By Deborah Goonan
Hannah and Chris Lofland recently purchased a home in Perry Park Metropolitan District in Colorado. They have a 12-year old son with autism, and they own an RV. They chose their home specifically because is it NOT governed by a homeowners’ association. Many of their neighbors have RVs. So the Loflands assumed there would be no problem with parking their own RV adjacent to their home. The family frequently takes their son for rides in the specially equipped RV, an activity that helps the boy cope with sensory problems.
But not long after the family moved in, their neighbor, Jim Cassidy, decided the RV was an “eyesore” that had to go. You see, although the Perry Park neighborhood has no HOA, it is nevertheless subject to architectural controls (deed restrictions governing appearance), and Cassidy is the President of a 3-member Architectural Control Committee (ACC) that seeks to enforce those controls. The Loflands have received several letters demanding the removal of the RV.
The Loflands’ attorney has notified the ACC that it is likely running afoul of the Fair Housing Act, which requires reasonable accommodations for any resident with a disability. A complaint has been filed with HUD.
Problem Solvers (Fox31 News) reporter Rob Low interviews the Loflands and Cassidy in the following video. You can clearly see that William Lofland is disabled, and that several neighbors also have their RVs parked adjacent to their homes. When Low confronts Cassidy with these facts, Low resorts to lobbing insults at the reporter.
Parents fight to keep RV for Autistic son
As is usually the case, the neighbors not only have no problem with the Loflands’ RV, they actually support the family. In addition, the coordinator of Perry Park ACC, Paul Temaat, says he does not support Cassidy’s stance or actions in this matter.
Support pours in for family fighting to keep RV for autistic son
It’s important to note here that the Perry Park Metro District does not enforce Architectural Controls. The former developer, however, filed restrictions for 11 different ACCs. County records confirm that committee members are appointed, presumably by the developer. They are not elected officials, and they are not under the authority of the Metropolitan District.
Architectural control is not the responsibility of Perry Park metro district
Here is a copy of the Architectural Controls for the section of Perry Park where the Loflands reside.
Paul Temaat, Perry Park ACC Coordinator, Filing 3 upload
It looks like the homeowners will have an opportunity to amend or nullify these restrictions in 2021.
In the meantime, homeowners are forced to spend their own money for legal defense. In this case, if HUD finds in their favor, the Loflands will likely be reimbursed. That could take years.
Hopefully, Cassidy will reconsider, and simply allow the Loflands to live in peace.
Another important point is that some municipalities also have adopted Architectural Controls that obtain their authority from the city and through elected planning commissions. You can read more about it from the American Planning Association (APA), right here.
Even without a homeowners’ association, deed restrictions can be enforced in court by any neighbor or by one of these ACCs. At least Metro ACCs require committee members to have expertise in architecture or construction. But it’s interesting to note that, in some cities, there is no appeal process for owners who disagree with the ACC’s decisions.
American Planning Association, survey of metro planning with architectural control
An important lesson here: HOA or no HOA, review deed restrictions (preferably with a qualified attorney) very carefully before taking title to any property.