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Good neighbor policies

I am looking for communities outside of the state of Arizona who require potential developers to seek the approval of "neighbors" affected by the proposed development.

I would like to read your policies as well as hear from you how the policies have affected growth and development.

Lee Nellis

Formally involving the neighbors is required in virtually every state and jurisdiction, but you need to be wary of the word "approval." One of the earliest US Supreme Court cases on zoning clearly stated that local government could not delegate its power of review and approval to neighbors. There are also cases, including Hardin County, KY (which was successfully attacked on this point in court) and Summit County, UT, where an extreme emphasis on involving the neighbors led to serious credibility problems. Neighbors' best bet for influencing the development they see is to ensure that their city or county has a good comp plan and regulations that are fairly enforced.


Dear Leader
Staff member
In Aurora, Colorado, the HOAs wield a lot of power. Elected officials in the city generally come from leadership positions in the larger HOAs, and not the business community.

For projects that require Planning and Zoning Commission approval, all HOAs are notified within a mile of the site. Referral cards are sent back to the planning case manager, with all comments included in the planner's staff report. The HOA can choose to receive copies of resubmittals. For potentially controversial projects, the planner has the option of making neighborhood meetings with the HOA part of the review process.

The HOA doesn't approve development cases, but since they have a lot of power, their comments (and opposition) carry plenty of weight in the review process. Several times, when I was a planner in Aurora, I'd recommend approval for a project, while adjacent HOAs would be opposed. HOA reps and lawyers showing up in force to P&Z meetings were common occurences. The P&Z Commission would more often than not side with the HOA, and vote for a denial recommendation.


Informal meetings

We have notifications requirements, but in reality, we know what may happen when the neighbors get the notice. If a project is likely to be controversial, we recommend that the developer have their own neighborhood informational meeting (between the developer and residents, without our involvement) prior to submitting the project to the Plan Board. Some do. It can be a reality check for them. Where they listen to, and can accommodate the neighborhood's concerns, it often makes the difference. Of course, this is informal, not part of our submission requirement.