San Clemente is a picturesqe California coastal town. But the big local controversy is a huge condo complex that went bankrupt five years ago. The empty building attracts rats, drug dealers, and has a massive impact on other homes in the Timbers at Towne Center Homeowners Association. Homes worth nearly $300,000 a few years ago now sell for less than $150,000. That is, when they can sell at all. Homeowners say they occasionally get interested buyers. But they’re chased away at the thought of living next to a garbage dump.
The city can’t do anything. Banks won’t lend money.
One adjacent homeowner says the neighbors complain bitterly about the long term eyesore. But they reject any attempt by the city to raise taxes to help pay for the project’s removal.
It’s so typical of Homeowners Associations, which often seem suicidal when it comes to adapting and finding peaceful solutions to local problems. Sometimes it’s hard to feel sorry for them.