Homeowners Association Forces Family to Remove Disabled Boy's "Therapy Home"

POSTED: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 11:54am

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 1:44am

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY- A custom-made playhouse for a young boy with special needs has become the cause of a big debate in one Lexington, Kentucky neighborhood.

3-year-old Cooper Veloudis has cerebral palsy. Earlier this year his therapist suggested that a playhouse would help him be more active. The house was built in the backyard of the family's home for about $5,000. However, the Andover Forest Homeowners Association says Cooper's house must go, because they say the "structure", is prohibited, and each day it's in their yard Cooper's parents must pay $50.

"This house is all about Cooper, it is not about come over and play," said his mother, Tiffiney Veloudis. "It is about getting in there and having therapy and the therapy is fun. You accomplish so much more."

Veloudis said they didn't think the playhouse would be a problem, considering their neighbors have a swing set and they have a trampoline of their own in their backyard. To prove that point further, Cooper's father, George, took pictures of other "structures" built in the neighborhood, but were built without a threat of a "lien" against their property.

"This is obviously a special circumstance," said Veloudis. "There is nothing written in that code for a child with special needs."

Despite all of the support for Cooper, Ernie Stamper says the board will not back down. Stamper is one of seven people who represent the Andover Forest Subdivision. They contend the playhouse violates association rules, and they are fining the family every day the playhouse remains.

"They aren't allowed. Structures not attached to a house are not allowed," he said.

Stamper also the comparisons to swing sets don't apply, denying that they are "structures".

"It's a swing set," Stamper said.

He wouldn't elaborate, but did say the board wouldn't consider changing the rules to let Cooper keep his house.

"It's not something we have a reason to discuss. There are people who live here who expect us to abide by those covenants. It's why they bought their house," Stamper said.

The $50 a day fine kicked in Monday, and with a threat of a lien against the Veloudis' property, Tiffiney says they have no choice but to take it down.

"We have a small farm down the road. We're going to store it at until we can find a family that has a child that really needs it, and maybe it can help that child like it's helped Cooper."

The family plans to have it removed by Saturday.
 

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our current HOA in Lexington is about $500. We get jack. The devolper gets the money. It is beyond a joke.

We lived in Andover. Some great people. But the HOA sucked. Like most HOA's. Edwin is a joke in my opinion.

We lived in Andover. Glad we moved.

I JUST SAW THE ARTICLE REGARDING YOUR SON'S SITUATION. WHAT YOU HAVE IS A BUNCH OF NOSEY NEIGHBORS WHO HAVE NOTHING MORE TO DO IN LIFE BUT TO CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR OTHERS. YOU ALSO HAVE RIGHTS, SO FIGHT THOSE BASTARDS. IF YOUR HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION IS MADE UP OF OLDER PEOPLE, GOD BLESS YOU. THAT'S THE SITUATION WE HAVE AT OUR CONDO ASSOCIATION (I AM ALMOST 70 YEARS OLD SO I KNOW FROM WHERE I SPEAK BUT THANK GOD I'M NOT A PART OF THAT GROUP. I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH MY TIME. KEEP FIGHTING.

Why dont they move it closer to the house and "attach" it with a 2x4?

HUMMM, the child has Cerebral palsy, I say get the PVA and the Americans with Disabilities involved for an exception to policy.

Great idea!! I hope they saw your suggestion. This is the kind of item that the PVA and that law was made for. Stupid heartless HOA members. Hope they rot in hell after they come down with a disability!!

I could not agree with you more. ADA would be all over this!! Also Ernie Stamper is an Idiot. His comment on how swing sets are not structures is incorrect. THe definition of the word structure: Something made up of a number of parts that are held or put together in a particular way. I believe a swing set pretty much covers the definition of the word structure.

It is beyond me why anyone would want to purchase or build a home in an area where "others" tell them what they can and can not do on their own property. Why would you want to spend your hard earned money on something where others tell you how to enjoy it?

I am so thankful every time I read something like this that my family lives in the country. Where we can enjoy our land and our home the way we want without worrying if the flowers or plants we have offend others!

