Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Huh.  And in going to the local paper's website (the News & Observer) to find out whether they had someone covering local environmental issues that he might get in touch with, I found this article in today's paper:

Better read the fine print
Your home is your castle, if the homeowners association says it's OK

 By Toby Coleman, Staff Writer
It's a good thing the founding fathers didn't try to declare their independence in a subdivision clubhouse.

They might have rejected King George III, but there would be no getting away from the real sovereign: the homeowners association. Amid all their enlightened talk of God-given rights, they would have had to grapple with rules on guests, noise and spittoons.

Two centuries after the Declaration of Independence, a new generation of Americans is quietly submitting to the dos and don'ts of homeowners associations. The result is a widespread experiment with a largely unchecked private form of governance for which almost nobody has planned.

In North Carolina alone, the number of homeowners associations has grown from 3,000 two decades ago to more than 15,000 today, according to the Homeowner Associations of North Carolina. In the Triangle, the number has soared over the same period from 481 to 2,915.

As these organizations become more common, people are realizing that homeowners associations do more than organize ice cream socials, clean community pools and approve new fences. They have become mini-governments with the power to issue fines, assess taxlike fees and even foreclose on scofflaws who do not pay.

Now, some say, it is time for the government to inject some checks and balances. State lawmakers are talking about studying HOAs and are even considering creating a state agency to issue permits to the community managers who help run them.

Legal scholars are working on a model Homeowners Bill of Rights that they hope will limit HOAs abuses by requiring open board meetings, guaranteeing homeowners access to association documents and limiting when HOAs can foreclose on homes.


I think your friend needs to call up that reporter.  But more important than talking to the reporter would probably be talking to one of the local opinion columnists who write about such issues and can actually advocate rather than we-report-you-decide.  I don't know anything about the columnists at the paper now (they're all but one different than when I lived there), so I'm not sure who would be sympathetic, but this one has written about both zoning and the environment.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jul 1st, 2007 at 05:26:00 AM EST
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