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6 months after the Camp Fire: Property fees remain despite destruction

Property owners in Concow say they're frustrated they have to pay fees to a property owner's association in an unliveable community.

Posted: May. 8, 2019 4:01 PM
Updated: May. 13, 2019 3:38 PM

CONCOW, Calif.- "The fire was coming, burning on both sides of the road. It burned all around us, it sounded like a freight train or jet plane," said Art Castile, a resident in Concow. 

Castile grabbed his cats and his wife and bolted as the Camp Fire roared toward the community of Camelot in Concow.

His stepfather refused to go.

"He wasn't going to go unless he heard it on the radio. So, he stayed behind. He was the first one to die and the last one to be identified," Castile said. 

Only rubble is left of Castile's home. He's not moving back, but he's still a property owner.

Every home in the community burned. But according to the Camelot Owner's Association, there are still dues to pay.

One board member said they have to maintain the common area and pay for insurance.

This year the annual fee is $235, a 20% cut from the past year.

"They put in speed bumps but they didn't help us get rid of our pine needles, clear any brush, to keep us out of harm's way for fires. All the important things, they missed, so I just don't feel that I want to give them any money," Castile said. 

"I wish that they would just suspend assessments until the places are cleaned up and sellable, who is going to buy a place full of ash and debris? Probably nobody," said another Camelot property owner, Chris Logan.

All four board members lived in the community and lost their homes as well.

They've looked into dissolving the HOA - but according to the "Davis Stirling Act," every single property owner has to agree to do it.

"If somebody decides they're not going to pay, the association could foreclose and take that property away," Logan said. 

That clause is in the property owner's agreement.

Castile said he's taking this to his lawyers.

"I may employ them to get this thing dissolved because it's not fair, we're not getting anything for our money and we're paying a lot of money," Castile said. 

"We got out of there with our lives and our little dog and the clothes on our back and that was it, but we still have the property to worry about," Logan said. "It doesn't make sense to me." 

See the Camelot Owners Association agreement below. Mobile users, CLICK HERE

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