REGULATION: OFTEN BAD
While there is certainly a place for regulation, One Fine Jay notes that it can often go too far. He cites the example of homeowners’ associations (HOAs), a phenomenon that I had never encountered before moving to Northern Virginia. While I understand the desire to maintain a certain level of aesthetic control, these things quickly become a nuisance, as busybodies with nothing to do but monitor the Christmas decorations of their neighbors use them to annoy others. Frankly, I could do without my neighbors putting up colored lights and plastic celebratory ornaments. But property ownership should carry with it a certain amount of freedom.
While HOAs are theoretically private, voluntary associations they are quasi-governmental organizations. For instance, something as simple as getting a deck built takes several months because I first had to get approval from the HOA–whose approval committee meets only once a month during the winter–before the county would issue a license. Why the HOA has any say over the government’s issuance of a license is unclear.