TEXAS – Plan to convert Sharpstown association to HOA ‘causing a lot of division’
Plan to convert Sharpstown association to HOA ‘causing a lot of division’
Brenda Harris couldn’t believe her eyes.
She had heard that the civic association in Sharpstown, the west Houston neighborhood where she had grown up and now owns home, was thinking of updating its subdivision rules, but she hadn’t given the matter much thought. Then a neighbor began posting the proposed updates, paragraph by paragraph, on a social media platform called Nextdoor. She called over her husband to take a look.
The new rules would convert the local civic association, a group with voluntary dues-paying membership and limited legal powers, to a homeowners association with the authority to impose mandatory assessments and foreclose on homes.
“I just think it’s wrong,” Harris said. “Community is not about pushing people out of their homes. It’s not about threatening people, twisting arms.”
While HOAs have proliferated in recent decades, they’re generally put in place when a neighborhood is developed, meaning homeowners agree to the arrangement when they buy. And so the Sharpstown Civic Association’s unusual proposal to convert to an HOA 65 years after the neighborhood was founded has roiled the community.
The plan has pitted those who see a more powerful way to ensure the upkeep of homes and raise funds for security to restore the neighborhood’s appeal, alleviate the area’s reputation for crime and, in the process, boost property values against those who fear such tools could ultimately displace them.
Membership in the civic association, which pays for enforcement of deed restrictions, private security patrols and a Fourth of July fireworks display, among other services, is currently voluntary, and for years only a quarter of the roughly 6,800 households have chosen to join. They pay dues, currently $250 a year, that benefit the entire neighborhood.
“It is time for all homeowners to participate and pay their $250 per year,” the civic association wrote in its September newsletter. Read more: