Community associations today are much more prevalent than in the past. You’ve seen them, you probably live in them or have lived in them, know someone who lives in them or will live in one in the future. So why do community associations survive? Why do they succeed? Why do they continue to be developed?
To avoid repeating problems of the past, perhaps we should look at what has worked before and ask ourselves: what are the characteristics of the most successful communities?
Because I believe there is more right than there is wrong with them, let’s think about what communities provide for us:
- Collective amenities that we couldn’t afford alone – pools, tennis courts, golf courses, etc.
- Protection of property values by regulating what can and can’t go on around us – storage, paint colors, minimum landscaping
- Creation of commonality, a community for those that want to participate – lifestyle creation
- Governance structures and accountability for leadership – local election and reporting requirements
- A voice for people to say what they’d like to see their community become – a vision, a mission and requirements for meetings
- Protection to keep the community safe from crime – the lifestyle of gated or secure communities
- An improved standard of living – ensuring against negative neighborly impact
- Economy and choice for first-time home buyers – confidence in value and viability
If successful community associations are going to survive and thrive, there are a few things we should recognize and implement:
- Community associations are not for everybody – Governing documents and state statutes outline rights and responsibilities
- That a small amount of negativity can have a huge impact and we shouldn’t focus on it too much – rather spend our time concentrating on the satisfied 95%
- The most successful communities get serious about their leadership and the roles they all serve – board members should be servant leaders
- People get the governance they deserve; in other words, they get from their community what they are willing to put into it themselves
- Education is necessary for boards to set the direction and vision for their community successfully
- Regulation will come and continue to come, and we should be prepared to engage in the governmental dialogue
Association Times Staff Writer