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HOA demands children's book-lending library be removed from yard

The pettiness of some disputes that homeowners have with their homeowners' associations explains why buyers do not always choose to locate in such a community. Basic rights of expression and harmless efforts by California homeowners to be helpful are not always welcomed by the HOA, which often leads to expensive, time-wasting conflicts. This is how one family in another state views an association's efforts to have a Little Free Library box removed from their front yard.

The Bentley Woods Community Association originally offered to allow the family to relocate the book-lending box on association property near the pool as a way around the problem. The box is used to allow children from the area to take out books for their pleasure. The family recently reduced its size to be comparable to a bird-feeding house but the HOA rejected the modification.

To highlight the pettiness of the association's concerns, about half of the homeowners signed a petition asking the organization to allow the box to stay on the family's front yard. The HOA contends that the rule being applied attempts to maintain home values within the association. The Little Free Library has seen about 60,000 units placed throughout the world since its inception in 2009.

The family is surprised that the reduced-size box was also rejected. The couple made it the size of a birdhouse and expected the change to be approved. Instead, they received a letter from a lawyer demanding it be taken down and asking for nearly $200 in expenses and fees. Some supporters of the box ask why it is okay if it is put on HOA property and not okay on the family's property.

Perhaps the dispute hearkens back to another one that the family had with the HOA about a year ago. They put a sign in their yard supporting science, women's rights and "Black Lives Matter."  The family refused to remove the sign, but the organization retreated from a fight. Such disputes can sometimes appear to be silly and of little importance to most observers. California hosts such disputes in great abundance due to the large number of homeowners' associations existing here.  

Source: orlandosentinel.com, "Oviedo homeowners association demands family remove Little Free Library from yard", Stephen Hudak, May 6, 2018

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