The backyard playhouse of a 4-year-old girl in Georgia has drawn a lawsuit for being too pink.
A woman in Augusta, Ga., is being sued by the homeowners association of her Mill Haven neighborhood over the color of a pink playhouse that she built in the backyard for her granddaughter this past Christmas. Becky Rogers-Peck believes the lawsuit, which is the culmination of months of arguments over the structure, is the height of frivolity. The homeowners association has stated that it has no problem with the playhouse itself, but wants the color of it changed after complaints by neighbors. The association claims that Rogers-Peck had to have the color approved by the association’s board before she could paint it pink.
“The general reaction is, ‘Are you kidding me?’’’ Rogers-Peck told TODAY.com. “They’re suing you over a pink playhouse?’ They're policing us like we're in a communist country, and it's just ridiculous. Every once in a while, you’ve got to stand your ground.’’
"Part of the approval is the color," Susan Bradley, HOA president, told NBC’s Augusta affiliate, WMBF. "We didn't disapprove of the play house. We disapproved of the color of it."
Rogers-Peck’s contention is that the playhouse does not fall under the definition of a backyard structure like a shed or a garage that would be subject to the association’s rules, so she can paint it any color she wants. Pink is the favorite color of her granddaughter, Aubree, and the playhouse cannot be seen from the street in front of the house.
“I totally agree with the rules if it’s a shed or a garage, but I consider this play equipment like a trampoline or a swingset,’’ Rogers-Peck said. “Originally, I was just going to buy a Little Tikes Playhouse, and what would have been the difference? I would venture to say 90 percent of people I've had contact with, through messages, emails, or comments on websites, think this is absurd as you can get.”
The dispute has been ongoing since April, according to Rogers-Peck. At a meeting of the board of directors for the homeowners association, the issue of the pink-colored playhouse was brought up as new business. Even though the structure was already built and painted, the board said they would not approve it because of the color.
“I said, ‘It’s a little 4-year-old girl’s playhouse, what other color would I make it?’’’ Rogers-Peck said.
Rogers-Peck was a member of the board at the time, but has since been removed.
“I had said, ‘I quit,’ and they kicked me off the board anyway,’’ she said.
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Rogers-Peck attended a meeting of the HOA on Tuesday night to plead her case. The board is currently in the process of electing members, but ballots have not been sent out yet, according to Rogers-Peck. Bradley told WJBF TV that the ballots will be mailed out in the next few days.
“If you don’t like the way we’re doing business, elect a new board,’’ Bradley said at the meeting.
Rogers-Peck has 30 days from the day she was served to answer the lawsuit, which could potentially be dropped if a new board is elected and has a change of heart. There are six members voted on to the board and one standing member who previously owned the land on which the development was built. However, if a new board is not elected in that time frame, a judge in the Columbia County Superior Court could order her to paint the playhouse a different color.
“I can’t afford an attorney, and I was told by an attorney not to go (to court) by yourself,’’ Rogers-Peck said. “I’m just asking for somebody to help me put a stop to this nonsense.’’
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The development contains 30 houses, and Rogers-Peck said that 10 neighbors have given her the right to vote in their place in the board elections. Rogers-Peck also claims that there are numerous violations of association rules that can be found at other homes, like leaving trash cans or air-conditioning units uncovered. She believes that it has come down to the complaints of her next-door neighbor and one other neighbor and that Bradley is caught in the middle.
“I honestly don't know if [Bradley] has a problem with it,’’ Rogers-Peck said. “She is doing this because the other directors had told her to as the president. I don't think she would have gone as far as a lawsuit.’’
"I personally would have never done anything, if I hadn’t gotten formal complaints,’’ Bradley said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Little Aubree is aware of all the furor surrounding her backyard playhouse.
“She knows exactly what's going on, and she is very upset about it,’’ Rogers-Peck said. “She is scared they might make us tear it down.’’
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