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July 28th, 2011
Home Owner's Association Entirely Un-American

A son goes off to war in Afghanistan, his parents put a sign on the lawn that says they love and miss him, and the homeowners association tells them to take it down.

If the back end of that sounds obtuse to you, you're not alone.

The family and at least some of their neighbors have been incensed since February, when the homeowners association started sending letters about the sign violating subdivision covenants.

Readers everywhere started clenching their teeth in May, after the Marine Corps Times picked up the story.
At the time, the battle itself had not left the neighborhood, the Gardens of Southgate, just south of Barksdale Air Force Base. Then the homeowners association took careful aim and dropped a bomb: It sued the soldier's parents.

Today, online chat rooms from Bossier City to Afghanistan are groaning with the kinds of comments you'd expect. The Gardens of Southgate Association Inc. v. Have A Heart, Please is not filed as such, but the title does the job.

The lawsuit was filed this month against Timothy and Jodi Burr, a Bossier City couple who have lived in the subdivision since 2006. Their son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Corey Burr, was deployed to Afghanistan in January.

The offending sign, a colorful banner, says in big letters: "Our son defends our freedom."
You see why they got sued, right?

Jodi Burr told The Times: "I hate that it's coming to this. I had hoped with the former ugliness that we were done, but unfortunately, we're not, and we're going to continue to push on."

The ugliness included unanswered requests by the Burrs to meet with the association to talk, and the appearance at their home of someone from the association who wanted to restate its demand about the sign.
Even their request for a reprieve until their son comes home after his 14-month deployment went unanswered.
Out of options, the Burrs filed a response to the suit. It states their First Amendment right to free speech and tells the court that the homeowners association had long ago abandoned its restrictions by not enforcing them.
The covenants allow only real estate and builder signs. The Burrs response notes that the Gardens of Southgate is festooned with others.
"Go, Team" is fine, apparently. "We love and miss you, Corey" is not.

The attorney for the association will not comment, other than to say he and his clients have no problem with the sign's message.




Google Earth Shows Something Different - 2011-08-03
Use Google Maps - the streets are named after GENERALS! Okay - so besides that, there are business signs (in-home businesses) too. There are other families with signs. More harm than good will come from this, and certainly a LAWSUIT has sullied the HOA name permanently for them. I cannot imagine that someone complained from the neighborhood. Who on earth thought it would make the neighborhood better by removing the sign? Dishonorable and Disrespectful! Should someone remove flowers if planted in honor of a loved one if they are too close to the sidewalk?
by Major Tom

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