Wednesday Sept. 29, 2010 | HOAs and the Green Movement

September 28, 2010 at 11:22 am | Posted in Coming Up | 7 Comments

There are hundreds of neighborhoods in our region and most of them are regulated by some sort of Home Owners Association. Those regulations generally include rules about lawns, exposed trash and exterior changes but some HOA covenants can be very restrictive according to residents. Added to the growing number of neighborhood disputes is a movement by more and more citizens to make their homes and lawns more energy efficient, but installing a solar panel or changing grass into natural habitat can run afoul of neighborhood rules. We invite experts on HOAs and how they work to join us and help us all understand neighborhood covenants and how they may change as cities become greener.

Mike Hunter
– Attorney, Horack Talley and Columnist on HOA issues, The Charlotte Observer
Rick Roti – Attorney, Chair of Charlotte Public Tree Fund

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  1. I do not understand why HOA’s insist that backyards be visible to the outside. Fence heights are kept low and fences have to have gaps to see through. In small lots there is not room to plant screening shrubs so people have no privacy in their backyards. As a result people want larger lots, aggravating sprawl.

    My HOA insists on visible backyards, then forbids the use of energy saving clotheslines. If we were allowed private yards, there would be no reason for this idiotic restriction.

    The developers who determine these rules need to go visit the beautiful, small, walled courtyards In Charleston. Maybe then they would understand that tiny lots can have very private outdoor spaces.

  2. My husband and I tried to buy a lot in northern Mecklenburg County that was attached and technically part of a development. The lot was undeveloped, wooded, and on the edge of the rest of the development. We wanted to build a passive solar house in this quiet, wooded environment. Ultimately the purchase fell through b/c the development required building a large garage and cutting down pretty much all of the woods. Though we had beautiful, very specific plans, the HOA membership were very skittish about anything different from what they were used to and ultimately we decided that we will never live in a neighborhood with a classic, suburban HOA.

  3. From my understanding there is no legal setup for election of officals in an HOA. Why is it that an organization that can assign fees, put a lien on a property has no obligation to promote fair and representative elections.
    Also… from this program where is the anti-HOA side. This program is starting to sound like it is being held completely by the people who are benefiting financially from HOAs.

    Side note: Penn and Teller’s Bullshit have done an episode on HOAs.

  4. Because large portions of our region has luckily retained and/or replanted a fairly high percentage of its tree canopy (though much of this has been lost during the past 2+ decades of insane anarchic development around here), you’ll have a difficult time adding solar panels to your roof and actually generating any electricity unless you cut down most of the trees surrounding the house or building you are trying to put solar panels on in order to get enough consistent sunlight coming down on your roof.

    I’d love to put solar panels on the roof of my house but alas I live in a very wooded area and wouldn’t cut down all of those trees surrounding my house unless I absolutely had to. Why? Well, not only are trees nice to look at but during the Summertime the trees help to block the extremely harsh solar rays and thus hugely cut down on cooling costs – this is why you almost always see old farmhouses and plantation houses in The South surrounded by a grove of big trees – they were planted there deliberately to keep the sun from beating down on the roof all summer and turning the house in a sauna.

    A lot of the new developments in this area were built on exhausted livestock pastures or old farmland, and thus didn’t have many trees to begin with. As such the people living in them pay a whole lot more to cool their homes during the Summer when compared to the Charlotteans who live in homes surrounded by sun-blocking trees. However, during the winter you could say the opposite is true – but since winters here in The South aren’t harsh I’d rather have trees surrounding my dwelling to keep the Summer sun off of it – if this prevents me from installing solar panels for the time being then so be it.

    So that is something to keep in mind since your HOA may not let you chop down all the trees around your house to install solar panels because it might interrupt the sylvan continuity of your neighborhood.

  5. 1. is it possible to combine HOA’s? My community sits between 3 naborhoods. Is it possible to do this?

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charlotte Talks, Sustain Charlotte. Sustain Charlotte said: RT @CharlotteTalks: Does a green home mesh with your HOA? Today: The intersection of HOA by-laws and the green movement. […]

  7. I have been using a rotary dryer to dry my clothes for years (as I did in UK – it is hugely popular there) and I have kept up the habit in the States.
    I live in South Charlotte.
    I only use my clothes dryer on wet or cold days. The rotatry is not a huge structure and is discreetly positioned so my laundry is not the length or breadth of the garden! I would fight this issue if I had to.
    Everyone talks of going green but it is not in our everyday thinking yet. Until we find ourselves in dire straights, we will not fully embrace greener ways of living in a significant way, sadly.
    Think how we have gone back to normal after the gas crisis of two years ago. Cycling is still not accepted around here….but THAT’S a whole other issue!!

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