Offensive HOA rules against American flag, religious statue, and bluebonnet flowers

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Updated: April 5, 2018

The real estate industry sells housing consumers on the concept of homeowners’ associations, claiming the rules they enforce protect property values.

There’s no solid evidence to prove that a home in an association-governed community is worth more to a home buyer than a comparable home without all the extra covenants, restrictions, rules, and regulations (CC&Rs) of the typical, modern HOA.

On the other hand, many homeowners value free expression of their personal tastes, beliefs, and values — especially in their own homes and front yards.

And they don’t appreciate being micromanaged by their HOAs.

Three typical examples follow.

Religious expression

Although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom, the Hidden Valley HOA (Rio Rancho, NM), insists Bill Maldonado’s small statue of a Catholic saint must go.

Is the statue harming anyone? Creating an obstacle or a nuisance?


And for nine years, no one from the HOA cared about Our Lady of Guadalupe.

But perhaps there’s an HOA restriction or rule against statues of any kind. Why? Do folks who write CC&Rs harbor the irrational fear that someone might display a statue that is unattractive or offensive? Or are the restrictions simply a backhanded way to alienate people of certain religious faith?

Let the reader decide.


Homeowner fights HOA over religious statue removal request

Is a homeowners association limiting religious expression in the front yard of a Rio Rancho man’s home?

By: Chris McKee
Updated: Apr 03, 2018 12:38 PM MDT

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Is a homeowners association limiting religious expression in the front yard of a Rio Rancho man’s home?

One neighbor is asking that question after he was recently told by a homeowners association to remove a statue of a Catholic saint from his yard, years after he says he was given permission to put it up.

The man who owns the home, Bill Maldonado, says his small, roughly two foot tall Our Lady of Guadalupe statue has been in his front yard for nearly a decade.

But just last week, right before Easter, Maldonado says his Hidden Valley Homeowners Association told him he had two weeks to remove the statue.

Read more (Video):


An assualt on patriotism?

You would think that, in the U.S., your HOA would welcome your display of the American flag. But, don’t count on it.

In fact, HOA disputes over the American flag prompted the creation of a 2005 federal law that prohibits an association-governed community from forbidding display of the American flag.

BUT…as usual, HOA industry lobbyists from trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI) managed to water down the original language of the bill. The law still allows HOAs to regulate, the “time, place or manner” of displaying the American flag.

So, we regularly hear reports like the following one from Franklin, OH. Veteran Wayne Marchant says the Renaissance HOA has a problem with the pole that displays his American flag. It must be “modified,” though we aren’t told why or how.

As is typical, just about every neighbor interviewed by the local TV station has absolutely no objection to Marchant’s flag or the flag pole.

And, apparently the HOA didn’t care either, for eight years. What suddenly changed?

Your guess is as good as mine.


Franklin veteran fighting HOA to keep flag outside his home

Published: Monday, April 2nd 2018, 10:41 pm EDT
Updated: Monday, April 2nd 2018, 11:03 pm EDT
Posted by Amber Jayanth, Reporter

A Franklin veteran feels his patriotism is under attack after his homeowner’s association asked him to take down the flag in front of his home.

Wayne Marchant feels a sense of pride every time he walks past the American flag.

“I feel good about it,” said Marchant.

On Friday, though, he says he was disgusted when he got a letter in the mail from the Manager of the Renaissance Homeowner’s Association stating that the flagpole is a violation of the community rules.

“They have HOA members that periodically drive through the neighborhood looking for anything that might be a violation of the HOA rules. They noticed that in their words ‘the flagpole had been erected in our front yard,'” said Marchant.

The letter says the flagpole needs to be removed or modified. He’s not sure what the modification would be, but he says this flag has been outside of his home for the past eight years. It was a gift from his wife.

UPDATE: Following local news reports and national media attention, Renaissance HOA has decided to allow Marchant and others to keep their flag poles in the community.

See WLWT news update:

Veteran’s American flag allowed to stay in yard after flagpole fiasco

Even the state flower is unwelcome in this HOA

And, of course, now that spring has arrived in some parts of the country, the HOA police are out and about inspecting landscapes.

Unfortunately, some HOA inspectors don’t appreciate flowers that aren’t annuals, just as they don’t appreciate grass that’s not short, green, and perfectly weed-free.

Homeowner Jimmy Schmidt is having one heck of a time getting his HOA to appreciate his front yard display of native bluebonnets, the official state flower of Texas.

As a perennial wildflower, bluebonnets grow from the previous season’s seed pods. For a few weeks, after the flowers stop blooming and start dropping sees, bluebonnets look a bit scruffy. But they are certainly not common weeds to many Texans.

Every spring they reward the patient gardener with a prfusion of beautiful blue blooms. The native plants also attract beneficial bees and butterflies.

Nevertheless, Garlic Creek HOA has imposed fines on the homeowner — to the tune of $200 — over the past two years.


Homeowner trying to grow bluebonnets is frustrated by HOA fines

By: Alyssa Goard
Updated: Apr 02, 2018 11:47 PM CDT

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) – In the thick of bluebonnet season, a man in Buda trying to grow the Texas state flower in his yard says his homeowner’s association has gone too far with fining him for yard violations.

Jimmy Schmidt, who has lived in the Garlic Creek neighborhood since 2007, is a native Texan who has grown bluebonnets and other native Texas plants on his yard since that time.

“I love wildflowers, I was raised in the country out at Creedmoor and my grandmother when I was a kid, she had a whole field of bluebonnets,” Schmidt explained.

But in the last two years, his homeowner’s association has begun fining him for how he’s kept his yard, Schmidt says.

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