As For Me And My House…..

My article on Pa’s criminalization of fortune telling and magical practices is  out this month, in The Pennsylvania Lawyer.    So as soon as that happens, I’m a has-been.  What shall I write about next?

Sitting in on the Zoom meeting of a local HOA where we own a buncha vacant lots gave me this idea:

Can planned communities save the suburbs from  AFFH?

The Affirmatively Furthering  Fair Housing  regulations  were a Hussein-O’Biden attempt to make sure there could be no single family residential districts anywhere in America.  High density low income housing must be “affirmatively furthered” in all such areas, which until now have been the exclusive province of people who worked to buy their homes in such greene and pleasant realms, and settled down to raise a family and earn enough to pay their mortgages.

Municipalities who can’t and don’t prove that they’ve accomplished this economic integration will be denied all kindsa federal grants.

But that’s gonna run smack into another trend about which I was previously   a bit irritated (ah,the idle discontents of a dweller in Paradise!): viz to wit:  it was getting pretty much impossible to buy a single family home without agreeing to be bound by a spidery network of “covenants, easements and restrictions”  which would dictate the style of home you could build, what you could and could not have in your yard, what colors of exterior paint you could choose, whether or not you could display flags, sometimes even the kinda drapes you can put up inside!   And agreeing to pay “dues”, as well as additional “assessments”  so the Homeowners’ Assoc could harass  and sue any  owner who resisted!  You voluntarily and knowingly shouldered  that yoke when you accepted  your deed.

This was getting to be a “contract of adhesion”  type situation: yes, you  did agree to comply, and yes, this is entirely a matter of private contract, but  you really couldn’t buy  a single family home that wasn’t subject to such  restrictions.  There was no real choice.
And people do it because even if they chafe under the restrictions, they at least know their  neighbors are similarly restricted; there’ll be no breach of taste and no noisy commercial uses or crowded apartment buildings next door.

One of the only US Constitution’s provisions which directly applies to states is the “Contracts Clause”: Art 1 sec 10.  States may not  impair the obligations of contracts.    But the federal government can!  That’s why bankruptcy courts are federal, and impairing the obligations of contracts is what they do all day every day.

As you know Trump rescinded the AFFH regs.  But U Can Bet Ol’ Joe’ll be resurrecting ‘em before he gets his coat off after the inauguration.

So what’ll happen? Who will win?  Oh the AFFHSJWs have the wind at their back!  But I assure you,  America’s HOAs  are a formidable foe, armed with great and sweeping powers under such statutes as the Uniform Planned Community Act.

To write about this would take a lot of research which obviously I haven’t yet begun.  F’rinstance, why hasn’t AFFH already  changed the face of the suburbs since it went into effect?

I like amusing ( I hope!) titles, some of which my editors approve.  Whaddya  think of Deed Men Walkin’! Private Covenants vs. Public Policy  ? 

15+
avataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravataravatar

25 thoughts on “As For Me And My House…..”

  1. My dad was a builder of homes and apartments. You would be amazed at the level of malicious damage to buildings under construction and theft of materials which takes place at such sites – even when every one of the neighbors doesn’t hate what is being built and the executive order which forced it to happen… .

    5+
    avataravataravataravataravatar
  2. You might want to check out Stanley Kurtz who has written a book on the affordable shanties in suburbs bit. There many examples of these things in progress that you might use to begin your research.

    Love the title too. Deed Men Walking. Haha!

    5+
    avataravataravataravataravatar
  3. Pods for the Residence-challenged from 1- and 2-TEU shipping containers.  Stuff, lock, ship; deposit at -48.875000, -123.393333 / 48°52.5′S 123°23.6′W; -3600 meters.

    1+
    avatar
  4. civil westman:
    My dad was a builder of homes and apartments. You would be amazed at the level of malicious damage to buildings under construction and theft of materials which takes place at such sites – even when every one of the neighbors doesn’t hate what is being built and the executive order which forced it to happen… .

    It’s the rich contractor syndrome. I was constructing a building for my business and someone stole the outside HVAC unit right off it’s pad. Lumber was fair game. It came off the truck with legs.

