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Homeowners Association Targets 1,645 Oakland Residents In Lawsuit

A private corporation that oversees the management of Crystal Lake and Mirror Lake in Oakland is suing residents for past dues.
A private corporation that oversees the management of Crystal Lake and Mirror Lake in Oakland is suing residents for past dues. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson

OAKLAND, N.J. – More than 1,600 Oakland residents are being sued for past dues to a homeowners association many contend they were not aware they were a part of.

“I purchased my home in 2004. And at the time I purchased my home there was never any mention of my lot or my house or my deed or anything being part of any type of homeowners association,” Vivian King, one of the residents being sued by Ramapo Mountain Lakes, Inc. (RML) told Daily Voice.

She said she and others first learned they were supposedly a part of the homeowners association in 2012, when RML -- a private corporation that oversees the management of Crystal and Mirror Lakes -- sent dues notices. The corporation is now seeking five years of back dues from residents living within the 700-acre former summer recreation area.

At issue is an aging dam on Crystal Lake that RML would like to replace in order to mitigate flooding, and the resulting damage to homes on the western side of the lake.

Paula Baldino, a RML board member, told The Record she understands resident confusion. “We’ve been told that most title searches go back only two owners or 40 years, and that the shareholder connection won’t show up unless they search back to the ’50s, when the properties were first sold,” she said.

King, who lives on Hiawatha Boulevard, contends she cannot see either lake from her house, and “I have absolutely no access to either lake.”

But she told Daily Voice, if RML would have come to her and others and asked them to “work together to raise money to fix the floodgate … the entire community would have gotten behind them.”

“But they’ve chosen to sue their neighbors instead of coming and asking their neighbors for help,” she said.

Superior Court Judge William Meehan recently ordered RML to send to all 1,645 homeowners notice of the suit as well as notice of an upcoming hearing on the issue slated for May 10.

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