guest blog by Nila Ridings
Cancer is an ugly disease and it’s uglier when an innocent child becomes it’s victim. Ella Schultz is just six years old. Sadly she is facing down two very difficult monsters; cancer and her StoneGate HOA board of directors.
Ella was contacted by Make A Wish. What she wished for is a playhouse. Make A Wish contacted J.E. Dunn Construction Company in Kansas City. They are willing to build that playhouse with a matching roof to the houses in the neighborhood. Being from Kansas City, I am well aware of this company and over the years have known some of their employees. I am not one bit surprised to hear they were ready and willing to make this wish come true for Ella. They are a big company with a big heart!
On the other hand, I am not at all surprised to hear the StoneGate HOA has brought Ella’s wish to a screeching halt. Why? Because that’s what HOAs are all about! ENFORCE THOSE COVENANTS AT ALL COSTS!!! Forget the human factor. Deny the ill child. Show her from a early age that the almighty power of the HOA will stop her wish in it’s tracks. Ignore the neighbors who are supporting Ella’s wish.
President Stacy Bayers, as the leader of your HOA board do you have any common sense? When KCTV-5 contacted you did you EVER THINK to call an emergency board meeting and share these circumstances with the other board members? Do you realize you can torment adults 365 days per year, but little Ella’s supporters from all over the world are going to fiercely support a sick child with a wish against your HOA? Can you even imagine the negative exposure StoneGate is going to get? For years to come people will drive by StoneGate and say, “That’s that horrible place that denied that little girl with cancer a playhouse!!!” So much for property values Ms. Bayers! Win your battle…lose your war!
When Ella wins her battle against cancer I feel sure I know one thing that won’t ever be in her future. She’s shed her tears at six over an HOA and what a life lesson she has had, but she won’t be shedding tears at sixty because of bullies on an HOA board. Nobody will catch her buying property in the HOA trap.
Let’s send prayers out for Ella Schultz and her battle against cancer. And much gratitude to KCTV-5 reporter Jamie Oberg for giving this story television exposure.
(link to KPHO story on cancer girl)
(latest comments on cancer girl from Kansas City Star)
This is yet another outrageous and uncaring act (and maybe illegal) by an HOA board when it comes to a quality of life issue for a disabled child. Yes, the HOA board could call emergency meeting, and yes, many times these HOA boards make up rules, regulations, etc., “wily- nilly,” depending on who and/or what the situation is and allege “they are cast in stone,” when in fact, they may be illegitimate. I would like to see their CC&R’s, by laws and rules and regulations and all their business filings in the state. There may possibly be exceptions that may apply for little Ella under the ADA, or other state laws. Has anyone looked into this? I am told there may be more to this this barbaric, thoughtless denial of little Ella’s wish that has not yet come to the attention of the public. I will await further information on this. However, Ella and her family should know there are countless HOA homeowner advocates, and experts, and caring people who believe what you are being forced to endure is wrong. Just wrong! We are trying to get Ella’s ordeal to the attention of everyone and every news source we can. Some, are helping in ways no one knows about. One, wonderful HOA homeowner advocate and HOA expert has written to the HOA board and is going out of their way to get the facts, is the examining and questioning the legitimacy of the HOA, as well as keeping the press “in the loop.” Another HOA homeowner advocate and expert, Professor Gary Solomon, “HOA: Crisis in America, http://www.hoacrisisinamerica, has done something incredible, profoundly generous and caring. I trust because he feels it is “the right thing to do.” Here is what Professor Solomon told me he did after learning of little Ella’s HOA nightmare:
“I spoke with the people at the make-a-wish foundation. I have offered to pay the daily or weekly fine. I told them that if they put up the play house I will take care of the fine as long as necessary.”
Thank you, Professor Solomon for reaching out and letting the world know what we, the HOA homeowner advocates, and you an HOA homeowner advocate and expert will do to right an “HOA wrong.” I trust there will be many in this country who will support your offer in this situation, as well. Thank you, Professor Solomon and all those we do not know about who are reaching out to help Ella and her family in this situation. The Stone Gate HOA board and the other HOA homeowners there, who have done nothing about the possible HOA’s abuse of power, and the law, should be ashamed of themselves.
