Stone Oak resident claims HOA harassment over porch gate to protect autistic son


by Sarah Forgany / KENS 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @ForganySarah

Posted on June 22, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 22 at 10:09 PM

A Stone Oak woman says she's being harassed by neighbors and the homeowners association for having a child with special needs.

It's a nasty fight that has been brewing for more than a year now over a small white picket gate that the Colquhoun family says is needed for their child's safety.

Five-year-old Luke is no ordinary boy. His autism needs special care.

"He has no concept of cause and effect," Christa Colquhoun said about her son.

Christa says Luke would run out of the house and into the street just about every day. He came close to being run over by a car on a few occasions.

So Christa says she decided to do something about it. The Colquhouns filed an application with the Panther Creek at Stone Oak Homeowners Association asking to build the gate.

In the application, Christa says she specifically wrote that the gate was for her child who has a disability.

Christa says she followed the HOA's rules saying that a homeowner who doesn't hear anything back within thirty days they can proceed.

But Christa says she waited 60 days and still had gotten no response. So they put up the white picket fence that matches
a white railing built with the house.

"We hired someone professional to do a good job and to make sure our house looks good while keeping our child safe, " Christa said.

Soon afterward, Christa says her neighbor began harassing her, making fun of her child and telling her the gate was ugly and to take it down. Christa says the neighbor then filed a complaint with the HOA.

Christa tells KENS 5 that's when she began receiving letters from the HOA asking her to tear down the gate and pay a fine, an amount that she says adds up to $600 by now.

"They wanted the gate down because it was ugly. It was an eyesore and it didn't match with the rest of the community," Christa said.

She claims to have contacted HOA members on several occasions, but no one has responded. Some of them live down the street from her, she said.

"They said it would be a possibility to foreclose on the home if I don't pay the fines and get the gate removed."

KENS 5 spoke with Attorney Tom Placier, who represents the HOA. Placier told us: "We did not know about the boy's autism.
We are willing to resolve this issue as long as the gate is in conformity with the neighborhood."

KENS 5 asked Placier what is considered an acceptable gate for the neighborhood. He said that's up to the HOA to decide.

"It's not neon purple. It doesn't have crazy colors. All I have is a gate to protect my son and I'm being bullied by neighbors and by HOA," Christa said.

The only answers Christa says she has gotten so far are papers threatening of the lawsuit.

HOA Board Member John Hanson told KENS 5 he can not comment unless he sees the application filed by Christa. Hanson said he is familiar with the lawsuit and he stands by what the lawyer said.

Christa also wants this fight to the end, but she says no one from HOA has contacted her.