Two Letters Re: Small Town Newcomers and Home Development Covenants

In my opinion Violas’s comments are balderdash! That’s my reaction to all the ranting over “restrictive covenants”. I wouldn’t buy a piece of property in any sort of subdivision that didn’t have such rules. Let me share the experience that convinced me:

About five years ago, I bought a piece of investment property in a small, rural Wyoming subdivision. Lot sizes were 3 to 10 acres and covenants were attached. Those covenants were common sense in nature. hey boiled down to simply treating your neighbor as you would be treated.

Problem was, the covenants weren’t enforced. “Nobody’s gonna tell me what I can do with my property.” You know the litany. The inevitable results:

Animals – The covenants had no restrictions against domestic or small-sized commercial operations–i.e., half dozen horses, 20 or 30 turkeys, goats, etc. Guess what happens? Some clod runs a dozen horses on a three acre lot. Takes about 90 days until all the vegetation is dead and the neighbors are treated to pulverized horse manure and dust blowing in on their pancakes every time a breeze kicks up.

Junk – Covenants allowed up to three junk cars, plus a camper, utility trailers and even farm machinery (junk or otherwise). What happens? You got it, doesn’t take long until 2 or 3 people have turned their yards into trash heaps: old tires, worn out swamp coolers, scrap metal, you name it.

Lighting – Covenants simply said we had a “Dark Skies” policy and that folks were asked to use motion detecting or intermittent lighting and that any outdoor lighting did not shine directly on neighboring property. Yep, the first thing you got is million candlepower “security lights” that blaze away from dusk until dawn.

Temporary structures – The covenants prohibit anyone from moving a camper in and living in it. However, if they were constructing a home, they could reside in a camper on-site for a “reasonable” period of time, up to two years. Thanks to unenforced covenants, a family moves in an old camper and settles in. Their septic system? They dug a hole in the ground and piped the sewage into that hole. (Yeah, thank God we don’t have to worry about covenants!)

The list goes on, but I’ve made my point. Anyway, property values drop, decent folks sell out and are replaced by down and outers who can’t afford to keep up the property. Pretty soon, it looks like Tobacco Road.

Our solution? We sold the property as soon as we realized that the covenants were being ignored. We are glad that we did! Keep the Faith, – Dutch


Hi Jim,
I wanted to write in response to the latest Weekly Survival Real Estate Update. He mentioned the phenomena of outsiders moving in and establishing “covenants”, restrictive ones, which help to alter the real estate landscape, among other things. This touches on something I’ve noticed in every town I work in that is experiencing growth. Dilution.
The locals at first love the idea of new services coming from the taxes and development fees from new construction. But after awhile, they find out that the new comers don’t give a rat’s furry behind about any kind of local tradition, culture, or even cordiality. They just buy-in, settle-down (maybe) and vote. The new people vote their own ways, chose a route they prefer, and eventually dilute the will and preferences of people having lived there for years, or decades.

My little town of what used to be 9,000 is now over 14,000. The extra 5,000 seem to think that “old town” doesn’t exist, or is so out-of-date that its concerns don’t matter. It’s not nice, and it’s not comfortable. Lots of the locals have moved out, and renters have taken their place, and we know about renters around here. They move in and show all the lack of concern mentioned above, and they add new problems – dirty yards, dead cars, smells and noise. They don’t care. They don’t have any investment. The newcomers form a serious voting bloc, and are ready to okay assessments and fees on the old town. We need to pay for their developments? Sheesh!

I really would like to get up there. But I gotta wonder, how many Kalifornians have already beat feet to Idaho and Montana and found that they can alter the balance? How many of my recently removed idiot neighbors have decided that the scenery is for them, and screw the locals and their backwards ways? Does the indigenous population understand what is coming their way? You’re concerned about the hordes from the cities in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, but you might well see plenty of them ahead of time. And they vote. They will vote according to their comfort desires. They may vote in a government that is hostile to your current freedoms. They may vote in politicians that will expand liberal Schumer deeper into your lives. They will do what they want, and “what’s best” for you – whether you want it or not.

I hope that the natives understand, and are prepared to fight the battles at the polls that will need to be won. If I ever make it up there, I’d really like to not see just another transplanted Californian mentality. – Randy in Central California