Following approval by the City Council in June 2016, the Neighborhood Association program was created as an effective way to enhance communication between residents, local businesses, and city government on matters that affect the livability and character of their neighborhoods. While several similar programs can be found in communities throughout Illinois and nationwide, Edwardsville’s Neighborhood Association program is unique to the metropolitan St. Louis area!
What is a “Neighborhood Association”?
A “Neighborhood Association” is different than a Homeowners Association (HOA). While an HOA is usually comprised of property owners with the legal authority to enforce rules and regulations within a subdivision, a “Neighborhood Association” is a group of neighbors and/or business owners who work together for improvements such as neighborhood safety, beautification and social activities. They primarily focus on civic education and voluntary cooperation. Neighborhood association membership is voluntary or informal and may be comprised of areas that include one or more HOAs as well as areas not within a HOA-governed area / subdivision.
Why Become a “Neighborhood Association?”
There are a number of benefits in becoming a city-recognized neighborhood association:
- A future “Neighborhood University” program. While details are still in the works, the City anticipates offering workshops throughout the year on topics important to Neighborhood Association residents such as neighborhood safety, neighborhood planning, applying for the neighborhood grant program, etc. As these workshops get underway, City Planning staff would welcome your suggestions on future workshop topics. Use of City facilities for Neighborhood Association meetings: Upon advanced request, use of City facilities for the purpose of conducting neighborhood association meetings that are open to the general public to promote civic engagement and communication among recognized neighborhood associations on matters affecting the livability and character of city neighborhoods.
- Electronic notification of meetings / events that may affect a neighborhood: Designated neighborhood association contacts will be added to an email list to provide information on city trash, recycling, and large item pick up service, public safety and neighborhood watch programs and emergency management. Additionally, city staff will provide electronic notice on pending land use applications (e.g. re-zonings, special use permits, Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)) and updates or changes to the City Comprehensive Plans.
- Assistance with the application and coordination of Edwardsville Neighborhood “ENERGI” neighborhood grant projects.
Creating effective Neighborhood Associations
While the process to become an official Neighborhood Association is designed to be simple and straightforward, here are some suggested (but not required) guidelines that will help ensure the effectiveness of your Neighborhood Association.
- Do you have enough property owners in your Neighborhood Association in order to meet the goals you hope to achieve? While not required, City Planning staff will encourage your Neighborhood Association to meet the suggested minimum size of 10 to 20 homes.
- Do the proposed boundaries include areas that should reasonably be a part of your Neighborhood Association?
- Does the proposed Neighborhood Association boundary follow natural or man-made features that help participants to feel they are part of defined area? Neighborhoods Associations are encouraged to consider major arterial streets or other natural or man-made barriers when defining boundaries. City Planning staff can also assist with review of historic “subdivision plats” that can also help guide boundary decisions.
- Neighborhood Associations do not need to be comprised of only residential homes. Neighborhood boundaries can also include schools, churches, parks, apartments, businesses, and other features identified as part of the neighborhood.
- Neighborhood Association boundaries can be amended / changed in the future.