    5+
    avataravataravataravataravatar
  5. Robert A. McReynolds:
    You might want to check out Stanley Kurtz who has written a book on the affordable shanties in suburbs bit. There many examples of these things in progress that you might use to begin your research.

    Love the title too. Deed Men Walking. Haha!

    Hahaha! There is ample precedent: dead men (and women and all the other genders) have been voting (D) for years.

    3+
    avataravataravatar
  6. Robert A. McReynolds:
    You might want to check out Stanley Kurtz who has written a book on the affordable shanties in suburbs bit. There many examples of these things in progress that you might use to begin your research.

    Love the title too. Deed Men Walking. Haha!

    Do you mean Spreading  the Wealth?  (2012)

    1+
    avatar
  7. Hypatia:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    What shall I write about next?

    Join the S-LAMU Thursday and I’ll provide suggestions.

    Sorry to be so clueless, but..what’s that and how do I get in?

    Semi-Late Audio Meetup. There will be a post tomorrow.

    2+
    avataravatar
  8. I second the recommendation of “Spreading the Wealth”.  I read it years ago and it was an eye opener.

    We live far enough out in the country that there are no such covenants.   The downside is the next door neighbors have have chickens, turkeys and goats in a 4 acre lot with a basically suburban home.  We also have farmers and horse farms down the road.

    2+
    avataravatar
  9. Hypatia:

    Robert A. McReynolds:
    You might want to check out Stanley Kurtz who has written a book on the affordable shanties in suburbs bit. There many examples of these things in progress that you might use to begin your research.

    Love the title too. Deed Men Walking. Haha!

    Do you mean Spreading  the Wealth?  (2012)

    Yes I think that’s it.

    0

  10. WillowSpring:
    I second the recommendation of “Spreading the Wealth”.  I read it years ago and it was an eye opener.

    We live far enough out in the country that there are no such covenants.   The downside is the next door neighbors have have chickens, turkeys and goats in a 4 acre lot with a basically suburban home.  We also have farmers and horse farms down the road.

    Country living is so awesome.

    2+
    avataravatar
  11. ctlaw:

    Hypatia:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    What shall I write about next?

    Join the S-LAMU Thursday and I’ll provide suggestions.

    Sorry to be so clueless, but..what’s that and how do I get in?

    Semi-Late Audio Meetup. There will be a post tomorrow.

    Oh, okay, the usual call.  I’ll be there!  On Nov 2 I heard your voice and 2 others…I’d like to hear as many as possible before we …before we…..😪😢😭

    2+
    avataravatar
  12. Just wanted to comment on the meat of this post Hypatia because I have lived in two types of neighborhoods in the past 20 years: a ‘regular’ one with few if any restrictions and now a gated community with certain rules and a HOA fee to boot.

    In the past, I openly looked down my nose at gated communities for their restrictions and refused to live in one so I bought houses in So Cal and one in SW Florida with sidewalks, endless stop signs, and an eclectic asst of architecture. That was fun until …

    People started to disregard their neighbors with noise violations that were never enforced, allowed pets to urinate on expensive landscaping and solicitors felt comfortable knocking on my front door constantly. Now let’s add the tourism element where owners were allowed to rent their residences to anyone for any length of time. The final blow was a very long weekend when my neighbor rented his home to a fraternity and 24-7 partying. (That one irritated me especially; that’s why sleazy motels in Ft. Liquordale exist.)

    So now I live in a gated community in a forest preserve that does require all homes to adhere to the “low-country” form of architecture but it does allow for quite a variety of looks. My house looks different than everyone else’s and I have free range with landscaping choices. We had a bit of a tiff with the amount of pine trees we wanted to eliminate because I won’t live in a house that isn’t constantly streaming with sunlight. (We own four acres; three of which are untouched so we slid by that one.)

