Verde Village too large for property owners group to be effective

In and of itself, a modification of the bylaws of the Verde Village Property Owners Association should not be cause for alarm.

As VVPOA Vice President Kate Riley explained to us last week, "Things change."

Changing times no doubt require a massage of the rules designed to lay a foundation of order for any organization. We’ve seen it right here at this newspaper over the years. Just as the Verde Independent of today is no longer the same business operation it was in 1972, Verde Village has changed dramatically. As a result, it makes sense to modify the VVPOA mission statement if it is to effectively serve the needs of its membership.

But sometimes the reality of changing times is that organizations such as the VVPOA outlive their ability to be effective, much less vital.

Certainly, in 1972 and into the early ‘80s, a property owners association made sense for Verde Village. The eight-unit subdivision was far from being "built out." The needs of the neighborhoods that made up Verde Village represented a manageable job for the association’s board of directors.

Today, the same cannot be said. There are 4,500 lots in Verde Village and very few of them are undeveloped. The Village has been urbanized. It is no longer small pockets of neighborhoods for which a property owners association can quickly and effectively solve problems.

The folks in Verde Village seem to realize this. No one is beating down the door to join the Verde Village Property Owners Association. There are only about 1,000 dues-paying members of the association. The membership is hardly representative of the community as a whole.

The truth is, Verde Village has become too populated for a property owners association to be effective, especially when only a fraction of the eligible members choose to participate. The Village has a larger population than what exists within Cottonwood’s city limits.

Conventional wisdom would see Verde Village incorporate into the City of Cottonwood. We’ve been down that road many times. Village residents are about as receptive to local government as they are to a property owners association.

A more creative approach might involve mirroring what has been done in the Village of Oak Creek. Like Verde Village, the Village of Oak Creek has become urbanized, yet the community has not seen fit to incorporate. Instead, it has established quasi-government in the form of the Big Park Coordinating Council, which acts in an advisory capacity to the elected county board of supervisors. Sixteen different property owners associations are represented on the Big Park Council in a community with a population roughly the same as Verde Village. In VOC, residents have discovered that property owners associations remain vital to their members when they stay small.

With the Verde Village Property Owners Association, maybe the answer is to tinker with the organization’s bylaws.

Better yet, it may be time for the VVPOA to face the facts that Verde Village has outgrown the ability for a property owners association to be effective.

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