Friday, January 15, 2010

HOA demand restrictions in federal buyout

The Galveston County Daily News: "GALVESTON — Some West End homeowners, worried about the city’s plans for beach-front properties acquired through a federal buyout program, want the city to restrict what it does with the newly public land in their neighborhoods. As part of its agreement to buy 64 hurricane-damaged houses under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the city asked those property owners to obtain releases from the homeowners associations so the city wouldn’t have to pay association fees or follow deed restrictions. Homeowners associations typically have some legal authority through deed covenants over how property is used. However, some homeowners associations are refusing to release the properties until the city agrees to leave the land as open space, City Attorney Susie Green said.

Although the federal government allows it, neighbors don’t want the city to transform the properties into camping sites, public bathrooms or unpaved parking lots, she said."

And of course the city council isn't interested in being dictated to by a bunch of HOA directors. Thanks to Bill Davis for this fascinating story.

1 comment:

Anonymous Homeowner said...

The city should just declare the damaged houses blight, exercise its right of eminent domain, bypass the HOA, and pay the homeowners.

Unlike Kelo and other examples of eminent domain abuse, it sounds like the West End homeowners themselves are more than willing to sell their hurricane damaged properties to the government.

If that happened, I'm sure that the conservative and libertarian knee-jerk reaction would be that the city is violating the private property rights of the HOA corporation.

In any case, this is an enlightening example of how HOAs -- those wonderful creations of the fairy tale known as the free market -- prevent individual property owners from exercising their rights to conduct consensual business transactions with other parties (in this case, the government).

If the HOA corporation wants the properties to be open space, then they should pay for that themselves. That is one of the amenities HOAs are supposed to provide for their "members."

PS -- The money quote from the story, from developer Bruce Reinhardt:

“The frustrating part is these houses should have been rebuilt,” he said. “These guys are just getting a sweetheart deal.”