Homeowners Associations have got to be one of the more inane aspects of American society. A friend of mine moved into a neighborhood with one, completely unprepared for the mess she was getting into. Now, no toys can be left outside, all cars must be kept in the garage at all times, the grass must be a certain height and color, and every change to the home must first be approved by a “board”. It’s both a hilarious and sad way that some choose to live — all for the sake of homogeneity in aesthetics.
In March of 2007, we reported on an incident where the town of Scarsdale denied a family the opportunity to put up solar panels — on the basis that they were ugly and “not in keeping with the character of the community”. It was BS then — and it’s still BS. Now, another homeowners association in California is denying one man’s quest to reduce his electric bill by installing solar panels on his roof. Their reason? They do not believe the technology fits in with their rules and guidelines of a community with “restrained elegance.”
Sick. Really, sick. From the article,
Weinberg wanted to put solid black panels on the roof at the front of his house, which faces a T-shape intersection and other homes. Jordan reviewed the application last March and recommended it be denied. He suggested that Weinberg install the panels on the roof at the back of his house instead, where they would be hidden from view.
“We always try to find a creative way to solve the problem,” Jordan said. “There’s another way to do it other than putting it on his roof for everyone to see.”
However, the front of the house faces south, the optimal orientation for catching light. Moving the panels to the back would decrease the system’s efficiency by more than 20 percent, Weinberg said, unless the panels were installed in a rack that pointed them in the opposite direction, which Weinberg said would increase the cost of the installation by more than the Solar Rights Act permits.
In essence, “they haven’t given us alternatives,” said Michael McQueen, Weinberg’s attorney. The lawsuit was filed June 24, and damages sought could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Good luck Weinberg — and we hope other homeowner associations are watching this development. Solar energy is coming and it’s time to suck it up and start allowing it on rooftops. Then you can get back to ticketing people for improper grass and car color.