Thursday, March 22, 2007

Truman Annex & the Rising Tide of Conformity

Truman Annex, embroiled in a fight with the City of Key West over gating Southard Street and further isolating themselves from the rest of the island community, is in my free-spirited opinion a strange place.

Strange because Key West is generally a live-and-let-live place - open to creativity, individual expression, and freedom from conformity. Yet Truman Annex goes the other way, at least according to their "Rules and Regulations." From children to curtains, holiday decorations to eating an ice cream on the sidewalk, Truman Annex has rules.

Upon reading the Truman Annex Master Property Associations rules (posted on the http://www.tampoa.com/ website), I couldn't help but think about the movie "The Truman Show" and it's striking similarity to Truman Annex. That film is set in a community that is completely controlled and fabricated, albeit for the benefit of a "reality" TV show.

Here a few of the Rules and Regulations for Truman Annex:
  • Children shall not be permitted to play on sidewalks or other Common Areas and shall be supervised by their parents at all times. (also, "Playing shall not be permitted in any of the lobbies, hallways, stairways, elevators and lobby areas and loud noises will not be tolerated.")
  • No towels, clothing, linens, rugs, etc. shall be hung from balcony rails, windows or doors.
  • (Pet) leashes are to be no longer than six (6) feet in length.
  • All personal items, including but not limited to bicycles and patio furniture, are likewise to be kept in an orderly and maintained fashion as to not cause a visual nuisance.
  • Holiday decorations are allow during the month of December only and such decorations must be approved by the Association. Approved decorations include: conservatively installed non-blinking small white lights, limited red bows and pine garland, and a conservative wreath
  • The Association may retain a pass-key to all Units.
  • Food and beverages may not be consumed on the Common Properties, except in connection with approved uses of the Commercial Property, or as other wise approved by the Board or the Master Association. No barbecuing shall be permitted on the Common Properties.
  • Curtains and drapes (or linings thereof) which face on exterior windows or glass doors of Units shall be subject to disapproval by the Board, in which case they shall be removed and replaced with acceptable items.


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35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yo, you need to get around a little more. The rules constitutes a home owner's association and are pretty much like others of its ilk. If you aren't familiar with the concept, it's been present for the last 30-40 years all over this country. Anyone has the right to buy into a homeowners association or not. That's call freedom of choice. There are many homeowner's associations in the keys. Look around. Homeowners associations tend to maintain their value over time vs homes not in associations and according to published studies add about 15% to the value of a home in one vs one not in an association.
The main value of an association is to maintain the standards of the community and not letting member home fall into disrepair or neglect. There is a significant degree of standardization but one needs to be willing to accept this or not live under its rules.

Cayo Dave said...

I understand not wanting a communities houses to fall into disrepair. But how does prohibiting eating an ice cream cone on the sidewalk hurt your neighborhood? Of if you like a blinking Christmas light? Or if your dog has a 7 foot leash?
These type of communities may have become commonplace in our society, but people might want to see them for what they have become - a conformist confine.
How much of your individual freedom and expression are you willing to give up to maintain the "value" of your home?

Anonymous said...

*Yawn*

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's your call. If you don't like it then it's your freedom not to buy into it. If you don't have a problem with it, then you can buy in to it. Are you suggesting that we ban such entities? The owners in a home owners association can always vote to change the rules. That's called democracy.
Even municipalities have laws and rules. Some of them are bizarre and incomprehensible as well.

Cayo Dave said...

No I certainly don't suggest "banning" these types of communities. But I do want to challenge the notion that these properties should be more valuable - as other commenters and Truman Annex leaders have stated.

Anonymous said...

The market will decide their value and not you, my dear.

Cayo Dave said...

Yes, the market decides the price of the houses, but only to the degree that the market is fair, efficient, and has at least a reasonable number of participants.
I'm challenging the notion that this type of community should be thought of as more valuable.

Anonymous said...

Basically you are a tolerant nonconformist with one enormous exception. You do not tolerate homeowner communities that do not conform to your personal view of the ideal way to live. Can't you see that your criticism is intolerance? Can't you see that you are really saying - I don't like people and communities who do not share my views? Also- on the cartoon on the post you spelled "your" wrong. It should be
"You're".

Cayo Dave said...

Hey bud, I have a right to an opinion. No, let me correct that and say I have an obligation to an opinion.
And yes, I also can make a judgement about communities and culture. Who knows, maybe even debate philosophy.
I suggest get back in that time machine you must have and return to the decade you belong.
Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. It is appreciated.

Conchette said...

The rules you cite are long standing examples of the circle the waggons mentality that currently pervades Truman Annex. Almost any criticism of anything there is now met with a barage of vitriolic troll-like responses usually (as is the case here)from one or two anonymous thought police who brand anyone who fails to tow the TAMPOA line as "not belonging."

