Running, jumping, biking… if you were a kid growing up in the gated complex of Sequim Common in Fremont, CA., you weren’t allowed to do any of those outside, thanks to what sounds like the Homeowners Association from Hell. As reported by KPIX, the Silvertree Mohave HOA refused to let kids play outside for years. But things are different now.
Sequim Common resident Domenica Lewis said the HOA sent notices prohibiting kids under 14 from doing pretty much anything outside. Bike riding, skateboarding, outdoor games and sports— were all against the rules. The notices said they wanted to keep everyone safe, and threatened folks with fines. And things got even worse.
Lewis says she received many fake threats and warnings from the Silvertree Mohave board members. “Harassment, filming, video recording my kids, taking pictures of my kids,” she said.
You’d think that the kids were drug dealers.
Parents— and the courts—disagreed.
Eventually, residents got fed up and took the HOA to court, demanding they let kids play. The HOA played nice at first, suspending the “no sports play” rule. But then the board enacted an emergency ban(!) on bikes and scooters. But after what sounds like a dogged fight with the most Scrooge-like HOA this side of Whoville, justice has been served. The court ruled:
…defendants will permanently rescind all no-sports-play rules and will not enact any rule that
prohibits children from playing in common areas in the future, that defendants will post signs in
common areas making the new child-friendly policy known to residents…
The HOA poobahs were forced to resign. And all the members of the suit (about 300 people) will divide the fine of $800,000 between them. It’s like something out of a Jimmy Stewart movie.
At Let Grow, we believe all kids deserve the freedom to play. Learn more about our programs to encourage strong, resilient, independent kids here.