How Wolves (and Deer) Change Rivers

April 2014

A"Must See" documentary.  It shows how much damage that even controlled populations of ungulates (like deer) can cause. (Of course, bringing back wolves to north Georgia is not an acceptable option and I am not promoting that idea.)

Our Very First Experience with Coosawattee River Resort Association...

March 2014 (Posted)

I recently read posts on Topix from someone who had just made an offer on a house in CRR.  She was both excited and worried.  She and her husband had read both my blog and the Topix forum, but in spite of that, were so thrilled with the home that they decided to ignore the warnings.  

The feelings she described about their decision and how much they looked forward to their new home -- while harboring nagging fears -- reminded me of how my wife and I felt when we bought our home here.  ...Filled with optimism and hope, while wondering if we should have paid more attention to the complaints on Topix.

I decided to look up and post this email exchange with the former General Manager CRRA.  It describes our first direct experience with CRRA after buying our home in January, 2008. We sent the original complaint to three board members. None of them ever responded to us personally. We don't know which one forwarded our complaint.  (Our original complaint letter follows the GM's response.)

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Dear Mr. & Mrs. Freeman,

One of our board members forwarded your email message to me this morning and I wanted to take a minute to respond.  I want to start my expressing my embarrassment and humiliation at the treatment and attitude that you received upon your visit to the POA offices this past weekend.  Please accept my apologies on behalf of the staff and the association.

Every association, group, organization or company has to have policies and procedures and some of those have to be set and unbendable.  At the same time there are other times when policies can be worked around when it is to the benefit of the customer (property owner) and the association.  It is not so much that the young lady you encountered would not issue you gate cards (she was following policy but even then we should have been able to work around the problem), the real problem is the unhelpful, uncaring attitude that you encountered and it is this issue that makes me livid.

10 Reasons Why I Regret Buying My Home in Coosawattee River Resort

First Posted:  October 2013
Updated: April 2014 

No single reason from the ones below is enough to make me wish I had not bought here, but there are more than enough in this list to make me feel as I do.

1.) Coosawattee River Resort is simply a "Non-Profit Corporation".  It is not Incorporated under the Codes of "The Georgia Property Owners Association Act" of 1994.

Most Georgia Property Owner's Associations are Chartered under the Official Code of Georgia Title 44, Chapter 3, Sections 220-235.  (Aka: "The Georgia Property Owner's Association Act" of 1994.)  These laws were enacted to provide extra protection to both homeowners and their Property Owners Associations.  They also simplify and significantly reduce the costs of many of the  common legal operations needed within a POA.

According to Board Member Millie O'Donovan, the CRRA membership chose not to “opt in as required by law" in 1995. (see  "Legal Status of CRRA" for full quote.). In other words, CRRA rejected the protections and advantages of The Georgia Property Owners Association Act by retaining status only as a Georgia Non-Profit Corporation

Due to our prior involvement in our former POA, we incorrectly assumed that Coosawattee River Resort complied with the GA POA Act of 1995.  My wife and I were not aware that CRRA operates as POA/ HOA, but its 1995 Charter does not comply to the GA POA Act.  This is not something that most residents of CRRA who were former POA members are aware of either, and it is not mentioned or explained in any of the CRRA documents, although -- as the above Board Member's comment indicates -- the Board is aware of the misunderstandings this causes.

2.) Too little transparency in Board decisions and Staff operations

As a "Georgia Non-Profit Corporation" ...CRRA can (and does) conduct many business and legal operations without obligations to release the details to the membership.  I have been told by the President of the CRRA Executive Committee that this is legal, and the law firm that represents CRRA has confirmed that this is legal.

Legal or not, it is completely inconsistent with maintaining trust and good faith within any community.

3.) Extremely poor communications between the CRRA Board/Staff, and the members of CRR.

8 Ways to Spot Deer Over-Population Problems Before You Buy a Mountain Home

March 2014

This post is only of interest for prospective mountain home buyers who love gardens, or want diverse and interesting landscaping on their rural lot, or simply care about maintaining a balanced environment on a planet that has been hugely unbalanced by human activity.

First, some Q & A....

"What is an "over-population" of deer?"

