How HOAs pressure cities to create more HOAs

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Residents of an HOA-governed neighborhood, in a small town in Indiana, demand similar property values and restrictions for proposed new development.

The Daily Journal reports that Windstar HOA is putting pressure on Franklin’s planning department to restrict a developer’s plans to build 478 homes that will connect to its subdivision.

The name of the new development, The Bluffs at Youngs Creek, will occupy a 167 acre land parcel. The city planning department already vetoed Mark Alt’s original plan. It called for up to 570 houses on smaller lots.

The city says Franklin area Realtors and employers see a demand for bigger homes with more usable yards.

But the HOA wants the city to require Developer Mark Alt and Arbor Homes to further modify the current development proposal. Specifically, HOA board representative, Michael Larmour, is pressing for new homes with a value range of $250,000 to $300,000, and with covenants and architectural standards, similar to those in place for Windstar.

Reportedly, Windstar HOA consists of 214 homes, although 587 were originally planned.

The restrictions and owners’ association were established by Thomas & Thomas Developers in 1997.


478 new homes proposed for Franklin

By Michele Holtkamp – Daily Journal (Indiana)

2/17/19 7:48 PM

Nearly 500 new homes are planned for Franklin on property that was marked for a subdivision years ago, but neighboring residents are concerned about the lot size, home value and architectural standards.

Developer Mark Alt wants Arbor Homes to build 478 homes on nearly 167 acres southwest of the Windstar and Franklin Lakes neighborhoods off Nineveh Road. Mayor Steve Barnett and the city’s planning department have been negotiating with the developer and homebuilder for more than a year and through five revisions of the plans.

Read more:
478 new homes proposed for Franklin 

I share this article today, because it’s a good example of how and why new HOA-villes get created every year, despite the widespread negative public opinion of HOAs.

In this particular case, a few board members of Windstar HOA apparently want to impose a similar HOA, with an Architectural Control Committee, on The Bluffs at Youngs Creek.

Notice that the city planning board just assumes that covenants, restrictions, and architectural standards are necessary to protect property values, even though there’s little to no evidence to support that assumption.

No private property rights?

So now, instead of the home builder or home buyer being in charge of what kind of home to build, the city — via a handful of influential HOA board members — will dictate many design elements of each new home.

Believe it or not, a few politicians and zealous HOA leaders can limit your choices for new construction. Someone else gets to decide the size of your new home, acceptable siding and roofing materials, the placement of windows, driveway dimensions and paving materials, how big your garage must be, and much more.

Most importantly, one existing HOA can push local planners and developers to adopt similar versions of their own community’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Those imposed restrictions then limit every new homeowner’s rights to use and enjoy their own private property.

For example, Windstar HOA’s 23 pages of CC&Rs impose restrictions on the type of vehicles residents can park on their own property. They also provide specific restrictions and requirements for fences. The rules don’t allow an owner to operate a home-based child care business. The CC&Rs include restrictions against signs, above ground swimming pools, and clotheslines. The HOA even requires each homeowner to install and maintain the exact same type of mailbox.

Nobody bothers to ask the home-buying public what type of house and neighborhood they actually need and want. Why don’t local governments stop to consider that many buyers would prefer to limit or avoid CC&Rs, and especially HOA-governance and enforcement?

Another question to ponder: are Windstar’s homeowners aware that their board is pushing the city and a developer to impose a similar HOA regime upon their future neighbors?

The bottom line: a small number of vocal homeowners sometimes heavily influence new housing development. Unfortunately, many of those vocal homeowners happen to be HOA board members bent on spreading their control beyond their own neighborhoods.


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