66. Can our developer, he’s also the declarant, really own property in our HOA and not have to pay the annual assessment?

We will assume your HOA is:
(a.) no longer under declarant/developer control,
(b.) that your HOA has received the declarant’s/developer’s Deed Of Transfer of the common areas,
(c.) your HOA (or a management company) now manages the business of the association on behalf of all the members and
(d.) someone has purchased property in your HOA who happens to be the developer/declarant.

Anyone who financially qualifies can purchase one or more lots/homes in an HOA that is for sale.
WV Code §36B-2-107(b). Allocation of allocated interests. The declaration [your governing document] must state the formulas used to establish allocations of interests. Those allocations may not discriminate in favor of units [lots/homes] owned by the declarant or an affiliate of the declarant.

WVOHOA is aware in some cases in West Virginia where property owners have been exempt in paying HOA assessments as part of the rights that run with the land –  you MUST read and understand your own unique governing documents. Not all governing documents are the same.