In spite of the insular we-don't-give-a-damn reputation trumpeted by these anonymous trolls, there are many people who live in the Annex who do care about its declining reputation in the larger community of Key West and who work hard every day for a change in TAMPOA poilicies. On some days there is reason to believe progress is being made. On others, we wonder.

Many Annex residents give a great deal of their time and energy in their volunteer and work activities to help to make Key West the live-and-let-live diverse place we like to think of. Many of us are embarrassed by the recklessness with which we feel the TAMPOA Board on occasion has acted and disappointed in the seeming inability of the TAMPOA leadership to connect with the larger Key West Community.

There is significant debate going on within the Annex over the long term viability of the legal strategies being persued in the federal court by TAMPOA. However, the TAMPOA Board appears to be trying to keep much of what is happening in the litigation under wraps for fear of tipping off the City to its strategy. You will note that the TAMPOA website has not been updated in months (and it's not for lack of money or time). Even the explanatory e-mails that TAMPOA members used to get from the Board (as it promised before the election in January to keep us more informed) have gone largely silent.

Finally, contrary to the protestations of your first poster, property values have fallen in the Annex and houses (despite many on the market) are not selling. Many of us think that this is tied in no small measure to the sky-rocketing assessments the Board has levied on TAMPOA members to pay for the lawsuits and the uncertainty about whether the Southard street controversy will ever be resolved in anyone's near lifetime.

Perhaps not all homeowners' associations are like TAMPOA, but on the belief that they may be many folks we know are trying to bail out of the Annex ASAP into other parts of Key West that are not part of a homeowners association.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record. I live in the Annex and as an aging hippie have always believed bad rules are made to be broken. I liberally use colored Christmas lights and display a liberal wreath. When I have visitors with children, they play and eat ice-cream wherever they please. I could care less if Southard remains two way without a gate and am confident this will be the final outcome of the current litigation. Why do I still live there? Thanks to the Southard St. brouhaha and the current housing market nothing is selling in good old TA.

Anonymous said...

I think a few folks need to learn how to chill out. I see no "vitriolic trolling" within the responses to the Kayo's or Konkie's blog posts. The only trolling I see is in Kayo's and Konkie's own trolling posts themselves....

Anonymous said...

There is no rule against colored Christmas lights. You obviously don't live here.

Anonymous said...

I also live in truman Annex and am part of the ever increasing number of homeowners that are disgusted with the homeowners association (TAMPOA) board and management. The reality is that there really is no democracy in the homeowners association. There has never been a homeowners meeting that was attended by a majority of homeowners and the management has struggled to get a quorum of proxies just to remain legal from the standpoint of Florida Statutes that regulate homeowners associations. A very small number of at best eccentric (at worst, psychotic?) part-time residents with strong ambitions have maintained control of the homeowners association and have the ability to secure proxies (questionably) from those that simply are mostly not around in Key West and could not care less about the petty politics of the community. Most homeowners are absentee owners and, if they actually come to Key West, it is only for a brief visit. Indeed, there have been instances when even TAMPOA Board members have been in town but residing in off-site accommodations because they have chosen to rent their own unit for a profit. Virtually every homeowner has obtained a City authorization permitting transient rental of their property. Face it, Truman Annex is a community of transients and I guess that is one reason that those in power feel obligated to make ridiculous rules. In the past there is frequent crowing that the management of TAMPOA was responsible for the rising property values of Truman Annex (as if the weather and uniqueness of Key West had nothing to do with it) but TAMPOA Board members and management are now mum when their actions in never ending waste of homeowners money to pursue stupid legal battles has resulted in home values DECREASING in Truman Annex while other areas of Key West are still enjoying INCREASING property values. For some wealthy people, however, there can never be enough money. It is ironic that while TAMPOA Board president Tom ("Pussy")Tukey is pursuing his battles at the expense of all the homeowners that he has his own home listed for sale with a real estate agent (transient license included).

Anonymous said...

Housing prices in Truman Annex are not going down. Their upward trend has slowed (like virtually all home sales in the US) but they are not going down. Prices within Key West as a whole HAVE gone down, but not in Truman Annex.

Cayo Dave said...

I have no idea if prices in Truman Annex are rising or falling. My guess would be falling. And I would doubt that if Key West prices are falling that somehow Truman Annex would still be rising.
With a record glut of properties for sale in Key West, and a large number of properties under development, I would say that properties will see significant pricing pressure.

Cayo Dave said...

Anonymous who wrote:
"There is no rule against colored Christmas lights. You obviously don't live here."

