A grieving widow in Port Orange, Fla., has a statue of an angel in her front yard, a token of the happy years she spent with her husband before she lost him. But her neighborhood homeowners association says the statue violates community covenants, and if she doesn't remove it, she'll pay a fine, Orlando TV station WESH reported.
Norma Freiji (pictured at left) was one of the first residents of the 13-year-old Ashton Lakes subdivision, and she said that she has always had yard art displayed. But now the HOA is asking all residents to remove statues in front and side yards. That means that cute figurines dotting many yards in the subdivision -- pelicans, egrets, gnomes and even a basketball hoop affixed to a garage -- must go. Homeowners received a letter recently from the HOA outlining the demands.
"I have her lit up at night with a solar light. She looks so beautiful," Freiji told WESH of her angel statue. She began to weep as she explained its significance to her and her deceased husband. "I just have it because I lost my husband, and it's just sentimental, that's all."
Jim Clapprood is the resident who was asked to remove a basketball hoop from his garage or pay a $100-a-month fine. He said that he understands HOAs must have rules to protect home values, but this is going a little too far. "A basketball hoop for children to play at the end of a cul-de-sac -- I don't see how that affects values," Clapprood said.
The HOA has declined to comment on the requested statue removal in the neighborhood. The HOA president didn't comment either, but WESH went to his house. The station discovered a decorative fountain in his front yard and a cat statue near his door.
Fights between residents and their neighborhood HOAs are a dime a dozen. Recently, a soldier living in a condominium fought back against the condominium association when it demanded that he remove American flags from the front of his home. But HOAs do have broad rights to ban certain objects from being displayed on homes -- including political yard signs.
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