By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
A few weeks prior to Memorial Day, Aspen Hills (SD) resident Alan Gross suggested installing a flagpole at the entrance to the community. But homeowners association board president Harvey Fayer denied the request.
The entry to Aspen Hills is a common area, and not on Alan Gross’ private property.
Fayer says that the matter needs to be put to a vote of all HOA members at the annual meeting, and if the majority approve of installing the American flag at the entrance to Aspen Hills, Gross can proceed with the board’s blessing.
But, that HOA meeting will not take place until September. Of course, by that time, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day would have come and gone.
So Gross hatched a plan with this friend, Jason Ward, a homebuilder whose family just so happens to own land directly across the road from the entrance to Aspen Hills.
On that private plot of land, Gross and Ward put up a 20-foot flag pole with the American flag, a Trump for President campaign sign (Ward’s choice), and even a POW flag, at the request of another Aspen Hills resident. Then they took photos, and when they were posted on Facebook, Gross says the response was overwhelmingly favorable from his neighbors.
But Fayer says that Gross is not being a good neighbor, because he has defied the HOA’s decision instead of waiting until the end of summer to take a vote on the American flag display.
The HOA even had the audacity to send a letter to Ward, asking him to rescind his permission for the patriotic display. Of course, the HOA cannot do anything to force a removal of the display from private property owned by individuals outside of its boundaries.
Both Gross and Ward say that this is a matter of free speech, and have no plans to remove the display. Ward says the Trump sign will come down after the election.
Regardless of whether you choose to display the American Flag or how you plan to vote in the upcoming Presidential election, Independence Day is all about the freedoms that Americans have defended for more than 200 years.
What better way to celebrate those freedoms than to respect the First Amendment rights of your neighbors, and their right to display flags and political signs on their personal property?
In the article below, you can read some particularly outrageous statements from Aspen Hills HOA board. Be sure to read the comments at the end of the article, too.
Stars and Stripes, campaign sign create a stir in Spearfish
Tom Griffith Journal staff Jun 26, 2016
In a June 11 letter to Gross from the Aspen Hills Homeowners’ Association Board of Directors, President Fayer and the six other members objected to both the flagpole and the campaign sign.
“As a board, it is our responsibility to uphold the integrity and appearance of the development,” the letter stated. “We feel that the placement of the flagpole and campaign sign does not enhance the development and may be interpreted that these items have been agreed upon by the members of the Aspen Hills Homeowners’ Association. This is not the case.”
The letter noted that, prior to installation, Gross had been asked to bring his request before the association membership at its annual meeting in September. Furthermore, the board said it was disappointed he had disregarded its request and chosen to proceed on his own.
“The board has also received a number of complaints from non-board members; both homeowners and visitors to the development, as to the placement of these items and what they potentially represent for the development,” the letter stated. “As a development, we cannot have individual homeowners/landowners taking matters into their own hands and doing what they want.”
And that’s one of the biggest disadvantages of HOA living: the fact that one or a few of your neighbors think that “we cannot have individual homeowners/landowners taking matters into their own hands and doing what they want.”
Except, of course, if those homeowners/landowners happen to be on the HOA board.