HOA Road Ownership

The roads within the Longwood Green HOA were originally constructed in 1986 and are privately owned by the Association. In 2004 the roads were re-paved at an expense of approximately $65,000 to the HOA. The reason for private ownership of the roads and the subsequent costs associated with private ownership is a topic of discussion from time-to-time. This page addresses questions of private ownership versus ownership by the City of Longwood.

Why are our roads owned by the Association and not the City?
 
When the community was proposed, reviewed and finally approved by the City of Longwood for development the agreement was that the HOA take responsibility for construction and future maintenance of the roads. An obvious reason why municipalities are agreeable to such an arrangement is that the City government benefits by not having to budget funds for future maintenance of the roads. Some of the reasons why an HOA may find private roads to be beneficial are that it allows the community to "gate" the community and control enforcement of the use of the roads. However, one aspect with private roads is they do not have to be built to "City standards" meaning the roads may be narrower, thinner and therefore less expensive. Another aspect is that narrow roads means larger front yards which give the appearance of deeper setbacks and a more quaint quality to the community. Our rights-of-way are platted to be 50' wide but the pavement is generally only 20' wide and this leaves approximately 15' to either side of the pavement as a unpaved right-of-way that homeowners enjoy and maintain as "their yard". 

Why would the City be willing to take over our roads and would they?
 
City control over our private roads would require a couple of things to happen: (1) dedication of the roads to the Public, (2) Acceptance by the City. But, would the City accept the roads given they were not built to City "standards" and how would the City benefit by taking responsibility of the roads?  Likely the roads would have to be brought up to City Code before the City accepting ownership; this may include widening of the roads and "thickening" them and that expense would be the responsibility of the HOA. From the City's point of view nothing is to be gained by simply taking control over the roads. Likely, the City would have no interest in taking over the roads without receiving a "concession" in exchange.

HOA Ownership
 
PRO's
  1. Easier enforcement of speeding/parking and other rules. Currently, the Association has the authority to establish more restrictive regulations than what City Ordinance specifies.
  2. HOA determines when it is time to repave the roads.
  3. HOA can "force" the City to return roads back to the same state/standard prior to when City makes water main repairs which had required them to dig up the roads.
  4. Possible to "gate" community in the future.
CON's
  1. Cost of repair/maintenance paid by Association therefore higher annual dues.

City Ownership
 
PRO's
  1. Lower HOA dues (~$60/year)
CONs
  1. Reliance on City for Enforcement of parking rules. Removal of rules that are more restrictive than City Ordinance.
  2. Reliance on City to repair/maintain. City will determine when to repave the roads. (a) City may opt to repave the roads years beyond when the Association members feel it is time to repave, (b) City may selectively repave  or patch certain areas of the roads.
  3. Possibility that HOA will have to pay to upgrade the roads to "City standards" prior to acceptance by City. This could result in wider roads that encroach in on already establish yards, mailboxes, etc.
  4. Full public accessibility and use of the roads including parking of vehicles within the community regardless of HOA membership or not.
  5. Supermajority of Association members agreeable to turning roads over to the City. Possible legal battles.