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Henderson families fighting proposed HOA rule changes

Posted at 1:08 AM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 19:25:03-04

Henderson neighbors say they are fighting back against a pair of proposed rules being considered by their homeowners association targeting certain dogs and kids playing in the street.

The HOA president says they are looking at the rules after getting several complaints from residents on both issues.

The issues came to the attention of opponents when the Willows Homeowners Association sent out the April newsletter.

That newsletter begins by talking about research on privacy walls that can be added to the top of existing block walls in the gated neighborhood near Galleria Drive and Gibson Road.

Later the newsletter says, “The wall extensions are also part of a proposed rule to require dog owners of breeds known to be dangerous or vicious to ensure the animals can’t get out of the yard.”

A group of neighbors said they don’t like the idea because most of the walls are shared between homeowners.

"I don't want my neighbor putting up a big fence onto my portion. So do I have a say or not?" Dave Arend said. "If something happens to that fence, who is liable."

The HOA president said the concerned neighbors are jumping ahead, adding they are just doing research because some neighbors reported they were afraid after a woman’s two dogs were attacked by a loose dog earlier this year.

"Because we've had inquiries. We've had people because of the attack on Angel's little dog, you know the fact that her little dog was killed.  It sent our community into a frenzy," Julie Revas said. "They are afraid to go out. They are afraid to go for walks."

The HOA is still working to see what permits would be needed and is researching various options.

The other item on the HOA board’s agenda that has some neighbors concerned is a proposed rule to restrict playing in the street.

The newsletter said the rule is being considered in regards to recent close calls between cars and children running or biking in the streets.

It is something that can be done because the HOA streets are privately maintained.

Those against the proposed rule say the main issue is cars going above the 15 mile-an-hour speed limit.

"If the problem is people speeding, why would the fix to it be to not let your kids play in the street?” Arend said.

Those backing a change say they have had problems getting past the kids playing in the streets, pointing also to the parks that are inside the gated community.

"We have parks. Kids are not supposed to play in the street,” Manny Santillanes said.

Those against the rule say talking to their neighbors as their kids play and ride their bikes in front of the house helps build a sense of community.

"We have kids, they should be able to play. We should be able to live peacefully without having all these stupid rules,” Denise Hanrahan said.

A recent confrontation between parents and a driver highlights the conflict between the two sides.

"The guy came around the corner and he was going really fast, so I did the motion of slow down, and he flicked his hazard lights on and proceeded to tell me I couldn't stand in the street and impede traffic,” Katie Keough said.

Santillanes says he was the driver and he wasn’t speeding.

He also says things happened differently.

"There are kids playing, so you slow down. They act like there is no traffic, so I give them a courtesy honk. I got this mom coming out screaming at me and telling me to slow down,” Santillanes said. "Why should you be allowed to be in front of my vehicle and impede me from where I need to go?"

Revas says the rule is being considered to prevent a tragedy.

The HOA president added they’ve tried adding speed bumps, but were told by the city they couldn’t because it would make things more difficult for emergency vehicles.

While they try to address people accused of speeding, she says it is a difficult task.

Revas also said some drivers who had close calls said they were going well below the speed limit and accused the parents of not paying attention.

"We cannot police everyone that is driving 24/7. Therefore it is up to them to show that proper love and protect their child,” Revas said. "Don't let your child go out there.”

Revas said the concerned neighbors should attend the board meetings to have their concerns addressed.