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Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance (NARO)

Information on the Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance (NARO) update.

Overview of NARO Update

The Neighborhood Association Recognition Ordinance (NARO) guides the work of the Office of Neighborhood Coordination (ONC). In October 2017, City Councilors expressed an intent to address the weaknesses and shortcomings in the NARO, which was originally passed in 1987 and had been minimally updated in the ensuing years. Interim guidelines that temporarily restricted the formation of new neighborhood associations were put into place.

Neighborhood Engagement Process

As well, independent consultants were contracted to conduct an extensive outreach initiative with city councilors, city departments, neighborhood associations and coalitions, community groups and individuals not affiliated with a neighborhood association, to ascertain what changes should be incorporated into the updated NARO. This outreach, called the Neighborhood Engagement Process (NEP), involved face-to-face interviews, flash polling, surveys, and group discussions held at four community centers citywide. Information on the NEP can be found here.

Revised Legislation

The first draft of the revised NARO legislation was sent to all neighborhood associations on file with the Office of Neighborhood Coordination (ONC) in January 2021. Extensive feedback from neighborhood associations and coalitions was received, and the  draft legislation was subsequently revised to incorporate much of this community feedback. The revised draft NARO legislation was introduced at the City Council meeting on Monday, August 2, 2021, and was assigned bill number O-21-71 in the Legistar system. O-21-71 was amended at LUPZ and at Full Council, but was voted down at the September 20, 2021 City Council meeting.  A revised bill that incorporates all of the amendments of the previous bill was introduced at the March 21, 2022 City Council meeting, and was scheduled for the City Council meeting on Monday, April 18, 2022 for final action. This new bill is O-22-15. A color coded reference version is available here. The text in red shows amendments approved at LUPZ to O-21-71, text in blue shows amendments approved at City Council, and text in green shows revisions to correct formatting errors.

You can view a matrix of neighborhood feedback on the legislation, and City responses to that feedback, here: PDF Matrix

Overview of Proposed Legislation

The revised draft NARO contains updated language that more clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of recognized neighborhood associations, the ONC, and other City departments. The 15-page bill clarifies the need for a democratic process that neighborhood associations must follow when conducting elections and votes, clearly defines how a neighborhood association and neighborhood coalition obtain and maintain recognized status, and lays out expectations for bylaw updates.

  • To become recognized, a neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition:
    • Must allow any resident, property owner, tenant or business owner to become a member.
    • Must have clearly defined boundaries that do not overlap with any other neighborhood association or coalition.
    • Must have bylaws that clearly define the processes by which board members are elected and/or replaced, how annual meetings are noticed, and that specifies the date of the annual meeting.
    • Must have two designated points of contact on file with the ONC.
    • Must complete the ONC’s Compliance Form and submit to the ONC.
  • To stay recognized, a neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition must:
    • Have an annual meeting and submit to the ONC its Annual Report Form.
    • Maintain two designated points of contact with the ONC, including name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
    • Have a clearly defined democratic process for holding elections that is spelled out in their bylaws.
    • Clarify to members that dues are not a prerequisite for either membership or voting.
  • Recognition means that a neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition has the responsibility of receiving and disseminating developer notifications and permit applications to their members, as well as other information of interest or that might benefit or otherwise affect their neighborhood.
  • Other groups and individuals have access to all of the ONC’s resources and communications. They are not considered recognized, however, and will not receive developer notifications and permit application notifications.
  • City departments other than the ONC have the responsibility of notifying recognized neighborhood associations and recognized neighborhood coalitions of changes in City services, major infrastructure projects, City street construction or closure, filming on City streets, and major City development per the IDO requirements, within a specific radius.
  • The ONC has the responsibility to:
    • Maintain recognized neighborhood association / coalition contact information.
    • Disseminate this information to permit applicants, developers, and City departments for notification about City projects and development.
    • Offer information, assistance and resources for creation and maintenance of recognition status.
    • Provide resources to neighborhood associations, coalitions, individuals, community groups and businesses.

Contact Information

The draft NARO is sponsored by City Councilor Isaac Benton (D-2). If you have questions or would like more information, contact:

Vanessa Baca, Manager, Office of Neighborhood Coordination, [email protected].

Nathan Molina, Policy Analyst to Councilor Benton, [email protected].