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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 06:47 AM   #41
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I read an article once about HOA's.* It seems that there is a known phenomena in the building industry about HOA's.* The builder subsidises the fees all during the selling phase and into a year or so after that.* By that time the home owners are so p*ssed off at him they vote to take over the association.* *After a year or more of running the association, and after raising the fees to compensate for the amounts the builder was kicking in, the turmoil concerning the association becomes unbearable.* At that point, the owners contact the builder about returning to run the association - which he would like about as much as a sitck in the eye.* *The builder then referes the HOA to a professional operation (with a referal kickback fee) that runs HOA's.* * This phenomena was enough to convince me to stay away from condos and the like.*
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 08:10 AM   #42
 
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
I think it's funny the kinds of people that cotton to the HOA lifestyle.. I find it in that sweet spot where fascism morphs into communism.

It was really shocking to see all these folks working for "freedom" who were content to have someone tell them what they could and couldn't do in their own backyard (where no one could even see, as Kitty and others have mentioned). Chilling. Zero personal identity. It felt like a luxurious version of a jail.

All my life I've lived in places where people just naturally seem to keep up a relatively similar standard of living/maintenance with respect to their neighbors.. no lawyers involved.

Doing your own thing is what America is all about!
Well, no one is trying to convince you to live in an HOA. There are all sorts of places to live in America that I would not be caught dead in. But that is America. We all get to choose. So the folks that are happy in an HOA are doing their own thing - It just so happens to line up with the rules of the HOA they chose to live in.

Us, folks who like living in an HOA, are trying to protect ourselves from the 'neighbor from hell'. We like the rules! We don't want to take the chance of strange odors coming from next door or Ernest T. Bass siting out front in a lawn chair drinking beer. No different than a resturant that states 'No shoes, No Shirt, No service'. Some folks would choose not to eat there also.

- I totally understand why you and others want nothing to do with an HOA. I also understand why some folks want to live in a high rise in Manhattan.

Again, No one is trying to convince you to live in an HOA - Get over it!

Happy in an HOA 8)
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 08:29 AM   #43
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I have lived with HOAs and learned to bend the rules. At our first house in suburban San Francisco, we put in a near-xeriscape front yard, which was against the rules. Nobody complained--not to us or the association anyway. And a few people even followed suit. Without young children to romp on the grass, I felt no need to have any.

Where we live now, you're supposed to have 65% of your front yard in grass. I asked around to find out the reason for such a bizarre rule. Best anyone could come up with was to prevent people from paving over their front yards and using it as a parking lot. So knowing I was obeying the spirit, if not the letter, I desgined a front yard that is maybe 20% lawn, the driveway that came with the house when we first saw it (and so confrms to the rule), and the rest is planting beds (trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, a few annuals) of my design--curves, berms, unpollarded crepe myrtles. My yard is a little blowsy-looking compared to the neat, cookie-cutter, chemically treated to a fare-thee-well lawn plus heavily pruned builder shrubs & trees of the other yards in the neighborhood, but we've gotten a lot of compliments and no complaints (to our faces, anyway ).

The only other rule we violated (I think) was accidently allowing visitors to park on the street overnight. We got a note immeidately, asking us to move the vehicle. Since then, we always remember to have friends park in the driveway.

The other rule I may break eventually is no clotheslines. I'm allergic to many pollens so I don't hang out the wash these days, but if the electric bill gets high enough, I probably will. I'd hang out the wash on a temporary line on the east side of my backyard early in the morning and fold and put away before anyone can be bothered. I wouldn't leave up an ugly line--only stretch it out as needed. Personally, I find clotheslines rather heartwarming--maybe coz we used them when I was growing up, and again when my children were little. Seeing laundry billowing in the breeze makes me smile.

=astro, interpreting the rules since 1949
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 08:45 AM   #44
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Again, No one is trying to convince you to live in an HOA - Get over it!

