Save the Lakes

Save the Lakes sign in the yard of a community house.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

The group fighting to keep the Lakes Golf Course from becoming a blight in their community is being accused of causing a blight themselves with yard signs that violate the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions.

Yellow “Save the Lakes, Save Ahwatukee” signs have been popping up in yards across Ahwatukee for weeks as the Save the Lakes group has been ramping up efforts to educate neighbors. Their goal has been to inform homeowners about the deed restriction mentioned in their CC&Rs that protects the Lakes Golf Course from development. Unfortunately, the signs that have been made and placed in front yards of Save the Lakes supporters are not allowed in several neighborhoods by those same CC&Rs.

Letters have been sent out to several homeowners from Ahwatukee Board of Management asking them to take the signs down within three days. If the signs are not removed, the association could take further action against the homeowner.

Not all neighborhoods within ABM ban signs in front yards. The HOA manages 56 neighborhoods and the rule depends on the sub-association of the neighborhood. Ten neighborhoods within the association are silent on the issue. ABM does not plan on sending letters to those homes. Two of the neighborhoods that previously prohibited signs have persuaded their local board of directors to waive that rule for 72 days, said Ben Holt, president of Save the Lakes.

Holt’s neighborhood currently doesn’t allow signs and they do not have a sub-association board but he said he will go to his neighbors with a petition asking to allow the signs for 72 days and feels confident they will be approved. The group is seeking 72 days because that is what state law allows for political signs.

“I maintain that it is political,” Holt said. “The reason I say that is because this issue involves a potential vote which is political and it also involves petitions which is another term used in political things. My take is that this is in fact a political issue, therefore state law forbids any sub-association to deny political signs. ABM is somewhat questioning whether or not they are political signs. In my mind they are.”

Robert Blakesley, general manager of ABM, said the HOA has contacted its counsel, Scott Carpenter with Carpenter, Hazelwood, Delgado and Bolen, and in his opinion the signs do not meet the definition of political.

“That being said, Mr. Carpenter offered a possible temporary option for the Board to consider which ‘might calm the tensions,’” Blakesley said. “Management will request the subject be placed on the Board’s May 21 meeting.”

Some members of Save the Lakes have been angry with ABM for not forcing the owner of the golf course, Ahwatukee Golf Properties, to maintain the course. The association does not have any power to do so, according to their attorney Dean Formaneck.

Save the Lakes is selling the yard signs for a donation and hoping to raise awareness for their cause through the signs. The group also has bumper stickers.

For more information on Save the Lakes visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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