Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summit County, homeowners square off over crumbling road

Take our roads, please. No thank you.
Fred Pilot sent this along. This is the typical scenario when an HOA gets stuck with crumbling private roads: they ask local government to take it, and the municipality or country usually says no, because the roads don't meet the minimum standards for public streets:

"The homeowners association recently asked the commissioners to take over full maintenance for the road system in the neighborhood, but county staff recommended against the move, citing a need for more than $1 million worth of repairs that need to be done first."


Fred Pilot said...

This story illustrates how the privatization of local government in the form of mandated HOAs is a serious public policy issue relating to how we govern ourselves at the local level -- and how we pay for that government. HOAs don't just happen. A policy choice has been made in favor of privatization.

Moreover, the numerous media accounts of ridiculous HOA lawsuits over lawn heights, paint colors, solar panels, swingsets etc. also fail to focus on the serious policy issue of how privatizing local government has created a breeding ground for wasteful, frivolous litigation.

Anonymous said...

As you rightfully have noted the "choice" was made, but not by the homeowner.

With respect to the characterization of "wasteful, frivolous litigation" - doesn't the characterization depend upon membership with CAI? (i.e., the hogs creating the wasteful, frivolous litigation for profit)

In my experience, the organization's members not only engage in wasteful, frivolous litigation but also seem to be rewarded for engaging in the most unethical conduct as attorneys and management companies. Consider the violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, for example. In the courtroom, I have witnessed them collude to lie before the court. The attorney, management company, and insurance are often identified as wholly independent entities and yet the connections and compensation between them is not as "arms length" as one is led to believe.

Fred Pilot said...

"As you rightfully have noted the 'choice' was made, but not by the homeowner."

Indeed it was. Homeowners are typically voters too and have voice in public policymaking.

Anonymous said...

That sounds fine and dandy but the reality is that elected representatives are often just as bad as HOA board members. Once in office they frequently represent themselves and not the interest of their constituents. Indeed that is often why they seek office or establish the control structure in the first place.

Take a look at Congress. With respect to many "elected" positions, they are more or less purchased or at least the votes once in office are purchased. Do you think the American people "chose" TARP? The choices are too far removed from the affected who at best elect representatives who elect representatives to sit on committees who appoint people that make these horrendous decisions that the appointees are either immune from the effects of or otherwise profit from.

No, I would say that individual choice is fleeting at best. You could argue that a specific person might be able to avoid living in an HOA, perhaps. However, there is a significant portion of the population that has no choice but to live in an HOA because there is not enough supply of non-HOA housing. Absent a prohibition against HOAs, developers will always create them because they the mechanism for controlling and profiting off of all the homeowners in the regime.

Fred Pilot said...

Of course developers are motivated by profit. That's their business.

My hope is that Americans can take a larger picture view and understand that this is not just about developers and homeowners but rather as Evan McKenzie observed more than two decades a public policy decision to privatize local government.

This collective public policy decision has been made cumulatively over the course of four decades and like any other choice is not immutable and subject to change.