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Homeowners Association Forces Mother to Take Down Her 9-Year-Old’s Fort

By Monica Bielanko |

Nicholas Aarsvold, 9, poses with his mom in front of his controversial fort.

Annoying neighbors or a spoiled kid?

Either way, 9-year-old Nicholas Aarsvold is being forced to tear down a fort he worked so hard to build.

The boy built the hide-out between two shrubs on a strip of grass that separates his driveway from his neighbor’s.

But, as the Statesman reports, not everyone thinks the fort is as cool as Nicholas does and some people in the Austin, Texas, neighborhood want it taken down.

It’s not the first time kids have been forced to destroy their fort; three years ago some kids were forced by the city of University Park, Texas, to tear down their treehouse because it was in a front yard and considered an “accessory building.”

Yeesh, take it easy, Texas.

The fort apparently violates architectural rules created by the Summerwood Homeowners Association, so the board of directors voted to send Nicholas’s mother, Ramona, a letter forcing her to dismantle the fort within ten days.

She refused. “That would be the wrong thing to do,” Aarsvold told the Statesman. “I don’t want to punish Nicholas’ creativity or squelch his spirit.”

According to the Statesman, the fort is on a common area and the Aarsvolds didn’t request an architectural change. The fort could also damage the bushes and if it remains, the association has the authority to remove it and charge the Aarsvolds for the work.

Aarsvold calls her neighborhood mean-spirited and bored. “People walk their little dogs and look around to see what they can complain about.” Although she initially said she would take down the barely visible fort, she says she has changed her mind because her son felt so strongly about it.

Here are just a couple of the comments appearing after the article in the Statesman:

 

dandy.

let’s see if we can break the boy’s inventive spirit and naturally childish ways and subject him to interminable and unyielding adult rules. shouldn’t take long and maybe he’ll bump into some similarly bored child and they can get into just a few light recreational drugs. and then later on in his young life … well, hell, the sky’s the limit!

thanks, elders, for teaching this young man and his mother a lesson or two.

 

Yea right. I would love to come home to my 2-300k home and get to view a big pile of debris near the parkway. Rules are rules. 9 year old or not. HOA associations are in place for crap exactly like this. Basketball nets, leaving garbage cans all over the place, BBQ’s in front yards, mobile homes in driveways, the list is endless. Let’s weep for this drip of a mother and her poor poor kid…Let me swallow my vomit first.

 

Shame on the neighbors that made issue of this, to be this petty about a child’s fort – really? Pathetic. Good for this mom for taking a stand.

 

Another case of a parent teaching their child that they don’t need to follow the rules. Lady DO YOUR KID A FAVOR and teach him that laws and rules need to be followed. Our prisons are full of thugs whose parents taught them that it is ok to make their own rules. My heart goes out to the little boy…he’s got a really sad role model.

What do you think? Are rules made to be followed or is this just a case of neighbors being ridiculously petty? How do you feel about Ramona Aarsvold’s handling of the situation?

Photo Credit: statesman.com

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About Monica Bielanko

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Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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12 thoughts on “Homeowners Association Forces Mother to Take Down Her 9-Year-Old’s Fort

  1. Rosana says:

    HOAs are worthless in many cases and this is one of them

  2. Clayton O. says:

    The Homeowners Association was just jealous because they coudn’t build a fort as good as his

  3. HOA Enforcers says:

    Unfortunately, most HOA Associations are comprised of a bunch of unimportant people, sitting around a table, pretending to be important, and spending your money to do it.

    The first lesson. The HOA are a bunch of blow hards with nothing better to do than be annoyed with other people’s kids.

    The second lesson. Rules are rules, that is true. And there are consequences to breaking them. But, the more important lesson is whether you are willing to pay the price for breaking them. And why you are paying the price for breaking them. I think the mother has covered both.

    The third lesson. Kids eventually learn that people are just plain mean. The goal is to tilt the spotlight away from the HOA ruffling their feathers over nothing. Go on an adventure. Find a new, better and maybe even a secret place for your fort. Rebuild and be happy in your quest. Consider it a challenge like a game. The HOA are the nasty zombies, and you are the survivor looking for shelter, etc.

    The HOA really doesn’t deserve the exposure of an article like this. They are within the rules, sure. But, their actions are far from right.

  4. Diera says:

    I hate HOAs, because while they may serve valid purposes, they seem to attract the kind of people who get deep personal satisfaction out of punishing other people for not following every single jot and tittle of every single rule. That said… “I don’t want to punish Nicholas’ creativity or squelch his spirit?” That’s a big warning sign of someone who doesn’t understand that even the creative and spirited need to respect other people’s needs. So I’m voting annoying neighbors AND a spoiled kid.

  5. Rose says:

    I say both. While HOAs are usually pointless and full of people who like to enforce asinine rules, they are still rules. As a 9 year old, that kid should learn that while his fort was cool, there are still rules to abide by. The world is not composed of only his needs and desires. Are adults allowed to not follow rules lest they “squelsh the creative spirit”?

  6. Joseph Finn says:

    The fort is in a common area is the central point; if it had been on their property, this would be an issue. But it’s not and the HOA is quite right to ask for it to be taken down.

  7. Gimme-a-break says:

    So here’s the thing ” this mom would not be teaching her kid to not follow LAWS by fighting for his right to have a fort.” Yes rules are put in place to protect us, keep others in check and generally keep the peace and beauty of the world intact. However this kid having a fort is not some major crime and he is not a mob Kingpin. Stop being a bunch of self important ass wipes and let the kid have his fort already. Damn bunch of kid hating fools.

  8. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    Annoying neighbors AND a spoiled kid! If you know you belong to a HOA that has those kinds of rules, why not build the fort in your own backyard out of view?

  9. Just Plain Annoyed says:

    Glad I don’t live in such a brain-washed, vanilla neighborhood with a HOA. This seems weird that the ‘strip of grass’ is a common area. Whose property is it? The mother’s or the neighbors? Otherwise it must be a surveyors nightmare!

    Maybe it’s really time for the neighborhood to reconsider a) who is on the HOA board and b) the rationality of the ‘rules’.

    Or maybe, since this is Texas, give the kid weapons and teach how to defend his land.

    The HOA is therefore a bunch of petty, whiny putzes.

  10. Larry says:

    He needs to move up to throwing eggs at this guys house. He just sounds like an A hole

    “Yea right. I would love to come home to my 2-300k home and get to view a big pile of debris near the parkway. Rules are rules. 9 year old or not. HOA associations are in place for crap exactly like this. Basketball nets, leaving garbage cans all over the place, BBQ’s in front yards, mobile homes in driveways, the list is endless. Let’s weep for this drip of a mother and her poor poor kid…Let me swallow my vomit first.”

  11. Diana Shulsky says:

    Here is the thing about HOA’s — YOU CAN MOVE if you don’t like the way the rules are enforced, which you signed up for when you got the deed to your house. I would think the child would learn more by working with his mother/HOA board to locate an appropriate place to build a fort, (petition the HOA to allow it someplace else?) so the child learns the appropriate steps to getting things done. But if mother tells him they are victims, that just breeds another despondent teenager.

  12. Casey says:

    I see both sides. There is a reason when we moved we would not look at any home in a subdivision. We may have to deal with others lack of concern for their yard but the day my son wants to build a tree house or fort he can and will. With that I agree that the mom needs to teach her son that he too has to abide by the rules.

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