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HOAs and government---discussion?

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by Barbara, May 1, 2005.

  1. Barbara

    Barbara Member

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    Is anyone interested in discussing the front page article in today's Post

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/30/AR2005043001060.html

    and the aspects relevant to HOAs?
    [?]

    I found the sections dealing with HOAs as government interesting, and I also found the land-use concepts interesting.

    I once saw an opinion posting by a resident of Purcellville in a nws forum, who said that we would not need parks if there were no development, because before there was development kids just played in the woods and down the creekbeds.

    I did that too when I was a kid, but it doesn't change the fact that the land belongs to someone, then and now. Granted, if only two or three families own all of the land surrounding you, that reduces the number of people from whom you need to gain permission to use their land, but it doesn't change the fact that someone owns it.

    The same feeling/perception seemed to be present in the article: there are the swimming pools etc in the planned developments, for which the residents agree to pay what is in effect a tax when they choose to purchase there, and what should be the policy on opening the amenities thus funded to nearby residents who do not participate in the tax structure which provides the amenity?

    Also interesting was the other side of the issue (which is really the same concept), of the woman in Lenah who sees new residents of the by-right Lenah Run walk their dogs on her property etc.

    Where do HOAs fit in the larger service/amenity structure?
    What is the evolving concept of property ownership?

    I'm interested in everybody's opinions, including the other members of the forum who live in Brambleton, Ashburn Farm, and other developments in the area. Comments?

    Barbara Munsey, from South Riding.
  2. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    Wow. I'm rather surprised by the lack of response and thought others would be chiming in shortly. Barbara, I really like your writing style, your thinking and your thoughtfulness.

    Yeah, I read the article with a great deal of interest and it brings up some good points.

    I live in Cascades and would not want neighboring developments to have access to our shared facilities. They have their own, covered by their own HOA dues.

    There are a few "orphan" homes in our vicinity that seem to belong to no particular HOA or development. I would have no problems extending the use of our shared facilities and amenities to these folks as long as they help pay for them. The example given of an "outsider" joining the swim team is a good one.

    I think this is a reasonable and neighborly solution, but of course, the "devil is in the details" and how do you come up with a fee structure that includes the amenities like pools and exercise rooms, but not cover common grounds, snow removal, that kind of thing...

    I don't claim to have the answers........
  3. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    Sasha - you don't seem to mind sharing the Broadlands forum website! :D
  4. upr_dcker

    upr_dcker New Member

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    I think the author of the article was sending a couple of different messages. There certainly was the issue of how "orphan" homes and their residents are impacted by new developments and the HOAs.

    But, I think a major part of the story was the "stranger in a strange land" status of someone who had lived in the area prior to the new construction, and how the new residents (specifically, the children) treat the "legacy" residents. It made the kids in the new development appear, for lack of a better word, elitist. That's painting with a broad brush, but there was nothing to balance that impression. The reader (at least this one) was left with the impression that the kid in the article was grounded in reality, whereas the neighborhood kids are more interested in material pursuits (as evidenced by the ongoing comparison of floorplans). I think the kid in the article is in a very difficult position; being "different" at that age is enough of a challenge without being viewed as the kid who lives in the old house near the nice new ones.

    Having said that...I agree that non-residents who wish to avail themselves of services, such as a swimming pool, should have to pay. Residents are faced with rather steep HOA fees, and those funds should not be used to subsidize recreational facilities for non-residents.
  5. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    Right you are and I'm glad our Broadlands neighbors have this open policy. Other local development's discussion forums like the ones for Brambelton and Lansdowne are locked down tight, for residents only.

    Our Cascades discussion forums are equally open to all, the way it should be IMO.

    see you there...

    http://www.cascadesva.com/
  6. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    For what it's worth, I think most folks know that Barbara lives in South Riding. I'm glad she posts here.
  7. Barbara

    Barbara Member

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    Thanks Sasha J., and thanks for getting the ball rolling.

    I got several messages from the article too: I did get the sense that kids can be cruel--a friend at my daughter's ballet class when she was tiny told a hideous story about her child coming home to their older development (of beautiful solid homes with tons of mature trees) from kindergarten in the new school in the big new development, and asking her mom if they were poor because the other kids told her she lived in "Peasant" Valley (instead of Pleasant Valley).

    The kids got that at home, and lord knows the new neighborhoods go through their growing pains where everyone is comparing kickplates and window treatments. It is also a pretty universal adolescent stage--they get prickly when they're figuring out who they think they want to be/are supposed to be.

    I have to admit the boy rang some bells for me, one of which was that I've lived here longer than he has. It seems odd to read a story about old vs. new focusing on someone "old" who is newer than me.

    I was also a bit surprised that a kid so young was interviewed so extensively and freely, and yet with so little of the other side, which brings us back to "what is the message?" One of the messages I got was the idea that ownership is a bit mutable to people if it is invisible.

    The land where he played could have been Brambleton, which was rezoned before South Riding but began building long after. Just because it is woods doesn't mean nobody owns it--it may even be a shopping center waiting to happen, even if it feels like a magical secret playground.

    The older residents out in the rural areas run into the same things--a friend in Mt. Gilead got a new neighbor a couple years ago, whom she met when the woman was riding through her property, and stopped to tell my friend that she really ought to put in some trails. A colleague of a friend here grew up in Aldie, still lives there, and told her this story after reading the article: He was hunting on his own property, and approached by a woman in his own woods who asked him what he was doing, told him not to, and didn't believe that she was in fact on his property and it was legal for him to be hunting deer there.

    I agree that people who do not live in a development can, depending on what that particular community decides to do, participate for appropriate fees (and it makes me want to know if the boy in the story was invited to the pool by friends or just took himself in, and what precipitated asking him to leave? Nobody gets carded--other than to sign in, and with a crowd of kids it's easy to get confused-- or tossed at our pools unless there's a reason). That is up to the individual community, so again, what is the front page message?

    My first suspicion would be that it is a whole new way to bash suburbs, yet they did tell a bit of the other side/same issue with some vignettes from long term rural residents. It will be interesting to see what kind of follow up there is, if any.

    Thanks for some comments, gang!

    Barbara Munsey, from South Riding.

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