For Us, November Is HOA Month

I would never of thought that I’d end up living in suburbia.

I’d say I’m more of a city chick– or maybe an old neighborhood near the city chick– or even a historical preservation district in a suburb of a city chick.  But not a suburban babe [as my cousin calls me].

Yet, I’m here and I like it.  Chalk one up to my ability to adapt.  And chalk another one up to my ability to be amused by what goes on around here.

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November is when we have our annual Mom Trails HOA meeting.  It’s not mandatory that everyone go to the meeting, and we don’t go.  It is mandatory that everyone vote via a paper ballot that is sent to us in the snail mail.  You check your choices for the board members;  say “yes” or ”no” regarding neighborhood issues;  and can add some comments, if you are so inclined.  Then you send the ballot back to the HOA.

Pretty standard stuff.

Choosing board members is easy.  Very few people want to be on the board, so those who do want to do it seem to be sincere.  We’ve been happy with just about everything that the board has done since we moved here.  Consequently, we rarely have had any comments to add to the comment section of the ballot.

Things are good, as far as we can tell.

The voting gets more interesting on the “yes” or “no” questions.  This is where I get to see what my neighbors are worrying about this year.  And, for once, I think that these people are really asking us to decide on something of value to the whole community– rather than the more personal, backstabbing issues that sometimes show up on the ballot.

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So, what are we voting on here in Mom Trails this year?  Glad you asked.  We are deciding two things.

√  First, we are deciding whether it is appropriate to hang large, non-US flags on our property;  and where said flags of all sorts, if allowed, will be hung.

Personally, I don’t care what flag you hang in front of your house.  What I care about is how you hang it.  That is, don’t hang your large flag from the back of your mailbox post with the flag pointing back toward the house.  It is, in my understanding, an insult to whatever the flag is representing;  and, as I am driving down the street, it hides from my view whoever might be standing on the other side it.  

Not smart.

√  And second, we are deciding if we will upgrade our standard, township-issue, green background/white lettering street signs to something more stylish.  Something that will coordinate with our black, historically accurate, reproduction gaslight-style street lights.

Now this is an issue that makes sense to me.  Our boring green street signs are difficult to see because they fade into the lawns that surround them.  Plus they’re ho-hum.  Our street lights, on the other hand, look great and are distinct;  you notice them.  So, it seems to me that by changing the street signs to coordinate with the street lights we will be able to see our street signs [finally] and add some style [aka resale value] to our subdivision.  

Win-win.

~ ~ ~ 

The actual meeting isn’t until later in the month– and because no one on the board seems to know anything about updating our official Mom Trails website– I won’t know what has happened for a while after that.  One day, sometime in early December, we’ll receive a snail mail letter telling us the news.

And then, we will think no more about the HOA for another year.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

13 thoughts on “For Us, November Is HOA Month”

  1. I’m a city chick too, but currently live in a very rural area. One day I will escape and get back to the city! Maybe when the little man has left university and I can enjoy an active retirement. You are lucky to be able to hang flags at all. Hereabouts, in the UK, it’s pretty much frowned upon and they generally come out for football World Cup events but that’s it. I love how the Greeks hang their flag everywhere too.

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  2. Polly, I didn’t know that about the UK and flags. I’ve meet ppl from India who’ve told me that hanging a national flag on your home requires a government permit. They’ve been in awe of how we do it here in the USA. Seems like flags are a source of contention wherever you go in the world.

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  3. I have 3 flags. Two small ones hang in the front of the house; one under our red maple tree, and one by our front porch. The other one is large and hangs from my studio out back. I change them every month to go with the theme of the season. We live in a subdivision, but do not have a HOA, which I’m glad for. I didn’t like the high fees involved when we lived in SC.

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  4. Beth, what you have going on sounds lovely. Tastefully displayed in a well-maintained fashion. The prob here is that ppl put out team flags and let them fly until they are ratty. Not to mention that they put them out in ways that obscure intersections.

