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Sharon Heights' homeowner association doesn't function

Original post made by Sara, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights, on Mar 22, 2011

It appears that many local communities have formed active and informative community associations for their residents. Palo Alto and Ladera are excellent examples. In Sharon Heights one is an anoonymous outsider to the community (if it can be called a community) unless you have children playing in the streets or going to the neighborhood schools.

I have thought about starting an association, but I feel it is too big a project for me to handle and I have not found anyone interested in doing it with me. Maybe most residents in Sharon Heights don't want a feeling of community, a feeling of helping your neighbor and visa versa. I do.

How have these other communities developed their associations and email lists?

Comments (3)

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I hope you like herding cats.

My suggestion:

1. Identify a few like-minded neighbors who will help you. Your group should discuss the objectives of your homeowner's group. Do you want any residents (renters or owners) or just homeowners in your group? Your working group should also set up a phone tree and email address list to notify neighbors and identify expertise (an accounting, insurance, legal, etc.). Keep good records and minutes, even during organization. I would suggest you use Yahoo or Google groups to organize your initiative.

2. Pick a date and time (7:30pm on a weeknight that doesn't conflict with anything on school calendars) and reserve a meeting room at a nearby community center, school or church. Menlo Park City Hall is available for this, I suspect. You'll be serving coffee, soft drinks and some cookies and you'll have to prepare an agenda (who will be speaking, you?)

3. Send a postcard to every address in your neighborhood a few weeks ahead of time. This will take some effort and your local post office can help. Repeat the postcard mailing five days before the meeting (so it arrives a day or two in advance). Pick a vivid color for your postcard so people will recognize your project. BRIEFLY tell people what you are doing and note your website (ie, Google group name).

4. Two or three days before the meeting, post some signs around your neighborhood reminding them of the meeting. The day of the meeting, everyone in your group should telephone 10 to 15 of their neighbors to remind them.

5. At the meeting, have someone manning the sign-in sheet and handing out name tags. Collect names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Urge people to write legibly. You may want to indicate the group organizers by using that same color for your name tages.

6. Allocate 30 minutes for social time before you start your meeting.

7. Introduce yourself and your team. State your case and what you'd like to accomplish. Accept input from your group and try to integrate it into your plans. Ask for volunteers to join your working group. Be sure to set up the next meeting.

Good luck...

Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

That was very thoughtful input from a good Woodside neighbor right there. You could invite the Fire Chief to come and speak, or maybe a history buff--Sharon Hieghts has a lot of little known past.
There is a great Gabrial Moulan Panoramic Photo from 1910 taken from a high point on the Alameda where it meets Santa Cruz Ave. looking west. It shows the shape of the topography so surprisingly well, all the way across almost to Walsh Rd., with out hardly any trees--just the major 400 year old oaks that had survived all the brush fires from the matanza days--only golden hills and the estate out buildings and young orchards. There was an Indian settlement by the St Dennis Church grounds. History can build community. The big red flowering eucaliptus tree by the picnic tables on the top of Hallmark Circle was one of two planted on each side of "Floras house" -the first structure put up by the summer of 1906 to escape the earthquake fallout from SF for Fredrick Sharon's sister. Frank Hellfrich who runs the MP Historical Society in the library basement is your neighbor and can show you where to look.

Posted by Sara
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a useful answer. I don't like herding cats which is why I thought this would be too big a task for me to handle. I think I will start small with a block party when it is sunny. Again, many thanks.

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