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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Friday, April 10, 2009
HOA, Arizona

After my post earlier this week regarding Arizona cities and Jack in The Box someone reminded me of similar behavior in the Valley of the Sun, or more specifically Mesa.

Back during the Krispy Kreme craze, the local franchisee wanted to open a store in Mesa, I believe out by Power Road or Red Mountain area. Krispy Kreme has a fairly unique color scheme which is almost tacky but it works for them because they serve... donuts. Well if I remember correctly the City of Mesa wouldn't let them put the color scheme the franchisee wanted, not enough earth tone.

If you live in the Phoenix metro area for any length you notice two things about the buildings. First there is no lack of earth tone in the color of buildings, in fact you can drive for miles and not see anything but browns and tans. Second while it is a fine place to live, the words "Mesa" and "upscale community" aren't often used in the same sentence. Why Mesa felt it needed to act as an HOA in terms of colors of retail establishment seems like a poor use of public resources and an intrusion of private property.

Moving on to another fine example of Mesa and intrusions on private property....

On the southwest corner of Main and Country Club, across the street from a more famous business, there now stands a coffee shop. However a few years back that building used to be a Winchell's donut shop. Now I don't know what it is with the City of Mesa and donut shops, but apparently this donut shop ran afoul of the City because of the amount of signage in the windows. To the surprise of the average citizen, not only did Mesa have an ordinance which restricted the amount of window space that could be covered with commercial signage but they actually had inspectors on the street who would measure the signage in windows. Well Winchell's had too high of a percentage of its windows with signage, thought to be honest it might have been stuff painted on the windows, and rather than dying of public embarrassment Mesa pressed its case.

Nice to know that at a time when many of its agencies were struggling for funds, Mesa found the funds to enforce window signage in donut shops.

I am sure there are plenty of other examples and in more cities than just Mesa but that sort of gives you a flavor. Somebody once said along that a government that had the power to give you everything you wanted had enough power to take away everything you had. I guess a corollary to that is that a government that had both the will and resources to function as a HOA is a government that has gotten too big for its britches. Something to consider with all the government budget cutting going on.

Oh and the famous business on the other side of Main Street from Winchell's? That would be Bailey's Brake Shop.