Actually, at the rate things are going, we might not have a choice in the matter! Most new neighborhoods around here are part of an HOA. They do it that way to make the actual community responsible for their own roads, trash removal, snow removal, etc, so the county doesn't have to deal with it.

And around here, the single family starter home has pretty much been replaced by the condo or the townhouse, which are usually going to be part of an HOA or worse, a condo association. So most people just don't have a choice!

Now sure, you can pack up and move out to the boonies a million miles from your job, and trade the HOA from hell for the commute from hell. Or try to find an older home that's not part of an HOA...if that's your thing. But it's easier said than done.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 08:54 AM   #45
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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Originally Posted by REWahoo!
many HOA’s have very limited restrictions and do not attempt to regulate the type of toilet paper residents are permitted to use.*
I don't get it.* If the HOA doesn't regulate the type of toilet paper residents are permited to use, how does it satisify the needs of the anal retentives that seek the leadership positions on the board?

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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 09:26 AM   #46
 
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
Actually, at the rate things are going, we might not have a choice in the matter! Most new neighborhoods around here are part of an HOA. They do it that way to make the actual community responsible for their own roads, trash removal, snow removal, etc, so the county doesn't have to deal with it.

And around here, the single family starter home has pretty much been replaced by the condo or the townhouse, which are usually going to be part of an HOA or worse, a condo association. So most people just don't have a choice!

Now sure, you can pack up and move out to the boonies a million miles from your job, and trade the HOA from hell for the commute from hell. Or try to find an older home that's not part of an HOA...if that's your thing. But it's easier said than done.
Well some might consider paying property taxes or income taxes too restricting. That is the price for living in the U.S.A or any society. There are rules everywhere. If you want to live in my Town you cannot keep a chicken coop filled with live chickens in your yard either!

There are always rules - you can never do as you please. You just have to decide what rules you can live with. That is the price of society.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 09:36 AM   #47
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Sure, there are rules everywhere. But, it's a shame that so many HOA's and condo associations are substantially influenced by the anal retentive personalities of their leaders who go overboard in interpretation and enforcement.

I'm sure many HOA's have done a fine job of preventing thoughtless folks from trashing the neighborhood. It's too bad that many others go overboard due to the "little Hitler" personalities of their leadership. It's those HOA's that draw the discussions that are making some uncomfortable.

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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 09:59 AM   #48
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Hey, HOA's are participatory democracies not totalitarian regimes. HOA boards are elected by the homeowners and can be removed by a vote of the homeowners. The HOA bylaws can be changed by vote of the homeowners. If you don't like the "anal retentives" who run the HOA, run for the board yourself (or is it easier and more fun to just sit back and whine? :).

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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:02 AM   #49
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I'm not saying all HOAs are bad, but enough of them are. Often their rules overstep their bounds. For instance, when I lived in my condo, they tried to impose a rule limiting you to something like two pets. They're talking dogs/cats here, not stuff like fish, hamsters, etc. Anyway, what's worse, three cats that never make a peep or one loud dog that barks all the time and craps in the owner's courtyard and they never clean up after it.

I can understand a rule on noise and a rule on cleaning up after your pet, as those are things that legitimately effect the neighborhood. But how many animals you have is irrelevant. Sure, if you have too many your house is going to stink and you'll most likely be able to smell it from the outside, but then that's a smell issue, not specifically a # of animals issue.

Our condo association also liked to pick and choose what rules it was going to enforce, and definitely had its favorite people. If you weren't one of their favorites, then you were often just considered a whiner. They were also incredibly wishy-washy about what was their responsibility and what wasn't. For the longest time, they said that windows were the unit owner's reponsibility, but then finally they admitted it was the responsibility of the association. Good luck getting them replaced though...they didn't have the reserves so you had to be put on a waiting list.

We also had a high percentage of rental units in our community, which only added to the fun and games.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:08 AM   #50
 
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
I'm not saying all HOAs are bad, but enough of them are. Often their rules overstep their bounds. For instance, when I lived in my condo, they tried to impose a rule limiting you to something like two pets. They're talking dogs/cats here, not stuff like fish, hamsters, etc. Anyway, what's worse, three cats that never make a peep or one loud dog that barks all the time and craps in the owner's courtyard and they never clean up after it.

