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Old 01-29-2013, 06:31 AM
 
2,833 posts, read 3,379,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
In Northern VA we have two planned communities that as part of their development philosophy saved a significant amount of land from development during the build out of the community. (Reston and Burke). Instead of every piece of land set aside for homes and strip centers a significant amount of land is fields or woods, but not necessarily active parkland, instead just designated open space. Though there is no free lunch, the residents of these communities pay for the land as open space through higher than normal homeowners association fees.

Would you be open to paying significantly higher homeowners association fees to keep a relatively large amount of your community protected from development and thus woods or fields, or would you rather see the area developed so you could save in property taxes and homeowners fees?

Remember, in this case the land is not active parkland but just open space. How much is too much?

Do you think the open space and protected woodland increases property values more than having a shopping mall in the protected woodland with tons of popular restaurants? Many residents of these communities would rather have the woods cuts down to build a restaurant park. Would you?
What is particularly troubling is that local governments mandate these spaces and then mandates private maintenance into perpetuity. This is one way that local governments mandate HOAs - it is not a "choice" at all.

Your hypothesis is somewhat of a false dichotomy. You will not get reduced property taxes. You will probably not have reduced HOA assessments.

You haven't indicated whether your expectation would be that the HOA corporation still own the property or whether it would sell the property for development.

If the HOA corp sells the property then the HOA corp would no longer be liable for maintenance or property taxes on the property. Given that it was open space the HOA corp was probably not dedicating many resources to upkeep and the property taxes were probably relatively minimal. Accordingly don't count on HOA assessments going down. The good news is that the HOA corp would not be liable for the space.

If the HOA corp decides to only lease the property for development then you can expect your HOA assessments to go up. Inevitably the board will want to "control" the development and you will have litigation between the commercial property owners (do they get a vote? do they have to be "members" of the HOA corp? do they need "permission" every time they turn around?). The desire to control will ensure litigation and the HOA board will spend any "savings" away quite quickly in litigation. In addition to the legal quagmire that would arise, as an owner the HOA corp would be ultimately liable for property taxes on the commercial property. Sure you can put in the lease that the tenant is responsible but what happens if the tenant breaches or goes under? So now the HOA corp is potentially liable for a much, much greater tax burden if the HOA corp is going to try to maintain ownership of the property.

You will also have to look at county/city platting and subdivision laws. You might not be able to develop the property or to partition it from the rest of the subdivision. Again this is part of local government mandating HOAs.

If it is possible in view of your subdivision/development laws, the residents would be better off if the HOA corp partitioned out and sold the property. Then perhaps you could work towards disbanding the HOA corp. Unless there are other assets owned by the HOA corp there would not be any rationale for its existence or involuntary membership. In that case you could eliminate the HOA assessments and all the unscrupulous vendors and junk fees that come along with it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Long Neck,De
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Things can get SO COMPLICATED.I am glad I live in and was able to raise my son in an area with plenty of open space.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,434 posts, read 38,015,762 times
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To answer the OP's actual question as asked, yes, IF I were to live in an HOA (which I won't), I would be willing to pay higher fees in order to have open space land. And as a real estate agent I can attest that property values tend to be higher where that is available as buyers to a great extent tend to pay more (lot premiums) for houses, new or resale, that back up to green belts and other open spaces (backing up to ranch land is a real premium when it can be found on the edges of cities), and many make that a primary criteria when searching for a house to buy. I get much more demand for that than for shopping malls and lots and lots of restaurants. Of course, most everyone in this part of the world has a kitchen and actually uses it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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Plenty of open space to go around here, but I do dislike sprawl.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,184 posts, read 103,165,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
What is particularly troubling is that local governments mandate these spaces and then mandates private maintenance into perpetuity. This is one way that local governments mandate HOAs - it is not a "choice" at all.
In my city, the city takes care of the open space. I think in a place like (gasp!) Highlands Ranch, CO, where there is no city government, the HOA maintains the trails, rec centers, etc.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
385 posts, read 526,302 times
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I am more than willing to pay extra for "open space", as long as the deed to that space has my name on it. BDTD with the community in Reston, never again with the high fees and RE taxes for no benefit.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:18 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,088 posts, read 42,535,890 times
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This has been the way development has been going for the last decade or two. Open/naturalized space helps to buffer and absorb run-off, maintains habitat and does increase values for the houses. Usually the houses are clustered relatively close together (the density varies) with the bulk of the property undeveloped. MD has stepped it up and now requires sub-divisions of more than 10 houses to be on central water and sewer.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:00 PM
 
3,463 posts, read 4,579,222 times
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I did spend lots of time and money fighting for open space / rural lifestyle in one state I lived.
I would gladly pay lots more to keep land out of the hands of the worst plague since crack ☛☛☛ developers
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,054 posts, read 4,190,289 times
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About 10 years ago taxpayers in Montgomery County PA authorized the issue of a $150 million bond, the proceeds of which would be used for "open space". "Open space" included purchasing actual open space, buying development rights, building parks on land already owned by municipalities, and even streetscape improvements (street trees, decorative street lighting, etc.) in certain places. While I don't disapprove of these measures, what ends up often happening is that wealthy landowners who own 10, 20, 50, or 100 acre plots of land get richer at the taxpayers' expense.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,244 posts, read 2,685,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
My city requires 15% of land in a development be dedicated to open space. The city of Westminster, CO, has tons of open space. Both suburban cities, BTW.
CO Springs also has a TON of open land inside the city limits. The problem with CO Springs is that open land here is rather ugly as its a patch of brown grass. For CO Springs, I would try to get rid of this open land as its ugly and only serves to widen the urban sprawl of the city.
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