Community Engagement Meetings

When an HOA is first set up by the developer, Community Engagement Meetings are an excellent way to educate prospective homeowners about the ins and outs of homeowners associations and to allow them a real place at the table in writing the Good Governance policies and Architectural Design Guidelines. At CAP, we believe that resident involvement at this level engenders a sense of community ownership. Residents are always more motivated to follow guidelines they’ve set themselves rather than those imposed on them. Before the governing documents are finalized, we negotiate a collaborative process between the prospective residents and the developer to ensure that the developer’s investment is protected while at the same time resident concerns and desires are incorporated. We hold three meetings to accomplish this.

• The first meeting is educational in nature. Prospective residents are given a detailed presentation that makes clear what homeowners associations are all about. Included in this presentation are an explanation of Covenants, Codes, & Restrictions, the role of the Board, the Design Review process, assessments and reserves, and the many ways in which an HOA can enhance community. A thorough Q&A session follows. This meeting also serves as a way for prospective residents to meet their neighbors and begin to develop their HOAs unique community and culture.

• The second meeting is one of community input. The CC&R are gone over again briefly, and then residents are engaged via survey and discussion to determine what kinds of restrictions they want to see in their community and what aesthetic they want to safeguard using the Architectural Design Guidelines. We’ve found that when a community is given a chance to participate in the CC&R’s development, they feel a sense of ownership in those guidelines and are much more likely to uphold them.

• The third meeting is a chance for CAP Management to present the findings from the second meeting and give prospective residents a chance to vote on preferred options. Rules and regulations as well as specific architectural guidelines developed in the second meeting are presented, a vote is taken and counted, and the results are presented to the community. By using our workshop and voting process, clear language and design themes are developed that every resident can easily follow.

Educating prospective residents as to the nature and role of an HOA, giving them a chance to express the kind of community they want to live in, and incorporating these values into the governing documents empowers the community and allows them to avoid a litany of challenges faced by HOAs set up in a more traditional manner. Furthermore, the social learning that is experienced by the community members as they express their personal values, find common ground with their neighbors, and work to find resolution when those values conflict sets an invaluable precedent. As years pass and the needs of the community change, additional community engagement meetings can be held so that the governing documents are amended to reflect changing values. CAP wants to help your community articulate its vision and to build consensus in reaching it.

If you are a developer looking to build consensus in your HOA from the outset, contact chris@capmanagement.com