How to Start a Neighborhood Association
What is a Neighborhood Association?
A neighborhood association is a voluntary organization of neighbors (property owners, residents, and possibly representatives from businesses, churches, and schools) who work together to improve and maintain the quality of life in their neighborhood.
Membership is open to all within the geographic area you define to be part of the neighborhood association, but participation is optional. Dues are voluntary. There is no legal authority to enact or enforce maintenance or design requirements.
The association adopts bylaws that provide for at least one general membership meeting each year and require the annual election of officers.
Why Form a Neighborhood Association?
Neighborhood associations are a vital part of creating and maintaining a livable community in Georgetown. They are a valuable tool in helping bring residents together to preserve and enhance the livability of a neighborhood. Associations provide a forum for discussing local and citywide issues, and they often plan activities and projects that are beneficial to the area. Neighborhood associations can also help maintain neighborhood standards through code enforcement and help residents stay informed on city policies and procedures.
Some advantages to neighborhood associations include:
- Keeping informed of news/decisions that affect the neighborhood.
- Platform for distributing information (for example, periodic newsletters)
- Creating a unified voice (a collective voice is a stronger voice).
- Communicate concerns around development, public improvements, public safety
- Providing an effective communication link with the City of Georgetown.
- Registration for Neighborhood Roundtables (communication quarterly meetings)
- Registration for land use change notifications
- Building relationships and strengthen communication among neighbors.
- Creates a sense of community among residents
- Capacity to resolve neighborhood issues together
- Host community events
If you and your neighbors decide to organize your own neighborhood association, consider the following:
- Avoid overlapping boundaries with another neighborhood association. The City’s housing coordinator can help you identify the boundaries of neighborhood associations around your neighborhood.
- Identify meeting time and place for the first organizational meeting.
- Widely distribute information throughout the neighborhood about the new association’s first meeting.
- Include everyone living or owning property within the association’s boundaries as a potential member.
- Highlight the goals or benefits of organizing as a neighborhood (for example: communication, events, safety, beautification).
Formalizing the Neighborhood Association
Once you have identified the members of the core group and established a meeting time and place, you should adopt bylaws. Bylaws provide the framework for your neighborhood association. They should clearly state the organization’s purpose, mission, and structure. Bylaws include:
- The boundaries of the neighborhood association.
- A board of directors, including roles and responsibilities, for the following positions:
- Vice President
- Meeting location and frequency
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Homeowner or Property Owner’s Association (HOA/POA) and a Neighborhood Association?
A homeowner’s association is formed by a developer and pertains to a specific subdivision or project. The association provides the framework for the future maintenance of the development’s common grounds and amenities, for instance, a pool, clubhouse, or common-area landscaping. All homeowners are compelled to follow the codes, covenants, and restrictions governing the development and pay association dues. In Texas, homeowner’s associations are registered with the State to allow an assessment of fees.
A neighborhood association is a section of a city with a common identity. Neighborhood associations offer a place to meet friends, exchange information, create projects and priorities, propose solutions, and have fun. A neighborhood association is formed based on the needs and desires of its residents. The association will give residents a forum to discuss common concerns and to brainstorm possible solutions but has no legal authority.
How can I register with the City for communication?
Your neighborhood association can register to be notified of land use changes within 300 feet of the boundaries of your established neighborhood association. You can sign up online here: http://records.georgetown.org/Forms/NANRF.
The City meets quarterly with neighborhood leaders. If you would like your neighborhood association leaders to be added to that list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What powers does the City of Georgetown have to regulate a management company, board members, or an HOA?
The City of Georgetown does not have the authority to regulate or enforce an association’s bylaws or their arrangement with a management company.