It is when the population of deer exceeds the natural carrying capacity (food supply) of their territories.  Scientists and Wildlife Professionals refer to this as an "overabundance" of deer.  This is a "professionally correct" term that means the same thing:  Too many deer living within a given area.


Most people think deer just wander around to where ever they can find the best food supply. If it gets scarce, they move someplace else.  This simplistic assumption simply isn't true.  Deer establish territories.  The females usually stay within these territories while the males move between many territories to breed.  The size of these territories can range from around 100 acres to a over a square mile.  A normal and healthy population density of deer is about 25 per square mile.  In my community, there are probably over 100 per square mile.


Figure 1:  This is abnormal behavior for a deer.  When deer graze this close to the road, with little fear of humans or cars, you are probably in an area overpopulated with deer.  This one is waiting for a "handout" from the resident living in the home behind him, who feeds the deer regularly.

"Why is it bad?"
Many reasons....

"So Why Don't You Just Sell Your House and Move?"

January 2014

In response to this blog, I've have had dozens of neighbors tell me "If you dislike it here so much, just sell your house and move someplace else!" 

We won't, because we love our little island of paradise -- even though it is surrounded by a sea of unpleasantness.  Our mistake was being too enraptured by the house, lot, and view when we purchased our home.  We had looked at dozens of homes over three months, and this one felt so "perfect" that we did not do sufficient homework -- and ignored some pretty serious warning signs about the neighborhood and Association.  I firmly believe that if we had kept on looking, we would have found a home that we liked just as well, with far fewer problems and aggravations. 

For the first three years, we were part-time residents, so it was easy to maintain "honeymoon" feelings about our purchase.  It was only after we moved in full-time that the enchantment started wearing off. I am gradually learning to ignore the neighborhood.  It will take some major re-adjustments of what I hoped to have for my retirement, but our home is still worth it.

(For pictures of what keeps us in our home anyway, visit this page on "Life Along the Coosawattee " -- a blog run by a part-time neighbor -- Chris Goodson.)

I also hear just as many neighbors say "If you don't get involved in the Association and try to change things, you have no right to complain!"

Actually, yes -- I do!...

What Is "Coosawattee River Resort"? -- Part 1

First Posted:  July 2013
Updated: February 2014

Coosawattee River Resort (like all POA communities) has two main components:
  1. The "government" responsible for maintaining the common property and managing the services provided (swimming pools, road crews, etc.)  This government is a state-registered and regulated organization called a "Property Owners Association" (POA). 
  2. The "General Membership" -- people who own property, along with the "common property" that they all own equally (roads, recreation areas, maintenance equipment, etc.)  
Many people who buy homes in a community like CRR have never lived in a POA before.  Consequently, they do not understand all of the unique problems -- and advantages -- they can create.  "Part 1" will explain the kind of problems that a POA can have, and how they relate to the CRRA.  "Part 2" will describe the "personality" of the general membership within CRR.

A POA is a business run by unpaid amateur volunteers.  In the case of CRRA, it is a $4.5 million business run by unpaid amateur volunteers. A POA is run by volunteers who are elected to the Board of Directors by the general membership, based on either popularity or because the a majority of the membership likes what they promise to do.  In other words, they are just like the

What Is "Coosawattee River Resort"? -- Part 2

First Posted: July 2013
Updated: February 2014

The second component of CRR is the people who live within it. "People" -- in this context -- really means the "demographics" of the community.  i.e. Their age, their family type and structure, the type of relationship they have with their property (Villa owner/Campsite owner/renter/lot owner/part-time resident/full-time resident... etc.)

I have served on the Boards of two prior POA's.  The last one had many problems to overcome.  It was slightly older than CRR.  The demographics were roughly a 50-50 mixture of young families who bought the relatively inexpensive, smaller, but well-built homes vs. "empty nesters" and retirees who planned to stay indefinitely, but no longer needed the common facilities -- pool, tennis courts, etc. -- that the young families wanted to enjoy.  ...And they didn't want to pay for them any more.  Needless to say, it was a challenge to resolve this problem -- but the POA did.  Extremely well.

CRRA is in a similar situation, but the demographics here are even more challenging.  IMO, we have at least five groups of demographic types that have to work together and cooperate to keep things running smoothly...