    No street signs, no median stripes painted on the boulevard winding through the preserve, but I did have to paint my mailbox a conformist grey and not the Cape Cod blue I painted my house. No big deal…

    My neighbors are quiet, polite, respectful. A lot own dogs but nobody is allowed to let them pee in people’s yards because the HOA has maintained plenty of undeveloped lots between homes. It is such a haven, I fear I’m going to develop into an agoraphobic. 🙂

    If Joe Biden messes with my little piece of heaven, I’ll hurt someone.

    2+
    avataravatar
  13. Exactly, ET!  That’s what I’m getting at.  These gated communities of course don’t prohibit blacks, Jews, Asians, gays, whatever from buying homes.  That has been illegal since the Fair Housing Act.  The idea behind AFFH is that these provisions aren’t enough, because homes in these place are expensive, and that by itself excludes  certain groups.

    What  you say about the frat parties is quite a hot issue in Pa right now: short term rentals (STRs).  Especially in an area like mine, the Poconos, where many people have second homes they were renting out.  In a long awaited decision our Supreme Court ruled that in a single family residential district STRs do not  have to be permitted, meaning that even if this use fits the definition of “family”, the transience of the occupation distinguishes it from single family residential use.  I think this is wrong.  Zoning regs are supposed  to be concerned only with use of the land, not with form of ownership.  If a family with college-age persons were living in the home, they could host a noisy party with any number of guests.  It’s what people DO in their homes!
    But this decision doesn’t put an end to STRs, it just gives the municipality—AND the HOAs an opportunity for more revenues!  Our township now licenses such dwellings, for a fee of course, AND the HOA I mentioned  has developed a voluminous mandatory standard rental agreement for its unit owners governing STRs—also for a fee, of course.
    Screw it all!! Does anybody have any illusions that a landowner may do what (s)he wants with her property,short of criminal activity? Nein , нет, nuh-uh!

    2+
    avataravatar
  14. Hypatia:
    Does anybody have any illusions that a landowner may do what (s)he wants with her property,short of criminal activity? Nein , нет, nuh-uh

    I certainly agree that owners have the right to do whatever they want with their own property. If I choose to complain, then I need to move. And that is exactly what I did.

    3+
    avataravataravatar
  15. Hypatia:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    What shall I write about next?

    Join the S-LAMU Thursday and I’ll provide suggestions.

    Sorry to be so clueless, but..what’s that and how do I get in?

    In addition to the suggestion I made last night, another possibility is to explore cases in which attorneys representing anti-leftist causes appear to have sabotaged the cases by making weak arguments.

    You could survey the cases involving search and social media bans, etc., and point out arguments that should have been made.

    1+
    avatar
  16. ctlaw:

    Hypatia:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    What shall I write about next?

    Join the S-LAMU Thursday and I’ll provide suggestions.

    Sorry to be so clueless, but..what’s that and how do I get in?

    In addition to the suggestion I made last night, another possibility is to explore cases in which attorneys representing anti-leftist causes appear to have sabotaged the cases by making weak arguments.

    You could survey the cases involving search and social media bans, etc., and point out arguments that should have been made.

    I am sorry to miss the discussion from last night.

    If what you are looking for is instances where a legal defense was deliberately sabotaged by the legal team, you could probably find lots by looking at cases from blue states in which the EPA was sued and lost.

    0

  17. MJBubba:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:

    ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    What shall I write about next?

    Join the S-LAMU Thursday and I’ll provide suggestions.

    Sorry to be so clueless, but..what’s that and how do I get in?

    In addition to the suggestion I made last night, another possibility is to explore cases in which attorneys representing anti-leftist causes appear to have sabotaged the cases by making weak arguments.

    You could survey the cases involving search and social media bans, etc., and point out arguments that should have been made.

    I am sorry to miss the discussion from last night.

    If what you are looking for is instances where a legal defense was deliberately sabotaged by the legal team, you could probably find lots by looking at cases from blue states in which the EPA was sued and lost.

    Those are actually collusive lawsuits.  The agency maybe even seeks out plaintiffs to bring suit over some policy they wanna change, then they enter into a “settlement”  of the suit which abrogates the policy. The agency never wanted to win.

    2+
    avataravatar

Leave a Reply