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Homeowners file restraining order after HOA issues outlandish neighborhood-wide fine: 'This has been a nightmare for 3 years'

"For me to have to pay for that is just not right."

“For me to have to pay for that is just not right.”

Photo Credit: iStock

Homeowners in Scottsdale, Arizona, had to resort to drastic legal action when their local HOA, called DC Ranch, refused to stop removing their beloved Sissoo trees, 12News reported.

There are hundreds of Sissoo trees in the Silverleaf Arcadia neighborhood. As homeowner Paul Petelin told the news station, "Everybody knew this was the tree neighborhood."

Another resident, Barry Chasse, agreed. "That's why our family moved here," he said.

But according to a third homeowner, Tom La Porte, DC Ranch disagreed — and has been trying to remove all the trees since 2020. "This has been a nightmare for three years," La Porte told 12News.

As La Porte explained, the HOA's issue was the trees' roots. Sissoo trees have a reputation for damaging pavement and plumbing, which are expensive to fix.

However, DC Ranch's extreme reaction — removing all of the trees — didn't sit well with many residents. As La Porte pointed out in a lawsuit he filed last year, the shade-giving, air-purifying, and valuable trees were part of the neighborhood's original development plan. 

La Porte also alleged that the HOA had failed in its duty to maintain the trees — one possible explanation for any damage the roots might be causing now.

Despite the ongoing resistance from many residents, DC Ranch pressed forward with removing the trees. Even when the parties were in negotiation to reach a middle ground, the trees were still being cut.

To put a stop to the destruction until a final decision could be reached, La Porte and others filed a temporary restraining order against DC Ranch. Under the terms of that order, the HOA couldn't remove any more trees unless the owner of each individual tree agreed to it.

That worked until DC Ranch assessed a $3,000 fee for each of the community's homeowners to pay for tree removal. The assessment included all of the owners who hadn't had a tree removed and didn't want to.

The La Portes planned to fight the charge with another lawsuit. 

"I didn't take my trees out. I don't know why I should have to pay for anybody else." Juli La Porte told 12News. "For me to have to pay for that is just not right."

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