First, a U.S. Army vet's American flag. Then, a Virgin Mary statue. And now, a child's medically-mandated playhouse?
Though it's not breaking news that homeowners' associations are drawing fire for their questionably strict enforcement of covenant rules, specifically those regarding personal items within "common areas," the latest decision from an HOA in Lexington, Ky., has raised more controversy and community-wide furor than usual.
The Andover Forest Homeowners' Association in Lexington is demanding that the playhouse of 3-year-old Cooper Veloudis, who has cerebral palsy, be removed from the Veloudis family's yard.
The playhouse, which was built upon the instruction of the toddler's therapist, cost the family $5,000 to construct and plays a vital part in his physical development. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, physical therapy by way of daily exercise is the "cornerstone" of cerebral palsy treatment. And this playhouse, designed specifically to help Cooper become more active, has been proven to be central to the treatment of the toddler's disorder.
"Since we got this, he can walk stairs on his own."
"He has thrived with this," Cooper's mother, Tiffany Veloudis, told television station WMBF News
Despite the toddler's progress however, the Andover Forest Homeowner's Association had announced that it would stick firmly to its ground. No matter what the circumstance, the structure remains "strictly prohibited" and Ernie Stamper, who represents the Andover Forest Subdivision, insisted that the board "will not back down."
"It's not something we have a reason to discuss," Stamper told television station KTSM 9. "There are people who live here who expect us to abide by those covenants. It's why they bought their house. Structures not attached to a house are not allowed."
In the meantime, the Veloudis family has also been ordered to pay $50 for every day the playhouse remains in their yard.
But in the days since the story was first broadcast early this month, the public backlash has spurred the HOA to soften its stance, the local NBC affiliate reported. The association decided that the playhouse can stay, at least for the time being. The Veloudises are still in talks with the HOA and say they're building a case to keep the playhouse.
And this week state lawmaker Richard Henderson, a representative of the Mount Sterling area, has said that he plans to draft a bill that would enable the family to keep the playhouse indefinitely and bar similar HOA action.
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