gripe and complain that the city won’t do anything.”
The unveiling of the group has been anything but smooth, as following last week’s Grizzly Detail article many residents voiced their displeasure with the group’s unannounced creation and it’s sudden support of Hawk Ridge that makes it appear as if the entire area is in favor of the complex.
Carter acknowledged that things didn’t go perfectly with the HOA.
“Hindsight’s twenty/twenty, if I could do some things different I would, but there was no disrespect meant,” Carter said.