Denver HOA Looks to Ban Sidewalk Chalk Art

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Denver HOA sidewalk chalk

Well, there goes hopscotch.

Children in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver may soon lose a beloved summertime activity if the homeowners association there is successful in its attempt to ban sidewalk chalk art, Denver's CBS 4 reports.

Citing complaints from neighbors, the HOA said the chalk art potentially offends, disturbs or interferes with "the peaceful enjoyment" of the community and is not allowed.

"It's summertime, and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers, her name and hearts," resident Sarah Cohen, mother of a 3-year-old Emerson, told the TV station.

"We live on a courtyard, and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing space," she said, adding that she hadn't heard any complaints from neighbors.

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Denver HOA Looks to Ban Sidewalk Chalk Art

Location: Stapleton, Colo.

What the homeowner did: Sarah Cohen's 3-year-old daughter, Emerson, drew on the sidewalk using chalk.

The HOA's response: Chalk art potentially offends, disturbs or interferes with "the peaceful enjoyment" of the community and is not allowed. "The association is trying to go down a  path of 'do no harm,' " an attorney representing the HOA said.

Outcome: The issue will be brought to a vote at a future HOA meeting. In the meantime, Cohen plans on continuing to let her daughter draw on the sidewalks. "It's summertime, and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers, her name and hearts," said Cohen.

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Location: Spring, Texas

What the homeowner did: Nick and Jeni Dreis took home a 6-month-old red kangaroo as a vocational training animal for their 16-year-old daughter, Kala, who has Down’s Syndrome.

The HOA's response: The family should “immediately remove the kangaroo from the property, as it is not a household pet nor can it be maintained for any business purposes.”

Outcome: In the wake of widespread public support for the Dreises, the HOA reversed its position. “The letter should never have been sent,” said Jeff Crilley of the Estates of Legend Ranch Homeowners Association. “[HOA officials] were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes.”

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Location: Portsmouth, N.H.

What the homeowner did: Planted perennial flowers in her yard. Kimberly Bois claimed she had the plants in her yard before the condo board even existed and had permission from the developer to plant them.

The HOA's response: Sent the homeowner 13 certified letters demanding she remove the plants, starting with a cease-and-desist order and escalating to thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. "It's not about do you like these flowers or don't you," said the condo association’s attorney, Sandy Roberts. "It's a question of was it authorized and is it permanent."

Outcome: Condo association filed a lawsuit against Bois to pay $4,500 in back fines and $8,000 in attorney’s fees.

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Location: Stratford, Conn.

What the homeowner did: Barbara Cadranel put a mezuzah on the doorframe of her apartment.

The HOA's response: Threatened to impose a $50-a-day fine until the religious door fixture is removed.

Outcome: The condo association agreed that Cadranel could hang her mezuzah and rescinded all penalties and fees against her. It also said it will allow residents to place mezuzahs and other religious symbols on doorframes without requiring advance approval.

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Location: Lexington, Ky.

What the homeowner did: Tiffany Veloudis built a playhouse for her 3-year-old son, Cooper, who has cerebral palsy, on the instructions of the toddler’s therapist. It cost the family $5,000 to construct.

The HOA's response: Demanded that the playhouse be removed and ordered the Veloudis family to pay $50 for every day the playhouse remains in their yard.

Outcome: After the story garnered national attention, the association decided the playhouse could stay until a solution could be worked out. State representative Richard Henderson has submitted a bill to enable homeowners to build small structures for therapy purposes with doctor approval, regardless of HOA rules.

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Location: Bossier City, La.

What the homeowner did: Jodi and Timothy Burr put up a front yard banner supporting their son, Corey, a lance corporal in the Marines who was serving in Afghanistan at the time.

The HOA's response: Told the family it was breaking the HOA's rule prohibiting all signs from public display.

Outcome: The HOA sued the Burrs when they refused to remove the sign. The Burrs argue that other homeowners have signs in their yards, and that the enforcement of the rule is “selective.” They also are trying to meet with the HOA to discuss possible revisions to the rule.

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Location: Evans, Ga.

What the homeowner did: A nonprofit homebuilding group planned to build a house, free of charge, for Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens, who was paralyzed in Iraq and is unable to speak.

The HOA's response: The HOA stopped the construction of the home. It argued that the Homes for Our Troops foundation didn’t file the proper paperwork. 

Outcome: The Gittens left the development and are exploring other places to build the home. Homes for Our Troops has agreed to continue the project in a new location.

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Location: Macedonia, Ohio

What the homeowner did: Fred Quigly, a retired Army chaplain and minister who served during the Vietnam War, put up an American flag in his front yard.

The HOA's response: The flag violates the HOA’s rules on flagpoles. It offered to put the flag at the entrance to the development instead.

Outcome: The HOA relented and granted Quigly the right to fly his flag in his front yard.

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Location: Frisco, Texas

What the homeowner did: U. S. Army National Guard Capt. Michael Clauer and his wife, May, failed to pay $977.55 in HOA dues.

The HOA's response: Foreclosed on the home, which was owned free and clear by the Clauers, and had it sold at auction.

Outcome: After a lawsuit, the Clauers reclaimed the title to the home.

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That's exactly why the HOA is cracking down on the chalk art: to keep everyone happy.

"The association is trying to go down a path of 'do no harm,' " an attorney representing the HOA told CBS 4.

The issue is expected to be brought up at a future HOA meeting, where residents will decide what to do about the chalk art.

In the meantime, Cohen said that she's going to let her daughter continue to draw on sidewalks.

If neighbors are really that upset, maybe they should talk to the city of Denver about its annual Chalk Art Festival.


See also:
Trouble Blooms: Condo Board Sues Resident Over Flowers
Texas Family Wins Fight Against HOA to Keep Pet Kangaroo

HOA 'Steals' Homeowner's Virgin Mary Statue


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