First off, let us define what it is not. It is not a Homeowners Association. Because of their similarity in names, some might confuse a neighborhood association and a homeowner’s association. However, the two entities are quite different.
A homeowner’s association is formed by a developer and limited to a specific subdivision or project. The association provides the framework for the future maintenance of the development’s common grounds and amenities, for instance a pool; clubhouse or common area landscaping. All homeowners are compelled to follow the codes, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs) governing the development and pay association dues.
A neighborhood association is a section of a city with a common identity. Neighborhood associations offer a place to meet friends, exchange information, create projects and priorities, propose solutions, and have fun. It includes everyone who lives, owns property or runs a business in the neighborhood.
A neighborhood association is formed based on the needs and desires of its residents. The association gives residents a forum to discuss common concerns and to brainstorm possible solutions. Some potential outcomes may be: improved street lighting, bike paths, sidewalks, traffic calming devices, parks and open spaces, zoning and land-use planning, park amenities, beautification projects and neighborhood clean-ups. Many neighborhood associations have summer picnics, holiday parties and other special events in order to have fun as well as to keep the lines of communication open with their neighbors.
Recognized neighborhood associations give citizens a voice and an advocate. Neighborhood associations greatly improve the two-way communication between the city and its residents. Your neighborhood will have a clear, organized way to speak to city government so that your voice will be heard by elected officials and city departments. You will be put in touch with people who live near you and share the fondness and frustrations of your area.
Organizing also opens the door to increased communications with city government. Neighborhood association leaders receive weekly e-mailings of what City Council is working on and what other city neighborhood associations’ priorities and plans are. This increased communication can be a resource for upcoming meetings or other community opportunities.
Once the residents of your area form an association and are recognized by City Council, your neighborhood may participate at a variety of levels. Through a collaborative effort, our city becomes more economically efficient and citizens have an increased interest and trust in government.
The Sunset Neighborhood Association board is meeting on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at the Lowell School Library. All are welcome to attend. Please feel free to come and let us know how we can make our great neighborhood even better!