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Sunday, August 03, 2003
Last Saturday, my dad received a letter from his homeowners' association containing an "architectural application" for the garden project my brother and I are working on. The project consists of a series of small brick walls replacing the wooden borders which had rotted out since I had installed them 5 or 6 years ago. (See pictures here.) The application is 5 pages long and asks that three copies of property improvements be attached. Coinicidentally, this story appeared in the New York Times the next day:

Homeowner Boards Blur Line of Who Rules Roost

Of course, nobody with the property management company is listed on the form to contact regarding this. There isn't even a return addressed envelope. Just the form.

A copy of the letter I've drafted in response to this communication:

To Whom It Concerns:

Thank you for taking notice of our property and the landscaping on the west side of the driveway. All the work on this project has been completed by myself, my brother, and my father (the property owner). It is an accomplishment in which we take great pride. This project was originally approved by the homeowners' association board in 1997 and completed that same year. Since then the wood used in the retaining borders had deteriorated. Currently, we are replacing the wood borders with brick and mortar. No alterations in the design of the original project are being made and all the borders remain well below the 4' height for which a professional contractor or architect is recommended.

The borders will be completed by the first part of September. We will install plants and ground cover in the fall, when the weather is milder. In the meantime, we will continue to keep the area well maintained and aesthetically pleasing. I've included below two photos of the project. The first shows the project originally approved by the homeowners' association board at its completion in 1997. The second shows the project on July 27th, as replacement of the original borders nears completion:

More photos are available online at

Our neighbors are familiar with the project and very complimentary. If you or any member of the homeowners' association board have any questions, please feel free to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx, or by email at tidokoro[at]

Thank you again for your inquiry and your continuing work on behalf of our community.

And welcome back to my shit list.