Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Mandatory water restrictions for California

HOA boards take heed. You will allow your inmates to let their lawns turn brown. You will allow lawns to be turned into drought resistant landscape and even hardscape. At least until California makes up its 11 trillion gallon water deficit. And yes, you read that right.

1 comment:

robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

And there was a great disturbance in The Force, as though a million disciples of Ayn Rand cried out in anguish...

In Defense of Homeowners Associations
by Ari Armstrong
February 12, 2003 (scroll down)

As Lynn Bartels reports for the January 24 Rocky [the Rocky Mountain News], the legislature killed a bill "that would have prevented homeowners associations from limiting xeriscaping or requiring grass..." Two Libertarians I've chatted with think the bill was a good idea, as does Ed Quillen. I'm not convinced.

Yes, it's stupid for homeowners associations to require water-greedy bluegrass, especially in times of drought. That's not the point. The point is, should the legislature force associations to change their policies, or should members of those associations act independently to change the rules?

There is certainly well-developed libertarian theory that supports homeowners associations. Indeed, they are seen as the most viable market alternative to zoning laws. In the case of, say, the pig farm next door, a property owner can make the case in court that terrible smells and sounds interfere with the prior property right. But this is not possible with, say, neighbors who paint their houses neon orange or build ten-story additions. The market solution is a unanimous contract that maintains higher property values for everybody within the agreement.

Obviously, the associations are not always going to get the rules right. But the rules may be changed internally, without government interference. If you don't like the rules, you are free to move somewhere with different rules.

It's easy to see how a unanimous contract can give rise to a homeowners association. But how is the contract extended to new buyers? Each of the original owners in effect agrees to sell the home only to somebody who also agrees to abide by the contract, and in turn to sell it only to somebody else who agrees to it. In this way, the unanimous contract is extended indefinitely. Indeed, it creates a kind of market democracy libertarians can actually get excited about.

- - -

Note that Armstrong's editorial is from 2003 -- 12 years ago. 2002 was a drought year in Colorado. In 2013, the Colorado legislature passed SB13-183, "Concerning Water Conservation Measures In Common Interest Communities", after another drought year (2012) in Colorado. The vote by party was:

Democrats: 57 yes, 0 no, 0 excused
Republicans: 12 yes, 29 no, 2 excused

Ari Armstrong is an associate editor of The Objective Standard, which describes itself as "the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective (Objectivism being Ayn Rand’s philosophy of reason, egoism, and laissez-faire capitalism)." In this tweet a few months ago, Armstrong says that "For the record, I self-identify as a 'free market advocate,''radical capitalist,' or 'defender of individual rights,' not a libertarian" (October 08, 2014).