No one needs to wonder why this is happening!
HOA reconsiders denial of playhouse for girl battling cancer
I’m appalled and disgusted,this is simply a travesty!
I live in this subdivision and a lot of people feel that Ella should be granted an exception .This HOA have had many people ask for a meeting,but have had no response.It is very frustrating.
Carol, I’m glad you came here to comment.
Before your HOA votes to reinstate the HOA, I hope you will ask your neighbors to read Ward’s book, Neighbors At War. They should know the TRUTH about HOAs before they vote to reinstate one.
Having a board refuse to call a meeting and discuss an issue is not at all uncommon. I don’t think this board expected to get busted for not having done their paperwork. This makes me wonder if the homeowners will have some recourse against these board members for fiduciary breach? Have they collected dues? If so, have you seen the accounting records on those dues? Who had access to the bank account where the dues were being deposited? Can you go after these board members for property value loss due to the negative media exposure? Lots of questions with unknown answers.
This battle is not over by any means. Please keep us posted.
Keep in mind that this is your opportunity to be rid of HOA governance for good!
While every community must provide a way to fund and administer needed maintenance tasks for areas that are not deeded to on particular owner (your common areas), an HOA is just ONE way to accomplish that duty. Three out of four homeowners in America rely on their local governments — cities, towns, boroughs, townships, villages, counties or perhaps a special purpose taxing districts to publicly administer these essential tasks. Instead of paying property taxes PLUS HOA assessments, they just pay property taxes for essentially the same services, and they do not need to rely on a volunteer Board of Directors – who may or may not have the necessary knowledge and experience – to do the job.
For amenities such as a community pool, you have options, too. If the city is not willing to take over maintenance, or if you want to keep these amenities somewhat private, consider selling these to a private business owner, and allow residents to pay monthly dues for membership – their option. Alternatively, you could establish a voluntary (instead of a mandatory) HOA just for the maintenance and management of the pool, and work with your local city or county to take over maintenance of other green spaces such as medians or portions of roads now designated as private.
This is also your opportunity to reconsider the necessity and desirability of keeping, eliminating, or amending current restrictions that dictate strict aesthetic standards designed to maintain a “show-ready” or perhaps unrealistically pristine, uniform, or sterile appearance. Quite often these restrictions and related rules excessively limit what individual owners can do on their personal properties — including the choice to build or create play structures for their children or grandchildren in their own back yards.
Even if no HOA is reinstated, and you have no active Board of Directors, keep in mind that as long as these deed restrictions remain in place, any homeowner can challenge his neighbor on alleged violations in court. But how likely are you to sue your neighbor over the fact that their children left some toys in the driveway overnight, even if that is technically against the restrictions? If there is an HOA, and the Board decides to take legal action against you or one of your neighbors, each and every homeowner has to pay for that, even if you do not agree with such action.
These are some reasons why many former HOA owners never want to live under HOA rule again in the future, and why a growing number of current HOA owners would prefer to do away with the current system, and instead work with their local governments to enact and enforce REASONABLE ordinances that do not unduly restrict rights of homeowners.
Carol, I trust you and other homeowners are going to be finding out a lot more. I hope and pray you will stand up to this tyrannical and as far as I can tell, illegal board. How long have they been operating this way, collecting dues and possibly fines? It is the HOA homeowners who will end up responsible for the activities of the HOA board. Many HOA advocates across the country have been sorting this HOA outrage out, and advocating on behalf of this child. Some have been successful in uncovering some facts on the HOA and you as a homeowner there should know this. I hope every homeowner in this HOA is embarrassed and prepared to answer for those who serve on their executive board and the operation of the HOA. Please see:
And, even ABC is covering this: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cancer-stricken-girls-make-playhouse-stalled-homeowner-association/story?id=29416198
There may be a lot more to this story that the HOA board and homeowners will have to explain.
Carol Fiorella, thank you for commenting. We understand that quite often the HOA Board can be unresponsive or unreasonable, and fail to act, despite what homeowners think.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that an HOA has disapproved play structures or therapeutic equipment for children. But we are hopeful that your Board will reconsider and do the right thing by being compassionate and mindful of the needs of a little girl and her family.