Americans Want Sustainable Communities

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development today released a new study on Americans’ desires in housing. Here’s what they said:

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a study today confirming what we at HUD have been hearing from people in communities around the country since this administration took office: Americans prefer sustainable communities. NAR’s study, the “Community Preference Survey” found that a clear majority of respondents prefer dense walkable areas over those that require more driving between home, work and recreation.

We at HUD have been working to meet the American people’s demand for more sustainable communities since the moment President Obama took office. In 2009, HUD created the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) to award grants promoting smart growth with a focus on walkabliity and density. The response has been overwhelming, with grant applications from every state and two territories all from communities interested in planning a smarter future.

The NAR survey results are another encouraging sign that communities around America are embracing HUD’s push for sustainable communities and we will keep working to deliver the results that families are looking for.

Not a surprise to me; lets just hope that developers and community planners are listening.

Is There a Legal Duty to be Green?

I’m attending a session at the CCAL Community Association Law Seminar on “Legally Green: Reconciling Restrictive Covenants with Eco-Friendly Practices in the Community Association, and there’s a rather heated discussion as to whether association boards may have a fiduciary duty to make a life-cycle evaluation of capital repairs and maintenance.  In other words, if an association can spend a bit more now in order to save large amounts of money in energy costs over the life cycle of a building, do they have a duty to do it?

There’s a split of opinion in the audience, but the participants seem to generally agree that associations who are not considering these issues may be doing so at their peril.  One participant is advocating legislation to mandate these considerations; not surprisingly, at least one other participant strongly disagrees with that suggestion.

Daybreak Wins Prestigious National Award

The Daybreak Community Association, located in South Jordan, Utah, has received the National Association of Home Builders’ Best in American Living Award.  The annual award “highlight[s] those builders, architects, interior designers, remodelers, developers and land planners who have achieved superior levels of creativity and innovation.”

In connection with the announcement of the award, the NAHB stated:

The master planned community of Daybreak exemplifies the possibilities of Smart Growth development at the suburban edge. Daybreak has a planned build-out of 20,000 homes on more than 4,000 acres and represents a “City within a City,” with the intent of accommodating a great deal of growth in the rapidly developing Salt Lake City metropolitan area in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner.

Each of the five villages contain a variety of residential types, from urban loft style condominiums in Soda Row, to the Parkway Townhomes, to single-family and estate style homes. The architecture varies from modern to traditional, with many homes featuring neo- classical and Victorian architectural styles, creating a pedestrian-friendly and varied streetscape.

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary features within the Daybreak master plan is the intent to accommodate thousands of jobs in a number of commercial and service centers, ranging from neighborhood services, to corporate campuses catering to regional and national employers. Such forethought and planning will allow Daybreak to eventually become a self-sustaining community, where many of the residents can work, live and play without leaving the community, and where those that do commute can do so on convenient and fast public transportation.

Congratulations to Daybreak.

White is the New Green

I’ve seen many articles over the past several months, and several in the last couple of weeks, including this article in the New York Times, all of which discuss the energy advantages to a white, as opposed to the traditional black, roof.

If your association is facing a re-roofing project, you should look into the potential advantages of white roofing over black. There may even be tax advantages in choosing to go with white.

Similarly, if your architectural/design guidelines deal with roofing colors, you might want to add white as an option. (Along with getting rid of the clothesline, solar panel and awning prohibitions.)

Major [?] Water Conservation Efforts in St. George has an amusingly reported story on the “major effort” to save water in St. George. It’s short, so I’ll post the whole thing:

ST. GEORGE — A major effort is underway to conserve water in St. George.

The city council passed a new plan that asks residents and businesses to voluntarily take steps to save water. Those steps can be as simple as washing only full loads of laundry, checking for leaks and repairing sprinkler heads.

The council also agreed to restrict watering during daytime hours.

WOW! I sure hope that the residents can handle these sacrifices!

Best Practices — Green Communities

I’m pleased to announce that the Best Practices Report on Green Communities, which was presented at the recent CAI National Conference in New Orleans, is now available for free download. And, the report can be reproduced and distributed:

Readers can download and reproduce this report for community association managers, board members, individual homeowners and community association-related industry professionals without permission of the Foundation for Community Association Research provided the following terms are met: the document,including the use permission statement, must be reproduced in its entirety and may not be added to, modified, amended, or otherwise altered from the original as presented here. Readers and users agree not to sell copies of this document or otherwise seek compensation for its distribution.

I’d like to thank all of the following, for their assistance in compiling and supporting the report:

Foundation Representatives
Ellen Hirsch de Haan, ESQ., Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.
Lincoln W. Hobbs, ESQ., Hobbs & Olson, L.C.
Sandra Matteson-Pierson, LSM, PCAM, Capital Consultants Management Corporation
Team Members
Amy Bray, Esq., Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.
Joe Bunting, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, Kiawah Island Community Association, Inc.
Leslie Fellows, CMCA, Today Management, Inc.
Marjorie J. Meyer, CMCA, PCAM, Associa, Inc.
Harry Richter, CMCA, Charter Management
Debra A. Warren, CMCA, PCAM
Foundation Staff
Sara Drake, Community Associations Institute
Jake Gold, CAE, Community Associations Institute
David Jennings, CAE, SPHR, Community Associations Institute
Terry White, T&S White Company
Special Thanks
A special thank you to the CAI Large-Scale Managers Committee for supporting the development and distribution of this Best Practices report.