    Our HOA fees are reasonable for all that we get. I really have no prob with that part of the suburban deal. You must of lived in a poorly managed place. Or there was a crook in your midst!

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    1. Alice-yes, we were paying for 3 swimming pools that we didn’t use, and all kinds of flowers every couple of months. Plus, there were many, many rules that were preposterous!

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      1. Beth, we have the 3 pools that we don’t use here, too. I don’t mind ’cause it makes for a nicer, friendlier neighborhood. They plant some flowers twice a year, but again it makes for a nicer neighborhood so I can go with it.

        But after that there aren’t many more rules. Except, I guess, how to hang flags.

        The signage thing is just common sense and not a rule really. So I imagine that it’ll pass– or at least I hope that it does. Clarity is good and safer.

        [Oh, wait– thought of another rule. No fences in the backyard that are over 4 feet. Keeps things open. No claustrophobia from those high fences that divide backyard into postage stamps!]

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        1. I like the signage idea. It will look great with the lighting-more cohesive. Hope it passes.
          I agree with the fence rule. The 6ft tall ones really are anti-social. One of our neighbors here put up the kind of fence found on farms-the horizontal peices of wood. It looks really nice in their backyard surrounded by big trees.

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  5. I was a suburbia/city chick for my formative years and I never thought I’d adjust to country living. Now, I can’t imagine going back to living in a city. Now that it’s cooling off, even the weekenders aren’t down here and it’s close to heaven. At least until it snows and we’re trapped in the house for a week.

    Our HOA’s big issue right now is asphalt or no asphalt. It was a big mistake, they say, to asphalt the lower road – where I live. No it wasn’t! It was slippery pea gravel before and I’ve lost most of the skin on my legs trying to walk on it.

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  6. Zazzy, I have to wonder if you’re right about me too. I don’t know if I could take all the noise and people and traffic congestion of a city after living in a simpler place like suburbia.

    I’d take asphalt over pea gravel any day. But, of course, some ppl just have to be contrarians, Don’t they?

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  7. We are getting some teenage boy vandalism problems in our development which is NOT FUN. All the kids used to be little and cute and now they’ve grown up, some of them into thugs. We have the fence restriction too, plus motor homes and boats have to be screened from the road. No clotheslines. No basketball hoops in the front. (people break this one a lot) We’re supposed to get the house paint colors approved but judging by the pastel peach of the house on the corner and some of the putrid greens and yellows, I don’t think that’s always happening. 😉

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    1. Margaret, I’m sorry to hear about the vandalism. That’s not good. When we first moved here, there was more of that. But not anymore– our township streets now connect into the small town and the sheriff/police are through here on a regular basis. Amazing how quickly vandalism ended after the connection.

      I’ve heard of sub-divisions with regs like yours. We’re pretty loose here. Although some of the house colors that ppl have picked are atrocious– and I’ve thought that maybe we need to make a consultation with a color specialist mandatory prior to painting your home. Ugly ruins everyone’s property value, ‘ya know?

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  8. the flag issue is interesting…here in denmark, it’s actually illegal to hang another country’s flag unless you hang a danish flag as well and hang it higher than the other flag. weird that the US didn’t do that long ago, as flag-mad as it can be. that said, the danes are also quite relaxed about their flag, putting out dozens of little paper ones around the driveway when someone has a birthday and not really caring that much if they get rained on and muddied. weird how a piece of cloth can be an issue.

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  9. julochka, interesting about Danish flag law. Like you, it does make me wonder why the US doesn’t have laws like that one.

    Most ppl assume that all suburbs are completely homogenous, but ours isn’t. We have families who are here from all over Europe and Asia– and want to hang their flags outside, too. I’m sure that has some of the residents around here are in a tizzy.

    But I think what this flag issue really comes down to is sports affiliations– and whether or not your team’s flag is allowed to hang outside your house. Because that’s so important! 😉

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