The one in my neighborhood is great. They do a LOT but they aren't draconian. For the most part, I think folks in this neighborhood want to maintain a certain standard anyway. I don't find any rule imposing. In fact, the standards expected are things I would enforce for myself anyway. I don't need my neighbors to park cars in the front yard (I was stationed in SC and that was pretty common), nor do I need to look out my window and see the hot pink house (I've seen that in SC too).
Nobody forces you to live within an HOA so if it's not for you, it's not for you.
The King puts the balls where the Queen wants them.