Saturday, July 01, 2006

Don't Make a Federal Case Out of Homeowner Association Rules

The flag desecration amendment did not pass this week, but another flag bill did. H.R. 42, the "Freedom to Display the Flag" bill makes it illegal for condominiums and neighborhood associations to place restrictions on the size and placement of the flag as displayed by residents.

I will agree that homeowners' associations sometimes create really stupid rules. I would never live in a neighborhood that imposed regulations on what decorations I can and cannot have in my yard or whether I can have my garage door up. If I like plastic pink flamingoes, then I should be able to have them in my yard if I want.

However, many people live in such neighborhoods because those areas tend to denote a certain lifestyle. The restrictions placed on homeowners discourage certain types of people from living there. People who don't care to keep up landscaping guidelines or who can't afford to hire landscapers to keep up their flowerbeds tend not to live in these neighborhoods. People who own a bass boat or a camper trailer but who can't afford to pay the fee involved in keeping it at a storage unit so that it won't clutter up the driveway will be discouraged from living in restricted neighborhoods. And certainly someone who would put a car up on blocks in the front--or back--yard would not be allowed to live in those areas. Neighborhood associations exist for the sole purpose of "keeping up appearances," of pricing the "less desireable" people out of the market.

So, when you move into a neighborhood that imposes restrictions on its residents, you shouldn't complain even when the restriction applies to the display of the flag. You chose to live in an exclusive neighborhood. You chose to live under a certain set of rules so that you can enjoy a certain lifestyle. If you want the rules changed in your little world, then get together with your neighbors and participate in democracy and vote as a neighborhood to change the rules. Don't put it off on a federal government that has much bigger things to worry about.

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