I can understand a rule on noise and a rule on cleaning up after your pet, as those are things that legitimately effect the neighborhood. But how many animals you have is irrelevant. Sure, if you have too many your house is going to stink and you'll most likely be able to smell it from the outside, but then that's a smell issue, not specifically a # of animals issue.
Well, we have stories every year on the news here that People have a house full of cats. They start breeding inside the house and then it's out of control. I would not believe that this would be possible, that someone could actually tolerate living with 136 cats inside their house - but it is! They call in the authorities and end up killing all the animals as they are wild, sick and aggressive-

So Assoc. set a number 2 - seems fine to me. I'd even like to see our Assoc. say NO pets at all!

Again - Don't live in an HOA - You can't take your Cats into a restuarant either! - Thank God and the Health Board!
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:12 AM   #51
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I have always lived in the city so I had no experience with a HOA until I built a weekend place on the tidal Potomac. I got a great deal on land during the real estate slump in the early 90s and it happened to be in a waterfront development with a POA (we called it the property owners association since there were not a lot of homes up). After 15 years I have to say I appreciate the advantages. Some of the pictures posted above look a lot like dumpy trailers I have seen planted next door to nice water front homes. A friend of mine looked at a beautiful place, right on a point, but there was a dump fifty yards inland occupied by bikers of the 9% persuasion (or whatever the outlaw number is). Our POA covenants set minimum lot sizes, minimum home size, prohibit trailers, limit parking (no boats, campers, semis in the driveways, etc) but otherwise pretty much leave people alone. I am amazed at some of the goofy stuff people put up in this "classy" area - e.g. lawn fountains out of the Sopranos (no offense to you fountain fans . I would hate to see what might happen without restrictions.

The unfortunate part of the POA is that I got drafted to serve on the board. I am the Treasurer and could do without the extra responsibilities. Luckily there are two energetic retired senior military officers who do the brunt of the board's work. They are pretty controllling but generally well intentioned and good natured so things have gone smoothly.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:23 AM   #52
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

well, I don't understand how someone could get a house up to 136 cats without it getting reported well in advance. And at that point yeah, it's a real health issue.

But again, there should be rules on noise, smell, and health issues. Those things affect the neighbors. Whether I have two cats or dogs or three has, in and of itself, no bearing on anybody else. The annoying thing about the condo where I lived was that we did have people who had dogs that would bark constantly. They'd put the dogs out in their courtyard and then leave, and the dogs would howl incessantly the whole time they were gone. On this issue the association wouldn't step up. They'd just tell you to call animal control. Same for dogs running loose through the condo property. Even if you could trace down the owner, they'd tell you to call animal control; they wanted nothing to do with it. Yet they wanted to tell you how many animals you could have which, quite frankly, is none of their business.

Now if you rent a home, yes, the owner has the right to tell you if you can have pets or not. And if you go into a restaurant, you are entering someone else's private property, and they have the right to enforce rules. But when I own the home I live in, sorry. You can enforce the common grounds area as much as you want. But as long as there's no county regulations regarding how many animals you can have in your own home, and as long as it's not affecting anybody else, it's simply nobody else's freaking business!

Plus, in my case, this was a rule that they came up with after the fact, and not set into place from the get-go. There was no rule on animals when I moved in, but it was placed several years later.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:23 AM   #53
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
It's those HOA's that draw the discussions that are making some uncomfortable.
You can always back away and ignore this thread if it makes you uneasy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
Luckily there are two energetic retired senior military officers who do the brunt of the board's work. They are pretty controllling but generally well intentioned and good natured so things have gone smoothly.
There is little in this world more dangerous than a "well-intentioned, controlling, retired senior military officer"....

(For those of you who care to point out such things, yes, I do realize that "controlling" and "retired senior military officer" are redundant terms.)

