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Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics. Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas. By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue. Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

HOAs And You: A Public Conversations Preview

We’ve all heard the horror stories about an authority that tells you what’s allowed, what’s required, and what you can’t do regarding your property.

No, it's not the government, or even Charlotte's tree police.

We’re talking about private authorities empowered by the government known as Homeowners Associations. HOAs are the focus of WFAE’s Public Conversations forum Thursday at 7 p.m. at Davidson Day School. The program is called: Your HOA and You: Who Rules The Neighborhood? (To register, click here). WFAE News Director Greg Collard will serve as the forum's moderator. He spoke to WFAE's Kevin Kniestedt to preview the event.

Kevin: Sounds like an easy job you have tonight…

Greg: Well, the subject of HOAs certainly evokes strong opinions from people who love and despise HOAs, and those viewpoints will certainly be expressed this evening. But there’s also a lot of confusion about HOAs – what are the rights of homeowners, for example? How easy is it for HOAs to impose fines for violations of covenants, file liens and initiate foreclosure proceedings if you ignore those fines or don’t pay your HOA dues? I live in an HOA, and I must confess there’s a lot I’ve learned in preparing for this forum.

Kevin: How many HOA neighborhoods are in our region?

Greg: I don’t know how many are in the Charlotte area – but most neighborhoods built in the last few decades are certainly HOAs. In fact, state law mandates that new planned communities have an HOA, and the definition of a planned community is a neighborhood with 20 or more lots. Statewide, there are nearly 13,000 HOA neighborhoods in North Carolina - according to the Community Associations Institute – and about 6,400 in South Carolina.

Local governments like them to an extent in that these neighborhoods provide property tax revenue, and reduce the local government’s responsibility in providing services and enforcement of zoning laws. And tonight, we will certainly address the role government has and doesn’t have in regard to HOAs. We’ll also discuss legislation that’s passed in recent years to address concerns about HOA, and proposals to improve or hurt them – depending on your point of view.

Greg has been with WFAE since 2008, all as news director. He came to WFAE from West Virginia Public Broadcasting. In his eight years there, Greg had roles as a reporter, editor and producer. He was the executive producer of a television newsmagazine and news director for radio and television when he decided to head south for Charlotte.