Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Spite Fence

A well-meaning neighborhood homeowners’ association seeks to mediate the early stages of the great Hatfield-McCoy feud.

The Spite Fence
by James Vachowski

Melissa Block, Esq.
Tug River Valley HOA, LLC
P.O. Box 2091
Williamson, WV, 25661

7 January 1865

Mr. William Anderson Hatfield
53 Riverview Terrace
Williamson, WV, 25661
Dear Mr. Hatfield:
Thank you for your continued correspondence, most recently of 12 December 1864.  We apologize for the delays, but several of your inquiries required a significant amount of research before proper responses could be drafted.  Although the many bylaws of the Tug River Valley Homeowner’s Association provide an invaluable framework for the harmony and well-being of our planned community, they are also quite thorough.

I thank you for your patience, and would ask that you please see below for formal answers to your requests:

1)      Regarding the recent addition of an enclosed hog pen to your backyard, we regret to inform you that this structure does not conform to our established standards for property modification, as all permanent or semi-permanent structures must be properly vetted and permitted at a meeting of the Neighborhood Beautification Committee prior to construction.  These meetings are held bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings at the picnic area behind the playpark, weather permitting.  You should also be aware that per Chapter XIX of our bylaws, subsection viii, each household in Tug River Valley is limited to a maximum of two (2) domesticated animals.  In light of these restrictions, your present husbandry operation will need to cease immediately.

2)     Regarding your inquiry into the availability of the Amenity Center on Saturday, 15 June, I am happy to report that the Center is currently open for booking on that date.  Please return the enclosed reservation form with your non-refundable deposit of one silver dollar and we will reserve a four hour block for your event.  I regret to inform you, however, that while your plans for a joint family reunion and wedding sound absolutely lovely, we cannot accommodate your request to have shotguns present (or any other type of firearm, for that matter) due to the restrictions of our liability insurance policy.  Also, while we do permit the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages near the pool area, it will be your responsibility to ensure that all guests refrain from consuming moonshine out of glass containers.

3)     Finally, regarding your pending application for a variance on the height of your privacy fence, we regret to inform you that this request has been denied.  Community bylaws strictly limit the height of perimeter fences to a maximum of six feet, with no exceptions.  You should also be aware that any new fencing must adhere to our pre-approved styles, in keeping with the overall appearance and image of our upscale, gated community.  Examples of such would be white vinyl picket or aluminum faux stockade.  As listed in your variance application, “spite” is neither an approved material nor style.

As a valued resident of the Tug River Valley neighborhood, your voluntary adherence to our covenants and restrictions will ensure that our community remains a peaceful and desirable place to live.  As such, I invite you and your neighbor Randolph McCoy to stop by the Amenity Center next Saturday evening at 8:00 pm for our monthly ice cream social.  This gathering would be an ideal time for the three of us to discuss Mr. McCoy’s recent concerns about the appearance and storage of your recycling containers.  As per our bylaws, residents are required to pull their empty waste containers away from the curb no later than 6:00 PM on the day of pickup, and also to store these containers out of sight until 6:00 PM on the evening before the next scheduled collection day.  Failure to adhere to these standards could lead to the assessment of a ten-cent fine, in addition to our standard monthly regime fee.

Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters, and for your continued support of the Tug River Valley community.

Very respectfully,

Melissa Block, Esq.

Tug River Valley HOA, LLC

Copies to:  File, Mr. Randolph McCoy

Enclosure:  Amenity Center reservation request form


BIO:   James Vachowski works as a quality assurance technician for an independent traveling circus, where he strives to ensure that your next ride on the Cyclone is in full compliance with most, if not all, applicable state safety regulations. When he’s not living his dream of seeing the great people of this great country from the parking lots of local shopping malls and Moose lodges, he writes fiction.