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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:46 AM   #54
 
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
Now if you rent a home, yes, the owner has the right to tell you if you can have pets or not. And if you go into a restaurant, you are entering someone else's private property, and they have the right to enforce rules. But when I own the home I live in, sorry. You can enforce the common grounds area as much as you want. But as long as there's no county regulations regarding how many animals you can have in your own home, and as long as it's not affecting anybody else, it's simply nobody else's freaking business!

Plus, in my case, this was a rule that they came up with after the fact, and not set into place from the get-go. There was no rule on animals when I moved in, but it was placed several years later.
Yes it is their freaking business as long as you choose to live there.- Why are you willing to accept the State and county's rules, but not the HOA? The Federal, State, County and City all make rules after you move in. Your choice to to get politically active or move.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:50 AM   #55
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I have lived in a couple of HOA type communities. The last was down in FL. Golf Course Community, Gated and very nice place. I served on the "Covenient Enforce Committee" both as a member and as the Chair. Believe me the main problem with most if not all HOA is getting owners to participate. We had 630 homes and you would be lucky to see 25-30 of those homes represented at ANY type of meeting, monthly or annual. Getting members to volenteer for committies was next to impossible. It is sad since for most of us and them our home is our biggest monetary investment yet we, for the most part, are not interested in participating in the communities management in a positive manner - but many sure can sit around the clubhouse and complain an the management; thats is the easiest thing to do. The rules are usually very clear to buyers as they are furnished to them BEFORE they purchase. In some cases the builders will actually wait until just before closing to whip the booklet on the buyers JUST PRIOR TO SIGNING which does a disservice to the buyers and the community, but once signed they become the RULES to live by.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 10:56 AM   #56
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Cut-Throat.. maybe you thought I was attacking you.. I wasn't! I said it was "funny" about the kinds of people in the sense that it seems like both left/right seemingly laidback/uptight folks here have found something to like about them.

I wasn't aware there were areas where the majority of homes have these kinds of restrictions. (No sitting out front in a lawn chair drinking beer?) Sure, that rankles my sense of what should be "private property".. but hey.. I'm "over it.." I don't want to rain on anyone's parade if they're doing what makes them happy and not hurting anybody else.

It's true that the HOAs that tell you what kind of curtains you have to have give more reasonable ones a bad name. (No kids toys visible!?!?) But about enforcement and power trips, I just read someone complaining that when his HOA head (also head of local GOP) saw his Kerry bumper sticker, he started getting called on every tiny infraction--just him. Just sounds like a system set up for abuse (if not run by Cut-Throat, N.B.!!!!). *

Too many physical rules about minimum size lots, minimum size house (3000 s.f.? gag!), setback from roads, not only encourage sprawl but also alienate people. I went back to find something I was reading a while back that was food for thought:
http://www.lesstraffic.com/Articles/...SRactivity.htm
about ways to "reclaim the street" and calm traffic through "intrigue and uncertainty"! *

P.S. I have chickens on 2 sides, and cows (2 -- that must be the HOA limit * ) and geese on the other. No strange odors (or even common odors that might be perceived as bad...ask astromeria if you don't believe me). Plus the neighbors give us free eggs! *

Just curious.. are HOAs infinite? Could the majority vote the HOA out of existence? How come people/developers got along ok before HOAs became the norm? I also wonder what % of new construction is under HOAs...
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 11:00 AM   #57
 
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How come people/developers got along ok before HOAs became the norm?
They didn't! - That's what caused HOA's to be created.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 11:12 AM   #58
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

I actually tried serving on our board of directors for awhile when I lived in my condo. And yeah, community participation was a HUGE problem. We had 108 units. I think we had nine members on the board of directors and needed at least 6 people to make quorum. It was very rare that a homeowner would actually come to the meetings, and in many cases, we couldn't even get 6 of the members on the board to come!

Some of the people on the board actually DID care about the community and wanted to make a difference. But some of them were really just little spittles in the cesspool of life, and thought being on the board suddenly made them an important spit. There was too much in-fighting and arguing, and people with their own personal agendas.