According to the TAMPOA rules and regulations, page 2, section 9 there is such a rule:
"Holiday decorations are allow during the month of December only and such decorations must be approved by the Association. Approved decorations include: conservatively installed non-blinking small white lights, limited red bows and pine garland, and a conservative wreath."

Anonymous said...

Don't know what you're reading from but the rule was changed about four years ago and colored lights have been allowed since then.

Cayo Dave said...

I was referring to rules posted on the TAMPOA website at least as recently as April 25, 2006. If they changed the rules, then maybe they should do as Conchette has reasonably suggested - update the TAMPOA website.
I would like to read what the current TAMPOA rules are.
So according to the previous poster colored lights are allowed.
Can they blink too, oh great and generous leader? (lol)

Anonymous said...

As said, members of a home owners association can change the rules by democratic means. It's too bad that Key West city feels as if they can change laws and rules just on a whim. Ask Mr. Bethel about his feeling on commitments made by Key West City commissioners to businesses and constituants.

Sally O'Boyle said...

If by "prices are still rising", you mean that TA is still seeing record sales figures, that may be true. For the moment. Old town (which includes TA) is simply the last area of town to fall.

Up till now, old town prices have been "holding their own" in this market. Old town still generates the most interest from wealthy buyers. Buyers who still have money and are less likely to be IMMEDIATE victims of either speculation woes or the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.

Old town is not immune to a global correction. Prices have been softening there, too, and will follow the downward trend to sanity.

Anonymous said...

Sally, you've changed the subject. The point that was made on this thread was that "stupid rules" have contributed to dropping prices in Truman Annex. The fact is that (other than some of the low-end Shipyuard units) prices have NOT fallen in Truman Annex. Even those Shipyard units are not going DOWN, they're just not going UP as much as people have hoped. And the "stupid rules" have nothing to do with it.

The future of the prices of housing in Key West are a different topic (see other posts to the main blog)....

Cayo Dave said...

Anonymous, how far do you have your head actually buried up your ass?

The point of this thread was not "that 'stupid rules' have contributed to dropping prices in Truman Annex."

The point of this thread is to question whether or not a gated, conformist community deserves the 15% price premium sited by Tom Tukey and TAMPOA.

Anonymous said...

Yo, the word is "cited", genius

Anonymous said...

Still spouting your foul mouth cursing. What are you 5 years old? Can't you discuss a topic without profanity or is this just too much of a strain for your mind to grasp. As I said you are a troll.

Cayo Dave said...

Thanks anonymous.
As they say, "my spell checker can't read."

And thank you for considering me for genius status.

Cayo Dave said...

Cursing? What cursing?
Do you mean my use of the term "ass"?
I meant no offense. I was referring to a donkey, which I assume you have and cherish.
BTW, I love how you can admonish my name calling and in the same sentence call me a name.
Is that a TAMPOA thing?

Anonymous said...

Look it up,(per Konchette) it's a description of you actions! If the shoe fits, wear it.

Anonymous said...

Here's a comment that Konky chose to censor over on the TAMPON blog (props to KO Dave for posting "embarrassing" posts here):

It amazes me that Konky chooses to live in Truman Annex when the rules of a home-owner association are such anathama to "them". And it also seems weird that KO Dave continues to obsess over life inside the Truman Annex....

Cayo Dave said...

I've found that the best way to prevent mold from spreading is to shine light on it and let a fresh breeze blow in.
I probably wouldn't care or reported about Truman Annex if they hadn't begun to exert control on Southard Street & the Truman Waterfront.

Anonymous said...

The city of Key West is no longer asserting ownership of Southard St. per their depositions. The control of Southard St. will be decided in the courts and not on your website. If you were so anxious to find out about the ownership of the street you ought to read the depositions of our city leaders. They truly reinforce the idea of "inmates in charge of the asylum". Most under oath have never read the agreement of 2000, have not read any of the mediation agreements, and have no idea of the issues or facts of the case and appear to base their decisions on rumor. The depositions are now in the public domain. These are our public officials. What a sorry bunch of know nothing, do nothing boobs. It's for good reason that Monroe county is a area of "critical concern". Translate that to mean that even in Florida, the state legislature has standards (albeit low) that this area can't meet.

veggiegator said...

Those rules sorta take away from the historical aura of Key West. Makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

The "rules" are pretty much boilerplate for home-owner association communities. And Truman Annex isn't the first such neighborhood here in Key West to have such rules, and is by no means the last. Making a big deal out of them here is just another senseless attack on good people.

Cayo Dave said...

Clearly the previous anonymous commenter has never been to a hippie commune.
Lets challenge the notions of what we accept in our society (and the engineered communities developers are fabricating for us)

Anonymous said...

OOOOOHHHHH, somehow I missed the fact that Truman Annex is a hippie commune.

Nevermind.....