as someone who has served on several HOA boards (and still does) i find this a little hard to believe. i have yet to serve on a board, be it for condos or SFR, that would give the unilateral power to do something like this. everything has to be ran by the association attorneys first and then put up for a vote, and good luck getting the owners to respond.
the board i currently serve on had to literally go door to door to get owners to sign or send in their cards just so we could have a quorum for the annual meeting, and those cards are only good for 5 years. out of 72 units we average 3 owners showing up at the annual meeting in person, never more than 5 have been there in the 11 years i have been on the board, and they are always the same people and they always complain about the same things that can't be changed without a 75% approval from the unit owners. we have never had more than 1 owner show up to the bi-monthly meetings we hold. last year we had new siding installed and the only way it was approved was to send out yet another letter 3 weeks before it was supposed to start telling the owners if they did not respond the only thing the board could legally do was replace the existing cedar siding with new cedar siding at a cost of approximately 3-4x that of vinyl and then issue an assessment.
i agree in this case their actions are over the top but i have no sympathy for those who buy properties in a HOA and fail to read the rules, then cry bloody murder when they can't do something they want that is in violation of the association rules. they were provided to you when you purchased, and most likely discussed BEFORE you purchased, so you have no one to blame but yourself.
as an appraiser i hate most management companies as they have all outsourced their job of disseminating information to those who need it such as we do (# of units, # of rentals, etc). instead of taking a couple minutes to answer 3-5 questions i now have to get the cost, get approval from the client, buy the information (which is never complete) and wait to get my money back when i am paid for the appraisal. i have seen fees from $25 to over $300 for what is essentially an automated process handled by a website or computer with no human interaction. talk about a cash cow...
I have also served on HOA boards and found it a thankless job. Finally gave up on the one for the subdivision I live in. No enforcement! Neighborhood is going to pot. Oh wait, we actually voted on legalizing pot here so probably shouldn't say that anymore.
I'm more and more finding most people just don't give a damn and many prefer to live like pigs. Too bad really as the intent is to improve the quality of life and preserve property values. In the case of my HOA...the leadership is not old retired curmudgeons but rather young tattooed men and women who believe in less is better and let everyone do what ever they want. That's the reason I quit.