MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) — Tuesday the Dunes West Homeowners Association notified homeowners of new electronic speed measuring and recording devices that will be installed in the neighborhood, and homeowners are furious.
According to residents, without any notice, the Dunes West Property Owners Association (DWPOA) sent a letter establishing new rules when it comes to speeding and safety within the neighborhood.
“Under this new Rule, and effective August 1, 2018, the Dunes West Property Owners Association (DWPOA) will utilize an electronic speed measuring and recording device to randomly monitor traffic speeds on all Dunes West private roads. This device will record the speed of violating vehicles and provide photographic evidence of the vehicle and its license plate. All recorded violations of the posted speed limits by an Owner or the Owner’s family, guests, or tenants, will be reviewed by the Association Manager “
– DWPOA Letter
Homeowners are up in arms about these new changes.
“Are they serious?” homeowner John Heaney asked. “This was not thought out at all.”
Heaney said he found out about the changes on Facebook.
“This just was handed down to us almost with an arrogance,” he said. “That you will obey and this is what we’ve decided.”
According to homeowners, no one was notified about the changes or included in the discussion about the changes.
“They didn’t even tell us about this,” homeowner Anna Allen said. “We were all shocked, the measures seem so extreme.”
Here are the following punishments in the event someone encounters a speed violation:
a. For first time offenders, the Owner will receive a written notice of the violation with details and photo used to document the violation.
b. If a second violation occurs within 12 months after the date of the first violation, the Owner will receive a written notice of the date of the Board of Directors’ meeting at which the violation will be considered, including the potential for suspending for a period of 30 days all bar codes registered to the address of the Owner.
c. In the event that a third or subsequent violation occurs within 12 months after the date of the second violation, the Owner will receive the same notice, with the exception that the potential for suspending for a period of 90 days all bar codes registered to the address of the Owner.
d. If a second, third, or subsequent violation is deemed to be egregious (e.g. a speed 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit) the Board of Directors, in its sole discretion, may suspend all bar codes registered to the address of the Owner for a period of 6 months.
Neighbors in the Dunes West neighborhood own electronic bar codes to enter into the neighborhood. Homeowners say by them suspended those bar codes, they would have to go through the visitors line instead.
“All that will do is hold up traffic,” Heaney said. “How will that prevent people from speeding?”
Dunes West homeowners have a lot of problems with these new sets of rules.
“There isn’t any order to this,” Heaney said. “How are we being held responsible for if our friends or even contractors speed? I think the best thing is for them to say hey we made a mistake, let’s re-think this.”
Homeowners agree that speeding is an issue, but they believe there are many other solutions the HOA can use instead of electronic speed recordings.
“A lot of us think they should put up more stop signs, this just seems like an extreme measure,” Allen said.
Other homeowners suggest speed bumps, speed humps, or an electronic sign that shows your speed, but doesn’t record. Some homeowners are also worried about personal information being shared with the third party that will oversee the cameras.
Many homeowners were wondering if these new rules are illegal. According to attorney Joe Good, speed recording devices are illegal in South Carolina.
“Machines on public highways in South Carolina alone using photographic evidence, taking pictures of people is illegal,” Good said.
Although, he says this situation is a little different because Dunes West is private property.
“It comes down to this is a private road, gated area.and so does that make it legal?,” he asked. “It probably does, but it’s for the general safety and welfare of the neighborhood.”
According to a neighborhood poll, 91% of homeowners in the Dunes West community are opposed to these new changes.
According to the letter, a demonstration period for the new speed monitoring system will be from July 1 – July 31. The program will officially begin August 31.