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 whose proposed boundaries would conflict with existing associations were put into place.

Neighborhood Engagement Process

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 legislation was subsequently revised to incorporate much of this community feedback. The revised draft NARO was assigned bill number O-21-71 in the City Council’s Legistar system and is set to be introduced at the City Council Meeting on Monday, August 2, 2021. Once it is introduced, it will be referred to the Finance & Government Operations (FGO) Committee before making its way to the full Council.

Overview of Proposed Legislation

The revised draft NARO contains updated language that more clearly defines the roles and expectations of recognized neighborhood associations and coalitions, the ONC, and other City departments. A general premise behind the NARO is that if the City is going to “recognize” an outside group in some form, the activities of that group should be conducted fairly.  In the case of neighborhood associations, fairness can be promoted by outlining minimum democratic process that can be followed to help promote inclusion and reliable community representation.  The updated NARO clarifies the standards that neighborhood associations and coalitions will be asked to follow when conducting certain business, including elections and votes.  In addition, the revised NARO addresses the following:

  • To become recognized, a neighborhood association or neighborhood coalition must:
    • Allow any resident and businesses to become a member
    • Have clearly defined boundaries that do not overlap with any other neighborhood association or coalition
    • 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
    • Have two designated points of contact on file with the ONC
    • 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.

Feedback from Neighborhood Associations and Residents on Proposed Legislation 

Review the feedback here.

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, 505-768-3331, [email protected]