Last night during the Utah OSR Land Cooperative Board meeting I had the privilege of sitting in council with five other men, whom I have grown to respect and love. The agenda item was “what rules or regulations should or should not be imposed upon the land cooperative membership.” All were in agreement that another HOA was not what was wanted. Yet, there were concerns about properties becoming junkyards and other unsafe conditions. Pictures were produced of a yard many miles down the road in such a condition. For the next hour and a half, I was taught and edified by the men who sit on the Utah OSR Land Cooperative Board.
Throughout the discussion, I was reminded by other’s comments on the importance of the freedoms that we just celebrated on the fourth. Also, I was reminded that the land cooperative is an agricultural coop and not a pristine city park. But, more importantly, I was reminded of the heart and mind of those that are drawn to the OSR project.
Every family currently involved and those that are getting their affairs in order to participate, not only have a desire to be self-reliant but also love freedom and this great land in which we live. I was also reminded that freedom-loving, self-reliant, people want to be good neighbors. Because without good neighbors, safety cannot exist. With that in mind, the board continued to discuss the challenges and concerns that not only the board has but concerns that many of the members have vocalized, such as junk and trash scattered on a parcel, improper sanitation disposal, and in disrepair in general. The challenge was how to address those concerns because they are real and affect the health, safety, and welfare of everyone.
It was brought to everyone’s attention that there is already a canon of law with rules and regulations that have been in the making for over 124 years just here in the State of Utah. These laws, statutes, and ordinances exist and in some cases are burdensome, yet they do have the welfare of the individual and the community as a whole in mind. So, why should we add to these creating even more burdens upon ourselves and our neighbors? It was determined that there was no reason enough to do so. Yet, we all wanted or had a reasonable expectation for a beautiful community.
How to bring that about was the next topic discussed in detail, and this is where the true heart of this board was manifest. There were basically three strategies that were voted on and adopted:
First, we would become familiar with the existing laws, rules, and regulations that affect the health, safety, and welfare of us as individuals and as a community and make that information available to everyone. This would include the needed education and awareness, so all would have an understanding of what is required.
Second, we would make available a clear description of what a beautiful community, such as ours, should look like and we would post that description in multiple places, keeping it front and center for all to reflect upon.
Third, we would hold multiple community clean up days. On these cleanup days, the community would come together and clean and beautify our common areas and offer our help to those that are unable to organize and beautify their homesteads.
This would all be done by example, invitation, and offerings of help where needed and wanted. It was expressed that coercion with rule upon rule was not the type of environment that we wanted. Example, invitation, and service was the method of choice. I am very pleased to be associated with such an amazing group of men and women who are part of the OSR Initiative. This is truly the next new frontier.
Philip J. Gleason