I am sometimes asked about the differences between "community associations" and "neighborhood associations." First, Oklahoma does not have a standardized terminology pertaining to community associations. So, one person might call a homeowners association a real estate development association, a community association, a deed restricted community, etc. Generally, a community association refers to a real estate development containing some common areas, such as greenbelts or recreational areas, that are owned and operated by a corporate entity whose members are the owners of real property within the development. In my usage, a neighborhood association refers to an entity comprised of voluntary members whose purpose is to provide some value to the development. Often, neighborhood associations will collect dues paid voluntarily by its members. While communities having a neighborhood association may also have covenants filed against the real property within the development, the covenants rarely refer to the association and rarely vest any authority over the owners in the association.
That being said, many neighborhood associations exist and work "behind the scenes" to increase community in their development. I have found voluntary associations whose voluntary membership consistently reaches 95% of the entire development, which is an astounding testament to the importance of associations in real estate development. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, scant legislation exists to help neighborhood associations operate and organize. Because of the general lack of formality attendant with neighborhood associations, the success or malaise of a particular neighborhood association usually rests on the few motivated board members of the association.