Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Homeowners Associations:The Enemy of Solar? - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com

Homeowners Associations:The Enemy of Solar? - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com: "Lawmakers in Texas are considering a bill that would prevent homeowner associations from banning solar panels, and similar laws are already in place in a dozen or more states, according to the Database of State Initiatives for Renewable Energy — including Arizona, Colorado, Florida and California, among others."


Fred Pilot said...

This story illustrates the nonsensical and arbitrary nature of private government. These decisions are often made on subjective whim with no study or public hearing process that true local government typically employs.

Moreover, as the story notes HOA boards often don't even feel it's necessary to respond to communications from property owners. The reason is they don't view them as constituents to which they are accountable. This isn't democratic and transparent governance and thus has no place in the U.S.

The failings of private government in turn create a cottage industry for wasteful and frivolous litigation. Civil justice reform groups should make reversal of current policy favoring privatization of local government one of their top policy goals.

Fred Fischer said...

Amen Fred Pilot….
This issue goes along with a recent article about California’s Solar Rights act of 1978, “California law makers of the 1970's anticipated the small-minded resistance that would come under the guise of "art juries." Or as to often happens in the HOA culture, claiming that “it will affect property values.” Since both are subjective and seldom substantiated by facts, studies or even open public debate. Neither is sound rational reasoning but instead represents the corrupting influence of power and the corporate governance system that favors and supports this kind of thinking.

We as US citizens today have long forgotten how our nation was first governed under Charters (contracts) the same as HOAs and why they were eventually abandoned in favor of the US Constitution. Which was in part intended to, counterweigh unchecked democratic process, tyranny, political factions or when seized by irrational passions.

HOA corporate governance is created to primarily benefit others instead of the members and inherently creates endless conflict and confusion which is in the best interest of the industry and not its members. It’s long past time that we again abandon this historically proven failed form of governance and return to Constitutional rule in our housing.

Fred Pilot said...

This phenom cannot be accurately described in the narrow context of "housing" only. HOAs are de facto local governments and have jurisdiction over community infrastructure such as streets, roads, parks, and recreational amenities as well as land use authority over the real property within them.

That said, the housing context does indeed apply when it comes to attached unit CIDs such as condos where the HOA has authority and maintenance responsibility over common area dwelling structure components.