Have It Your Way

| 8/13/2008 3:12:05 PM

Moving towards a sustainable lifestyle is becoming more of the norm. Folks are using solar clothes dryers (clotheslines), growing vegetables in their backyard and landscaping with native plants. With the upswing in gas prices, we are seeing more bicycles and scooters on city streets and for sale signs in the windows of SUVs. This is a good thing.

But there are still places where clotheslines, tomato plants and native plantings (weeds?) are not OK. According to a recent article “Let’s Handcuff the Property Cops,” published by the Land Institute in Kansas, “Twenty percent of Americans now live in homes subject to rules set by homeowner associations, or HOAs. These private imitation governments have sweeping powers to dictate almost any aspect of a member's property, from the size of the residence down to changes in trim color and the placement of a basketball hoop.”

Many of the HOA rules extend to clotheslines, vegetable gardens and solar panels. So beware: If you are planning a move, check whether the community you’ve chosen has a homeowners association in place and what that might mean to your sustainable living practices.


10/5/2008 9:42:02 AM

I could never live in an area where someone told me what color trim I could use. How is this helping our environment? What is this teaching our children? We need to be able to grow our own food, use a clothesline, have small animals in our backyards and most of all our children need to have this kind of access to nature to learn how things should be.

Becka Schexnayder
8/20/2008 4:55:08 PM

I heard on the local Fort Smith,AR news that the city council had banded landowner from having any farm animals in their backyard. This would include chicken and rabbits. I am blessed that my family and I live in the country where we have the rights to rasie our own food. I believe that the Fort Smith city council are out of touch with their people. The need for a backyard garden and small livestocks would be a big help to a family with children during what I believe, in this day and time, a depression.

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