6 responses to “Zoning Our Way to HOA Insanity

  1. Ken Firestone

    HOA rules and regs are usually written in stone by the developer, long before the first resident buys in. And it takes unanimous, or near unanimous consent to change anything.

  2. Scott

    Exactly, Ken. It’s an inflexible system without a future. Cities and towns looking to build long-term community need zoning that precludes the single-use subdivision. Yes, developers of more diverse and complex mixed-use projects will still set up HOAs, but they’ll be of a new model that’s forced to contend with competing needs and wants. The manufactured simplicity of the subdivision, and the desire to maintain it, will be engineered out.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. vmichael

    Nice post. But the idea of zoning has not mutated – it was always about maintaining standards. Zoning covered 30 million Americans before it was even declared constitutional and almost all of those were middle-class suburbs. HOAs have basically taken up where government stopped.

  4. Scott

    I suppose it’s true that the actual act of separating things in order to maintain certain standards remains unchanged. More specifically, I suppose it’s the application of zoning, and the standards being maintained, that has morphed.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Liam

    The really scary part is in the NPR article about HOAs foreclosing on homes; it seems that individual HOAs are often run by private HOA management companies who stand to make a buck off the unflinching enforcement of the rules. Private sector making money off the privatization of public functions? Never heard that one before.

    Enough cynicism. What’s the right solution to make HOAs more accountable? I’m trying to think of a good localist solution here. Maybe part of the problem is that HOAs get the rights of municipalities to enforce zoning laws, but without the responsibilities to provide public services: infrastructure, safety, etc. If HOAs had this responsibility, and had to pay for it (effectively making them mini-cities) maybe they would be more likely to seek diverse, revenue-generating communities? At the very least, the full slate of HOA powers would be more transparent, and home-buyers could (and hopefully would) choose to live in the less-oppressive HOA zones.

  6. Pingback: What happened to HOAs? | Local Nomad

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