Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creekside Support of Solar Featured in USA Today

Today's (5/13/2010), USA Today ran an article by Tracy Loew on page 3 that reports, "It's a scene that's being played out across the country. As homeowners increasingly seek to turn to green practices such as using clotheslines instead of dryers or moving to solar or wind power, they are finding those plans in conflict with the rules of homeowners associations that encourage conformity in order to maintain property values."
After reading todays article in USA Today a Linfield professor, helping his students research the BP oil spill in the Gulf and renewable energy alternatives called me to ask, "why would anyone oppose a solar installation?" He was puzzled as to why anyone, anywhere would oppose solar installations. My response to him was the following:
  1. The purpose for HOAs existing is to keep the neighborhood from changing. A set of rules are written by the neighborhood developer that are intended to fix the aesthetics of the neighborhood with rules to prevent changing the rules without 75% of the neighbors agreeing. I doubt you could get 75% of any neighborhood to agree to anything these days, even the time of day!
  2. Aesthetics are typically the main issue with solar. Some people think that solar panels are unsightly. Perhaps, but increasingly we need to start balancing the aesthetics of our neighborhood with the impact in other neighborhoods (like the Gulf coast) where our non-renewal energy is being created.
  3. There is a political component to solar as with most issues. The fact is, not everyone believes that it is important to move towards renewable energy.
Based on what's happening around the US in other HOAs I'd like to recognize and thank the Creekside HOA for their responsible actions regarding solar. In other states with solar laws much like Oregon's other HOAs take years and litigation to approve solar installations.

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