By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Homeowners and residents don’t always agree with the rules and management decisions in their association-governed communities. Conflict and HOA lawsuits are fairly common, but mostly invisible to those who do not reside in a covenant-controlled neighborhood.
But sometimes an HOA opposes city government. And there’s a bit of irony in that circumstance. After all, municipal and county governments have spent the past three decades encouraging and even mandating HOAs for practically all new residential development.
In two growing cities, Houston and Eagle, ID, HOA leaders have decided they cannot tolerate the general public enjoying what they see as “their” park areas. HOA boards have taken matters in their own hands to restrict public activity.
There’s just one problem. Houston’s Broadacres beautiful esplanade is on public property. Same goes for an access point to Eagle’s Boise River Greenbelt.
In both cases, city officials have informed community leaders that, just because their HOA surrounds these areas, that does not grant board members any rights to restrict visitors from enjoying public parks.
When HOAs start telling non-HOA residents what they can and cannot do on public property, I would say the lines between public and privatized governance have become very blurred.
Two examples of HOA overreach
In Houston’s post Broadacres neighborhood, the HOA put up signs banning photography in the esplanades. After citizens complained, city officials have since removed those signs.
City weighs in after neighborhood bans photography at picturesque Texas spot
Planning a photo shoot? Remember the ‘golden rule,’ they say
Diane Cowen Updated 3:22 pm, Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Signs prohibiting photography on the shady esplanades of Broadacres have come down, after the city of Houston confirmed that the popular place for photo shoots is in the public right-of-way.
Last week, the Broadacres Homeowners Association, frustrated at what they felt was abuse of the neighborhood greenspace, posted signs making their well-tended esplanades off-limits for those wanting to use it as a backdrop for wedding, engagement, quinceanera or other photos.
See the previous report (ABC13 Video):
City of Houston responds to neighborhood photo shoot ban
In Eagle, Two Rivers HOA put up physical barricades to prevent visitors from parking near the Greenbelt trail public access point. The Mayor is having no part of it, and, after his unsuccessful attempts to resolve the matter, the City has filed legal action against the HOA.
Eagle squares off with HOA over blocked Greenbelt access
Morgan Boydston, KTVB 11:18 AM. MST November 29, 2017
EAGLE, Idaho — The City of Eagle has filed suit against a local homeowners’ association for blocking public access to a parking lot that leads to the Greenbelt.
In a complaint filed against the Two Rivers Homeowners’ Association Oct. 10, the city alleges the HOA put up bollards – short yellow posts – to block the entrance to the lot. A trail from the parking lot leads directly to the Boise River Greenbelt.
Eagle Mayor Stan Ridgeway said Two Rivers HOA should not get to decide who is allowed on that public land.
Read more (video):