As for the 2-pet rule, it never did get enforced. I think it ultimately got dropped because it really wasn't a concern. Plus, the president of the association had something like 3 or 4 cats! Other problems we had were with parking. You needed a permit to park on condo property, and they issued two per unit. Each condo had a 1-car garage and a reserved spot in front of that garage, plus there was overflow parking scattered about. So theoretically you could have 3 cars on the property. One car without a permit in your garage and two with permits outside of it. However, we had people park sloppy and take up two overflow spots, or sometimes park in a way that it would block a reserved spot in. Towing was always a problem, because we never could find a reliable towing company. And again, it seemed the association would pick and choose who it went after.

Another problem was with people leaving their trashcans sitting out. These places were designed as quadriplexes, and 3 out of every 4 units had its own private courtyard. The 4th, which sat over a row of garages, had a deck. However, since everybody had a garage and 75% of people had a courtyard, there was no reason for anybody to have their trashcans sitting out, except for trash day. It finally got to the point that the president of the association would walk around and if a trashcan was still sitting out at the curb a day or two after trash day, she took it.

As for the units with the deck, another problem was people storing items underneath it. The only thing that was supposed to be under there was the outside unit for the heat pump. When I moved in, somebody left a huge round planter, about 2 feet across, underneath my deck, filled with gravel, tucked back in the corner. Nobody ever griped about it for the whole 10 years I owned that place. When I moved I took it with me, thinking I'd use it one day, but to this day it sits behind one of my outbuildings. However, some people would store bikes, toys, and other junk under those decks. And the way some of the quads were set up, some of them had all the electric meters for those units under there, so there were problems with the meters being blocked. The quad across the parking lot from me was set up so that one neighbor's entrance was right beside the other neighbor's deck, so they started storing their own junk under the neighbor's deck!

I actually don't have a problem with some rules, and I know that HOAs and condo associations are a necessary evil. However, a rule really has to have some basis in reality, a reason for being. Not just "I don't like something, so let's make a rule against it."

Back to the animal thing, again, 2 animals is just an arbitrary number, and there is no logic behind it. Set up a noise rule, smell rule, whatever, but have the rule be based on that. If you know that your neighbor has three cats in their house when the rule says they should only have two, but those cats are not actually bothering you (i.e., no noise, smell, etc) then as I said before, it's really none of your business. In this case, a rule like this is an invasion of privacy. It's like a rule saying that you can only paint the INSIDE of your house a certain color or put certain color rugs down. If it's inside the house and it doesn't affect the health, safety, or well-being of others, it's simply nobody's business, and associations have no business sticking their noses in it.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 11:23 AM   #59
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
I went back to find something I was reading a while back that was food for thought:
http://www.lesstraffic.com/Articles/...SRactivity.htm
about ways to "reclaim the street" and calm traffic through "intrigue and uncertainty"!
Time for a thread hijack? This is one of the reasons I like living in the city and why, if we can only keep one place, it will be the one in the city. In addition to "street intrique" sidewalks and fairly dense building encourage community - people get out and walk in the neighborhood, see more of each other, etc. This is why some new communities are intentionally building in denser patterns with sidewalks, intersterspersed with parks and other green spaces.

I grew up in a residential single family home area on the south side of Chicago. We had cars parked in the streets, sidewalks - the traditional city neighborhood. The kids owned the streets. We played football, baseball (on the corner, sewer caps for bases), kick the can. We moved out of the way for traffic except while a play was in motion during which any cars coming by had to yield. I suspect the kids would be hustled off the streets if they tried that almost anywhere today.
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations
Old 09-11-2006, 11:23 AM   #60
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Re: Homeowner Associations/Condo Associations

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I said it was "funny" about the kinds of people in the sense that it seems like both left/right seemingly laidback/uptight folks here have found something to like about them.
See 60s San Francisco worker-philosopher Eric Hoffer for an explanation of how the far right and far left hold hands and close the circle.

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