Sunday, July 18, 2010

Law at Draconian Palms

Sometimes board meetings can turn out interesting. One of the ongoing processes in learning to be a full-time Florida resident is getting to know the people pulling the ropes and directing policy at the condominium I am a part of. Today’s board meeting brought me a few steps closer in that process.

For several years we have had what most consider a good, active and economy-minded board. My impression about the present board’s efforts is a positive feeling. For a long time I was out of the country and away from my investment, but then as well, from that distance I always felt confident about the board’s arrangements and decisions.

The central topic of today’s board meeting was a discussion of rule infractions around the pool area. Most gathered for the meeting admitted that condominium owners shared equal blame for the infractions. A good part of the back-and-forth was focused on people eating, snacking, drinking and setting up meals at the poolside tables.

MY THOUGHT: It’s traditional, expected holiday behavior around condo pools everywhere. Tables and chairs are there…people are going to eat. Might be more effective trying to ban Coca Cola.

Ants swarming for scraps and leftovers sounded like the big concern. I wondered why many of my neighbors thought it so difficult to pick up the scraps and give the ants an intro to Black Flag. The pool area has never looked dirty and unsanitary with food leftovers. It’s a once in a blue moon thing. Don’t worry about it.

Have a look at the rules posted on two sides of the pool area. (My comments in parentheses.)

1. No GLASS allowed in the pool area. (Reasonable. Plastic works.)

2. No food, frisbees, balls, surfboards, floats, or ANY DEVICE allowed in the pool or pool area. (Do they imagine that no one under the age of 75 comes on holiday? Surfboards, yeah. The other? Forget about it.

3. No running, diving, or rough play in the pool or pool area. (This must be a joke when everyone there is a young person on summer vacation.)

4. Everyone must shower before entering pool. No oil please! (Fine for those coming up from the beach, but people coming from inside won’t do it.)

5. All children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult. (This is reasonable.)

6. Do not reserve or remove pool furniture. (Laying a towel across the adjacent chair or lounger until the second or third person gets there? The pool area is really never so crowded.)

7. No radios permitted in the pool area without earphones. (I'll sign my name to this one.)

8. No cut-offs allowed in the pool. (Why ever not?)

9. Trespassers will be prosecuted. (That just doesn’t happen.)

I drew the title of today’s post from the idea that most of the rules shown above are a bit too severe. Chances are, some of the rules are there because of a clause in the insurance policy. 95% of the people using the pool and pool area disregard the majority of posted rules, and that certainly includes owners and board members. First of all, there is nobody to enforce the rules. There is no security guard and the manager can’t be on patrol all the time, so these things slide. But that won’t stop the boardroom debates on pool rules.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America