The family was doubtfully aware this would occur previously to the debate. I'm sure they have plenty of neighbors they are very close to they would not want to move away from. That is a very inconsiderate comment to leave. The family is obviously very upset about this terrible occurrence but this is no circumstance for you to "toot your horn" about living out in the country. Not everyone may be able to afford large amounts of land. This article is not for you to promote your life whatsoever.

OK, so you work for the homeowners association, right?
The child's playhouse is a much better looking structure that the others in the video. I do not live in the country, nor would I ever consider living in an area covered by a home owners association.

I would have found a way to attach it to the back of the house in a semi-permanent manner. That is ridiculous. Renters have more say in what they do in their back yards than most homeowners. What a shame this little boy has to lose something that is so beneficial to him :(

THIS is WHY those of us who moved out here in the "toolies" of "dirt poor Hudspeth County" MOVED here. NO Homeowners Gestapo's, shoot, we live in the least populated County in the State of Texas. The entire County might be a Colonia as far as the State's criteria are concerned, but we DON'T CARE. We can look out our windows, and not be looking at someone else's house.

I too have a son with special needs and I can't believe they are doing this to your family especially to your son. This is so not right,I was wondering if you could put a covered walkway attached to your house to his therapy house and then it would be attached !! As a parent with a "special needs" son I feel for you and am very sorry you have to go through all this when all you want to do is take care of your child ! PLEASE JOIN OUR SUPPORT GROUP "S.C.A.N" ON FACEBOOK. THANK YOU, BEV TUBBS

It is horrible!!! I agree with Blondie. I hope those people have trouble sleeping BUT with this mind set they dont have a heart, compassion or conscious

Can they attach a swingset to it so it is like the hut of the swing set? OR attach it to their house?

Please look into disability laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act. There has to be something.

Are you kidding me? The association should be hiding their head in SHAME! Every situation is open to compromise - their unwillingness to back down just shows they have no heart! This structure is vital in helping this kiddo learn either socially, gross motor, etc. - it's not just a play thing.

I agree with Susan, that if the place is attached somehow, dealing with the city permits may be easier than with the HOA.

the parents knew about this ahead of time and went ahead and broke the law, yes it's the law there, and now are whining about having to remove it or pay a fine.

should had worked with the hoa and not just try to force your will against what you knew was wrong

This house is absolutely adorable, and that boy looks so happy to be using it. I can't believe the people involved in this decision didn't have the common sense and decency to let this structure stay, for the benefit of the child. People with disabilities need SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS! They aren't going to fit your cookie cutter HOA guidelines! I don't normally get so upset about things, but this is outrageous. Common sense, please!

I think this is a shame. The house is beautifully done and there should be no reason they are not allowed to keep their play house.

change.org online petition to hopefully convince the HOA to reverse the decision. Thanks for signing. Please pass this around to anyone you think would sign. Thanks! :-)

If they put it on wheels it no longer falls under stuctures...

No way I'd take it down. I'd definitely make it expensive for this homeowner's association and tie this up in court as long as I could. I know if I was on the jury and this was filed under the fair housing act I'd probably have to side with the homeowners. Your landlord may not: Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing. If it applies to landlords I'd say it also applies to HOA!

To me it seems as if this is a case of discrimination. I have an Autistic child and I would fight a similar action as far as I had to. I don't know where the money would come from... but, disabled children also have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Sounds like the parents have an ADA lawsuit,even a Supreme Court case, they will own the HOA (and their little boy will own his playhouse) when their attorneys get done with them

Ah,the board members that are Christian and "family value" humans that love their perceived property value more than their neighbors.

well if people are going to be so pathetic as to take this boys playhouse thats dumb if rule says structures not attached to the house arent allowed well then all the parents have to do is mnove the play house closer to their house and attach it somehow problem solved

I call complete BS on that Association saying that the other structures are different. Those stupid swingsets with the the covered tubes are extremely unsightly structures. This little playhouse is absolutely cute and in no way detracts from the surroundings. I'd consult a lawyer and sue the association on the determination used to outlaw the playhouse compared to all the other structures that have been documented. If they want to deny children, then deny all. See how the community reacts then!

