Do HOAs Need to Rethink Prohibitions on Displays Supporting Members of the Military?
Back in May, Lindsay Smith blogged on a story involving a couple in Louisiana who were displaying a banner in their yard supporting their son who is a Marine serving in Afghanistan.
Timothy and Jodi Burr, the proud parents of the Marine, claim that a covenant of Gardens of Southgate Homeowners Association (“Association”) prohibits the placement of signs on lawns within public view. They also maintain that the Association is selectively enforcing this covenant since the Association has allegedly not taken enforcement action on “numerous signs throughout the neighborhood.”
Since May, this story seems to have taken on a life of its own and has become extremely ugly. Evidently, the couple did not take down their banner and the Association has filed a lawsuit against them to force compliance. In addition to the issue of selective enforcement, the couple has contended that the Association has been unresponsive to their requests for a meeting to discuss this issue.
While we do not have enough information to comment on whether the couple or Association has acted constructively or appropriately, I have to ask the following questions:
Is it time for some homeowners’ associations (“HOAs”) to rethink their position on the display of signs, banners or flags showing support for family members or other service members deployed in war zones?
Is the creation of a rule regulating the size and placement of these items a reasonable solution to this highly charged and emotional issue?
As a reminder, Colorado law addresses the flying of the American Flag and service emblems in HOAs. Check out my May 27th blog posting for what HOAs need to know.
As an Association General Manager - and as a retired member of the US ARMY - I am saddened to see some HOAs being so inflexible (meaning mule stubborn) that they will not even entertain the idea of allowing some regulated form to recognize the service of military members especially those deployed to combat zones. This is again an example of a small minority giving HOAs overall a black eye and adverse publicity.