In the coming months we will debate whether we should allow dogs in our parks, and motorcycles in the community. There have already been many letters about motorcycles, and now we are seeing letters about letting dogs in the parks.
In the letters to the editor against both changes members of our community bring up the risks of allowing either in our community or parks. These members bring up issues like noise by motorcycles, or irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their hounds. If we let dogs in the park, there is the possibility that an owner will not pick up their dogs feces. If we let motorcycles in there may be the possibility that someone will thoughtlessly rev up its engine making noise. Clearly the concern is over the exceptions and not the majority of motorcycle and dog owners. It is an interesting issue, because for some reason our community is very inconsistent in how it applies its rules. Some rules ban all, others just specific violations.
If we let boats on the lake, then someone may drive it in the wrong direction, or may speed in a no wake zone. We let boats in, and have rules for use. If we let kids live in Lake Wildwood, they might use skateboards in the street. We let kids live here but have rules for skateboard use. If we let new golfers on the course, they might play very slow. We have marshals to keep the pace up. If we let cars in the community they might speed. We have security patrols to enforce speed limits. Hopefully you see a consistent trend. In most case rules are put in place to manage exceptions and risks so that we might have a pleasant and safe community. So why are we treating people with dogs and motorcycles differently? Why are we punishing the responsible many for the careless few? We don’t do that with anything else.
Banning rather than managing exceptions hurts our community. At its worst it negatively impacts our home values because we are sometimes perceived as a community of rule mongers, or worse yet non-inclusive narrow thinkers. This is especially apparent from those who state “it’s the rule and always has been” argument. CC&Rs need to support current reality, not a community of rules stuck forty years in the past. Continue reading