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Homeowners' attempt to reason with 'archaic' HOA causes tensions to rise: 'You don't have any right to come on our property'

"It seems that we've had this increasing … control factor here."

“It seems that we’ve had this increasing … control factor here."

Photo Credit: iStock

For senior homeowners Hilari Hinnant and Marcus Miller, living in a homeowners association has been a major obstacle to their property rights, the Lancaster Watchdog reports.

Hinnant and Miller live in two HOAs: the Crossgates Master and Crossgates South associations of Millersville, Pennsylvania. Hinnant is an enthusiastic gardener with a particular love of pollinator gardens, meant to attract beneficial insects like butterflies and bees that carry pollen from flower to flower. She has two small pollinator gardens on the property, the Lancaster Watchdog reports, each full of black-eyed Susans, wild violets, yarrow, lamb's ear, sedum, and garlic.

She'd like to cover her whole yard in the environmentally friendly and beautiful blossoms, but that isn't allowed.

"It seems that we've had this increasing … control factor here led by people who don't share an eco-friendly aesthetic," Hinnant told the Lancaster Watchdog.

She was referring to the HOA board members, the few neighborhood residents who make decisions for the Crossgates community HOAs. Although the HOA's rules don't usually allow gardens of the size Hinnant would like, the board could make an exception and doesn't.

According to Ryan Neumyer, CEO of Esquire Association Management, the issue is Crossgates' lawn care arrangement with its landscaping provider. "By purchasing a unit in the association, the unit owner agrees not only to be bound by the rules and regulations of the association but also to receive the services that the association is required to provide under the governing documents," he told the Lancaster Watchdog. That includes the services of laying sod, mowing, and spraying weeds.

Hinnant and Miller have also applied to their HOA to install solar panels and were denied, the Lancaster Watchdog reports. Some states, like Connecticut and California, have laws protecting citizens' access to solar panels, but Pennsylvania does not.

Hinnant and Miller are adamant that this should be their own choice as a matter of property rights, the Lancaster Watchdog says. "If we don't want you to trespass on our property, then you don't have any right to come on our property," Miller told the Lancaster Watchdog of the landscapers handling his home's lawn care against his wishes.

Unfortunately, given the power of HOAs to set rules in their communities, most HOA residents will have more luck changing the bylaws than trying to argue that HOAs shouldn't be able to enforce them.

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