Monday, May 9, 2011

Gardens of Southgate Battle with the Burrs goes national

The featured story on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace website today is the story of the Burr family and their battle with the Gardens of Southgate HOA over the sign supporting their Marine son.

The Breitbart article links to the Marine Corps Times, a Gannett publication which ran the story from The Times.
The HOA has already created a tremendous amount of ill will by their actions so far. They might want to consider just throwing in the towel on this one.

Thanks to Andy for bringing this to our attention


  1. I knew it would go national. The family should spend more time getting the neighborhood together to change the rules rather than create all these false villains out of folks just helping to continue enforcing the rules. Second - has the HOA done ANYTHING to them except send a stinking letter?? The Burrs have allowed people to become demonized and I think that's just not fair.

  2. As I said last week, the HOA is in violation of Louisiana Revised Statute which prohiibits the HOA from impairing rights guaranteed or protected by state or federal constitution. The HOA rules are illegal.

  3. I respectfully disagree Matt - same statute you quoted:

    A. The provisions of this Part shall be applicable to existing and future residential planned communities whose declarations have been duly executed and filed for registry. However, this Part shall not be construed to affect the validity or superiority of any provision of a community document. Only to the extent the community documents are silent shall the provisions of this Part apply.

    "only to the extend the community documents are silent"

    nor does our country have any amendments about things put in our yard... This is local governance. These folks agree to be a part of an HOA.

    I don't even live there and am a SUPER conservative - but I also follow rules that are present and work to change the ones I don't like.

    In fact - I keep saying they need to change the rules because I'm currently trying to get our own neighborhood HOA rules changed to reflect the current times and people that live there.

    I suggest they do the same. They have the publicity - may as well use it to fix the situation.

  4. Clint,

    Is it your interpretation that the law basically has no teeth, as an HOA is able to insert something prohibiting signs, and the portion about "impair the rights" no longer holds any weight?

    So basically, if the HOA documents don't expressly prohibit signage, then it cannot restrict signage, but if it does expressly prohibit signage, then it is free to "impair the rights"?

  5. Matt, I will be the very first to admit ignorance about legal junk.

    But, I have lived under the rules of an HOA before, several years ago. Covenants are not a bad thing. I certainly understand that people invest mucho dinero in their homes, and want to make sure that their investment doesn't go south because just "anything" can crop up across the street, or next door. We've all experienced the piece of crap place next door that could possibly ruin our investment, or our day to day living. (Well, maybe not ALL of us, but I know that I have).

    When I lived under the covenants of an HOA, all of that was spelled out to me. I voluntarily signed the papers on the house. No one put a gun to my head.

    I have also been a member before of what was termed a "voluntary cooperative fellowship." That meant that I submitted to the rules because I wanted to be a part of that group. When I could no longer stomach the rules, I respectfully withdrew from the fellowship.

    As I said, I'm no scholar on the Constitution, or legal precedent, or whatever. But, I know that good sense needs to take over here.

    All that being said...the HOA has let this go too far. It should have been dealt with quickly, and privately. I mean, Bossier City is NOT the kind of place you expect for an HOA to get bad national publicity when it comes to patriotism (even if that's not the real issue).

    As I understand it, the HOA has a board that has the power under the covenants to make exceptions. I would hope that they would get together and "okay" the banner. Of course, it's likely that on down the road some home owner will use it against them to ask for an exception for something un-patriotic (that would likely be offensive to the majority of residents). And as I understand it, they've let things slide in the past.

    The whole deal is a mess. And, trying to walk in two pairs of moccasins at the same time gets even messier. I can't tell those folks what to do...I only know what I would do (or at least what I think I would do if I were entrusted with the grave responsibility of being on the board of an HOA...).

    What gets lost in this is that there is a young Marine in the field that may never see Mom & Dad again. I would hope that he does not need a sign in his parents front yard to know how proud they are of him, and the nation that he serves. I'm pretty sure he knows without a sign in the yard.

  6. Andy,

    I'm no legal scholar either. I don't think HOAs are completely bad, only the ones which pull crap like this. I understand wanting to keep property standards up and home values high. I have no problem.

    What I do have a problem with is HOAs which reach beyond property values and become nanny-state-ish and try to protect people from getting offended. Once you start trying not to offend anybody, you end up offending every body.

  7. An HOA cannot in force a contract that forbids First Amendment rights. Does not matter who signed what. I have been trough this before.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this particular HOA allow some signs? Then they chose to take issue with the sign in the Burrs' yard?

    If that is correct, then the Burrs definitely have a legitimate gripe aside from the "patriotic" issue that most people seem to have grabbed hold.

    Rex Moncrief

  9. Channel 3 had some pictures up of signs in the neighborhood.

  10. This type of issue has been occuring all over the nation. The HOA always loses, not legally neccessarily, but in the bad faith that accompany's the mere perception of disrespect for our military. Attention HOA, reverse yourself, allow the sign for the full 14 month deployment, have a party for this vet (and all other vets associated in the HOA), put this young man AHEAD of any rule or by-law, regardless. Of course they wont do this, because it's clear they are stupid.

  11. While our nation is fighting like hell to raise the debt ceiling, this proud american family has to fight to keep a sign honoring an american hero in their yard.

    You people make me sick. If it is found that the sign should be removed, something is wrong with our country.

  12. Just take the sign off of the lawn, for cryin out loud..........And put a bigger one on the ROOF!

    US Army Vietnam

  13. Maybe the folks at the HOA need to get a reality check of why they have any rights at all... USAF Vet.


Rules of the road:
1. No personal attacks or insults.
2. No accustory statements about wrongdoing or criminal acts against anyone.
3. Say all you want about the pros and cons concerning the candidates and the issues, or the general subject of the blog post, just follow Rule #1 and Rule #2.