Deed Man Walking (5 of x)

Home(s) of the Brave?
In Pennsylvania, there are over 6,800
homeowners associations. Residents pay
$2.5 billion a year to maintain their
communities. Homes in community
associations are generally valued at least
4% more than other single-family homes.
And 47,000 Pennsylvanians serve as volunteers on the boards of HOAs (in case
you’ve ever wondered what happened to
all the student council officers you knew
in high school) providing $43.2 million
in services. By 2040, the community
association model is expected to become
the most common form of housing.
(“Pennsylvania Community Associations,”
Nationwide, we may soon approach
contract-of-adhesion territory: There
are 351,000 HOAs in the U.S., with an
average of 22 new ones forming every day,
roughly 8,000 a year; 58% of homeowners
live in HOA communities and 62% of
newly constructed homes are part of HOA
communities. See “HOA Statistics,”
Nineteen states have Pennsylvania is the only jurisdiction that
has adopted the Uniform Planned Community Act. 68 Pa. C.S.A. 5101, et seq.
Since planned communities are so rapidly
increasing in number, and residents of
established planned communities already
represent a demographic of comparatively
wealthy citizens, the federal government
will have to pierce their armor of covenants
and restrictions if it is determined to
achieve its explicitly stated goal of eliminating pockets of single-family home ownership in America.
The destruction of the single-family home
residential communities may transpire as a
result of financial motives: Homeowners
may find that if they can erect a second
dwelling on their lots, their property values
increase. In California, 2020 legislation
allowed “accessory dwelling units” in
many residential zones and also allowed for
conversion of large houses to multi-family
use. These changes were hailed as “the end
of single-family zoning.” Denser development in a desirable area will result in more
dwelling units, but not necessarily in more
“affordable” units, unless, as has been
done in Lawrenceville, the developers
and subsequent owners are legislatively
prohibited from renting or selling based
on market prices. Consider Transit Oriented District (TOD)-type ordinances.
Formerly, the area right beside the railroad
tracks in areas like Philadelphia’s Main
Line would have been zoned commercial
or industrial or, if residential at all, allowing only inexpensive houses or apartments,
and the noise of the trains would have
been an undesirable drawback. Now,
new apartment buildings are being built
in those formerly proletarian areas, but
many are “luxury” high-rises and condominiums; more-affordable dwellings have
actually been displaced. TODs are touted
as increasing property values. See www.
bestpractice230.pdf, (2001).
Despite their numbers, homeowners in
planned residential communities do not
exhibit any movement toward national or
statewide solidarity. Lack of concern would
be understandable given the ambivalence
reflected in federal governmental policy
such as The American Dream and Promise
Act of 2021. And Oregon, despite becoming the first state to abolish single-family
residential zoning statewide, is in the
process of overseeing the completion of its
largest planned residential community ever.
See “Welcome to Oregon’s Largest-Ever
Planned Community” (Ashby, April 23,
2019, Portland Monthly, May 2019). This
project is billed as an “insta-neighborhood,” and does contain some denser forms of housing and some nonresidential
uses, but in this author’s opinion, it sounds
more like a privately engineered wealthy
R-1 district than a utopia of economic

Detached dwelling, Ko Lipe, Thailand

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