Palos Verdes Homes Association
Palos Verdes Estates was conceived by E. G. Lewis, a visionary promoter. At that time, what is now Palos Verdes Estates was a part of the Vanderlip Ranch. Prior to April, 1922, Lewis obtained an option from Vanderlip on approximately 3200 acres of land, which now comprise Palos Verdes Estates. Upon the exercise of the option, and to provide the machinery by which the subdivision was to be laid out and financed, the 3200 acres were transferred to a trustee, subject to the terms and provisions of a trust indenture commonly known as "Palos Verdes Trust Indenture". This instrument is still important because it provides for the organization of the Homes Association and defines its purposes and functions, provides for the creation of the Art Jury, defines its purposes and functions, and provides for the drawings and recording of use and building restrictions.
Prior to sale of lots to the public, the trustee, pursuant to the provisions of the Trust Indenture just referred to, filed a subdivision map, and drew and filed in the office of the County Recorder the use and building restrictions, and organized the Palos Verdes Homes Association.
The owner of each building site is entitled to one vote at the annual meeting of the Homes Association. At the annual meetings, a board of directors is elected. This Board governs the activities of the Homes Association.
During the period of prosperity, the trustee and the selling agency donated money, over and above that which was received from Homes Association assessments, to make up the deficits which accrued from time to time in the maintenance and operation of parks, swimming club and golf club, and for taxes on the 800 acres.
By 1938 the Homes Association owed the State of California for taxes on the parkways, shore line, Golf Club and Swimming Clubs approximately $50,000.00. Needless to say, the Board of Directors of the Homes Association and the residents became concerned for fear the State of California might sell these properties at tax sale, and the community would lose one of its most valuable assets.
Upon the organization of the City, it necessarily took over many of the functions of the Homes Association. For example, the maintenance of the roads and streets, the maintenance of the parkways and planted areas, the maintenance. and operation of the golf club and the swimming club, and police and fire protection.
Many of you doubtless wonder what, if any, functions and duties remain for the Homes Association to perform. This is a natural question that might occur to anyone who is not wholly familiar with the nature and enforcement of the use and building restrictions, and the functions and duties of the Art Jury. The Homes Association has independent functions to perform, which no city can legally perform. These functions must be performed by the Homes Association to protect one of the most valuable assets that the community has. Palos Verdes Estates is one of the few communities in Southern California, and indeed in the State of California, which has a comprehensive plan of both use and building restrictions. With the growth of the population and industry in Southern California, it is becoming increasingly important that use and building restrictions be perpetuated. The Homes Association under the Restrictions themselves, under the Trust Indenture, and under its Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, is given the power and the right to enforce these restrictions.
The Homes Association has the power to levy assessments to carry out its functions. Since the organization of the City, only one assessment has been levied because the Homes Association has derived funds from assessing individual fees similar to a building permit when the owner wishes to make improvements to his property. This gives the Homes Association the financial means to pay the expenses and fees incident to the enforcement of The Restrictions so this burden will not fall upon individual owners in the event of concerted action to upset or defy the restrictions. The Homes Association is thus in a position to take immediate action in the event of violations.
The Restrictions provide for types of architecture, types of roofs, and minimum building costs. The city has neither the right nor the power to regulate or control types of architecture, types of roofing, or minimum building costs. And, more important, the Restrictions are in effect until January 1, 1960, and they continue automatically for successive twenty year periods thereafter, unless a written recorded agreement is signed by record owners of more than one-half in area of the whole property, exclusive of streets and parks. Such a provision extending the restrictions is valid under the law. The City has passed a zoning ordinance which provides a simple and economical means of enforcing many of these essential zoning restrictions.
The members of the Board of Directors of the Homes Association and the members of the City Council serve without compensation. They devote their time and effort to the affairs of the community because they are interested in the welfare of the community.