Dear Home Owners' Associations,
First of all, I would like to say that I can respect a lot of what you do. When properly administered and run, HOAs can provide a wide range of benefits to a neighborhood: maintaining property values; making sure that everyone takes care of their property; providing amenities to residents (pools, parks, snow shoveling, etc). All of these are very good things.
All too often, I see HOAs which go off on major power trips and just end up looking stupid and petty. Walking around with rulers, measuring people's grass length. Trying to dictate what kind/size of pets people can have. Telling military veterans how/when they can fly the American flag! Telling kids they can't have a lemonade stand - on their own property! (And, yes, these are in fact all real examples.)
It seems that some of you HOAs need to be reminded of the real purpose of HOAs. It's NOT to tell people how they should live. Rather, it's making a neighborhood someplace people want live.
Want to know what will happen if you keep being so draconian? People will move out, which means property values might decline and you don't want that.
So I ask, you, please, pull your collective heads out of your asses and go searching through your attic or basement to find you ability to use reason, logic, and compassion.
In other words, quit being dicks!
[And, no, I don't live in a HOA-controlled neighborhood, but I've certainly dealt with enough of them and there have been a rash of recent news stories about incidents like those I listed above - and I felt something needed to be said.]