Community Protests Picket Gate for Child with Autism

Photo by Flickr/tibchris

Christa Colquhoun is the mother of a 5-year-old autistic boy named Luke, and they reside in Stone Oak, TexasLuke has issues with wandering off and running away, like many children with autism do, when his mother takes her eyes off of him.  Luke would often run out of the front door of the house and into the street, where on multiple occasions he came dangerously close to getting hit by a car.  His mother decided that putting a picket gate in the front yard would be the best decision to prevent Luke from harming himself.

Although Colquhoun notified the homeowners association she’s a part of of her decision to put up a gate, the association and her neighbors have begun protesting.

The homeowners association’s policy is that if you file a request to build something like a gate, and no one responds within 30 days, the requester is granted permission to build.  Colquhoun waited 60 days, and since she had heard nothing from the homeowners association, she went forward with the construction.

Soon after the gate was constructed, Colquhoun’s neighbors started making fun of Luke and the gateOne neighbor filed a complaint with the homeowners association saying that the gate did not fit in with the general landscape of the community.

The homeowners association is now asking that Colquhoun take down the gate, as well as pay a fine.  The association has threatened to foreclose on her home if Colquhoun does not comply.

The attorney, Tom Placier, who is representing the homeowners association in the case, said: “We did not know about the boy’s autism.  We are willing to resolve this issue as long as the gate is in conformity with the neighborhood.”

It will be up to the homeowners association to decide whether or not the gate is appropriate and is suited for the community setting.

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