Who could possibly be bothered by this playhouse?? ...much less that it is prescribed therapy for a child!!

Those board members of the Home Owner's Association need to get a life!!! That play house is probably better build then their home.

Build a covered walkway from the house to the therapy house. Voila! Attached. That’s all it takes for structures to be considered *attached* for home warranties, taxes, etc...

And the HOA can await karma.

I have a disabled son and having a house like that would be excellent therapy.I'm outraged! I have sent an email to Mr. Stamper and his board. I hope you can keep the house. God bless!

Isn't there a good lawyer in Kentucky who can do the right thing and help this family out? I am not a lawyer, but if I would be I would help out for free.
The neighbors are having all kinds of "structures" in their gardens. Check the video!
This is totally ridiculous! Be proud of yourself HOA. You managed to take away a toy of a disabled boy that didn't bother anyone... Great accomplishment!

What a sad state of affairs. I recommend to Mr. Stamper, and the other members of the Andover Forrest Home Owners Association- not to leave cover when it rains, as they will most certainly drown by the way they have so callously positioned their collective noses. I hope that they are proud of themselves for singling out a special, special- needs boy to torment this Christmas time. Perhaps the child has a lolly-pop that they could steal as well. I weep for their lack of humanity and decency.

I would hope the people of the community come together and make the adjustments that would fit into the ordiances and keep the structure there for this child. I understand completely I have a handicapped child that takes the extra distance to help them. Shame on the people who can not see or understand this. My Prayers and Blessings to this family.

The Home Owners Association is violating the American with Disabilities Act since this is a therapy home for the family's disabled son. The family should hire an attorney and sue. I wish them the best of luck!

The family has a Facebook. Show your support here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coopers-House/205275262881084

GET A LAWYER!!! It was something their therapist told them to get for their handicap child and it's against the law in this country to discriminate against handicap people (I have a handicap child and went through something similar, trust me) SUE THEM!!!!

I think Susan Stephens has a GREAT idea. Attach it to the main house, then give the HOA the bird!!

If it's not on a foundation, then it's not fixed to the ground and could be considered a structure? I would see if it falls under being a shed? Check and see if other home owners have sheds on their property? This is unbelievable! I would make it VERY well known through the media and petitions what these power stricken
idiots are doing!

I hope someone from the ACLU or other Groups..help these people fight these ridiculous homeowners association haters!!..what happened to common decency and compassion..that play house does not detract from the other properties or home values in anyway!!..

This HOA is shameful. What a sad state of affairs when a child with special circumstances is less important than a bureaucratic organization that is only worried about what's on paper.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't move te house to the farm. As Susan suggests attach it to your existing home.

Mr Stamper and the board should be ashamed!!! Homeowners associations should be outlawed. They are always in the news for abusing their power.

Following is the e-mail I just sent to two officers of the Andover Forest HOA

SHAME SHAME SHAMEFriday, December 2, 2011 7:19 PM
To: manager@emgms.com
Cc: erniestamper@alltel.net

You guys and your HOA are a disgrace to society and to humanity. May Santa bring you many presents this Christmas---full of greasy, sooty, grimey BLACK COAL.

And when you're days are done--may you rot in HELL.

Isn't this some sort of discrimination? Doesn't this child have a life altering disability?

The definition of a structure is something that can bear a load...by that definition all those swing sets, gazebos and chairs are structures. Are they going to get rid of all those too?

I suggest that everyone that reads this article write to the Andover Forest HOA and complain. Let'flood them with e-mails

http://www.lexingtonky.gov/NeighborhoodAssociations/index.asp

Edwin Gibson - EMG Management Services
141 Prosperous Pl, # 21B
Lexington, KY 40509
Home Phone:
Work Phone: 263-7681
Email Address: manager@emgms.com

Ernie Stamper
3220 Penbroke Place
Lexington, KY 40509
Home Phone: 264-0465
Work Phone: 264-0465
Email Address: erniestamper@alltel.net

I would love to see some attorney take this case and litigate that this has damaged the child’s welfare and settle only when everyone with a part in this obnoxious decision has lost their homes. No human being that is so totally depraved and self-centered as this homeowners association deserves to live in a private home.

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