Homeowners association sees red over pink playhouse
Georgia group sues the homeowner, demanding that the structure be repainted a color more in keeping with community aesthetics.
We know there are people who don't find pink an appropriate color for outdoor décor, though living in Florida, we find that hard to believe.
The latest controversy over pink is playing out in a suburb of Augusta, Ga., where the homeowners association is demanding that Becky Rogers-Peck repaint the pink playhouse she built for her 4-year-old granddaughter.
The objection is not based upon a belief that pink for girls plays into a stereotype but upon aesthetics: The HOA says pink is not an appropriate color for an outbuilding at the Rogers-Peck house.
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But Rogers-Peck's granddaughter, Aubree, likes pink, and her grandmother refuses to repaint. After trying to find a resolution since spring, the Millshaven Property Owners Association has sued.
"It’s really disheartening," Rogers-Peck, who resigned from her post on the HOA board, told The Columbia County News-Times. "I feel like I live in Russia … where I can’t do anything on my own property without permission."
The association argues that she doesn't live in Russia but in a homeowners association, whose members agree to follow certain rules when they buy a home in the community.
One of the rules in this community is that the construction of outbuildings has to be approved by the Architectural Control Committee. The committee agreed to give Rogers-Peck retroactive approval if she agreed to repaint the playhouse, which is not visible from the street but can be seen by some neighbors.
The color is not "keeping in tradition with the neighborhood," Wright McLeod, the attorney for the HOA, told the newspaper.
Rogers-Beck argues that the playhouse is not an outbuilding but a piece of play equipment and not subject to the outbuilding standards. Her response to the lawsuit has been to try to get a new board elected that agrees with her.
Commenters on the newspaper's website were split over the issue.
"I am sure when she signed the legal contract to purchase her home she was given a covenant," one reader wrote. "The reason they moved into the neighborhood was because of how well the properties have been maintained. One individual allowed to break the covenant without consequences can become a nightmare. Paint the house or move out of the neighborhood."
But others argued that the association is unreasonable. One wrote:
"Having basic rules is one thing, and a very good thing, but I've found HOAs mostly are just a vehicle for busybodies who feel compelled to impose their taste on everyone else.
"Have the lady put in shrubbery that screens the playhouse from her neighbors' view if they find themselves unable to tolerate the view of a child's short-lived dream. A pink playhouse won't bring down property values; anyone seeing it would recognize it for exactly what it is."
What do you think? Is the homeowners association right to demand that the playhouse be repainted? Or is the rule that it can't be pink unreasonable?
You have to choose to live in a neighborhood with a HOA. For the most part, they benefit the community by ensuring properties are well maintained and houses look appropriate. It's situations like this that put them in a bad light. If this were an outbuilding, the HOA would be completely correct. However, I actually agree with the homeowner in this case. The playhouse does not have any association with the main house, such as a garage or storage building. It's solely for use as a playhouse by a child. Though perhaps the incident could have been avoided if the homeowner had the foresight to go to the HOA first. If she explained what she was doing it may not have been a big deal.
So I don't think the HOA is correct in this case, but explaining her plans for the playhouse before doing anything probably would've avoided all this trouble.
This HOA is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and obviously have WAY too much time on their hands! They also apparently don't have grandchildren, or this would NEVER have been an issue. LEAVE THIS CHILD HER LITTLE PINK HOUSE; childhood is over all too quickly as it is. GOOD FOR HER GRANDMOTHER - I'D DO THE SAME, WERE IT MY GRANDCHILD, AND I HAVE SEVERAL! I'D FIGHT AND FIGHT, TILL I WON THE BATTLE FOR MY GRANDCHILD!
A bunch of busybody pigs. Too bad they can't put that much time and effort into community service.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.