Am I over or under reacting? 10YO, friends, HOA (Update post #59, HOA calls me back) - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-08-2010, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll try to make this short- famous last words! (If this is in the wrong place, feel free to move it.)

Last week, DS (10 YO) was out playing with his friend and some other neighborhood kids. Later in the day, I saw his friend pushing a bike tire down the street. This struck me as goofy, but I was more concerned that he would hit someone's car, so I told him to cut it out. He did.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I get a packet in the mail from the home owner's association. In it is a nasty letter about certain children who were creating a "nuisance" last week. Included were 23 (!) pictures of the children in question. My ds is in exactly 2 pictures. In one, he is trying to fix his bike chain. He is on a common area of the neighborhood, but very close to his friend's back yard. In another, he is walking away from the other children and drinking a soda.

So, the charges according to the letter, are that the children (5 in all) were doing horrible things such as:

Riding their bikes in the street.
Sitting on the sidewalk in front of someone's driveway. (Not on the person's property.)
Riding their bikes in other people's driveway.
Riding their bikes on people's lawns. (No damage, not muddy, no tracks, just actually doing it.)
Stepping on people's lawns. (OMG!)
Leaving a skateboard out overnight in the common area. (I know for a fact this was not ours.)
Tossing that bike tire down the street.
"Fighting." (According to my ds, 2 of the kids did get into some kind of altercation at the end of the day, but it was short-lived.)
Sitting on an electrical box, a big green metal thing. (No one was doing any damage to it, although in one of the pictures it appears a child is jumping off of it. It's like 3 feet high.)
Putting cans on the bike tires so that it would make more noise (kind of like how we used to put cards in our tire spokes.)
Loitering.

Anyway, the letter goes on to say that I need to talk to my "children" and that the neighbors are now "watching" them. Further problems will lead to a "fining hearing."

So, apparently, my ds and these 4 other children were doing such horrible things that a neighbor felt the need to take pictures (of children sitting on the sidewalk!) and complain to the homeowner's association, but NEVER came to me (or the other parents) and said, "Hey, your kid is pissing me off." Would that have been so difficult?

Only 1 other child in the pictures is a friend of his that I know, the other 3 children are not anyone he regularly plays with. The rest of the pictures (over 20!) feature these 3 other children doing these things. DS is only in 2 pictures, and his friend is in like 4 pictures.

So, I talked to DS, and although he admits to tossing the bike tire "a couple of times", it doesn't appear that he was doing any of the other things. I also know he did the "can in the tire" thing, and I had him take it out so he wouldn't damage the bike. (I had actually planned on giving him some cards for his spokes, but I guess I shouldn't now.) I have told him before he needs to stay out of anyone's driveway/yard if they are not the friend he is playing with. He says he did, unless he was riding his bike on the sidewalk and needed to ride around people or things on the sidewalk.

However, other than tossing a bike tire around (which is not only rude, but dangerous IMO), and even though he didn't do most of these other things, I feel like the HOA is kind of going overboard on the other kids. I mean, kids were sitting on the sidewalk. They were riding their bikes. There was no complaint about them not MOVING if there were people or cars coming. It's VERY common for kids in our neighborhood to play in the street (hockey, etc) and then move for cars. (There are not that many cars in this part of the neighborhood.)

My DS is not perfect at all, and I have no problem with someone coming to me if he's out of line. But, I really don't see that these things are really bad, they seem like stuff that kids do all the time. Please give me some perspective here, are these things really bad? I mean, I don't care if kids sit on the sidewalk in front of my house. And, how does one define "loitering" if we live here and pay our HOA fees? I mean, I pay HOA fees to enjoy the common areas of our neighborhood, so does this mean that my DS can't sit and talk to his friend?

My DH left a long message for the HOA rep who sent us the packet, but she didn't call back. I know what neighbor took the pictures, and I'm so tempted to go and talk to them and ask them why they didn't come to me. I got mail about it, so obviously they know where I live. Also, at least if you count the pictures as "evidence", my DS wasn't really doing anything egregious. All the pictures are of the other children. Although, frankly, at this point I'm kind of pissed off for them, too, and I don't even know them.

I'm really at a loss for what to do. I'm afraid to let my ds go out and play now, because I don't want people taking pictures of him if he does something they don't like and then I'll get FINED for it!

Opinions, please. Help!

Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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Riding their bikes in the street. not a big deal unless they were NOT getting out of the way of vehicles.
Sitting on the sidewalk in front of someone's driveway. (Not on the person's property.) they shouldn't be sitting in the driveway, but again not a big deal unless someone was trying to get in with their vehicle
Riding their bikes in other people's driveway. they should not be doing this unless they live in that house.
Riding their bikes on people's lawns. (No damage, not muddy, no tracks, just actually doing it.)
Stepping on people's lawns. (OMG!) they should NOT be riding on or stepping on other people's lawn. It is tresspassing & can damage the grass(especially riding bikes on the lawn, even if it isn't muddy. It is common courtesy that 10yo's are old enough to know to NOT go on other people's lawns, that is why there are sidewalks
Leaving a skateboard out overnight in the common area. (I know for a fact this was not ours.) the letter was probably generic & exactly the same one sent to all 5 parents. What does the HOA bylaws say about things being left there?
Tossing that bike tire down the street. unless it was near miss hits on vehicles/people, not a big deal. It's a bike tire, not a car or tractor tire.lol
"Fighting." (According to my ds, 2 of the kids did get into some kind of altercation at the end of the day, but it was short-lived.) this is between the 2 kids & if necessary their parents.
Sitting on an electrical box, a big green metal thing. (No one was doing any damage to it, although in one of the pictures it appears a child is jumping off of it. It's like 3 feet high.) it's not the wisest place for them to be sitting & jumping off probably isn't the smartest thing either
Putting cans on the bike tires so that it would make more noise (kind of like how we used to put cards in our tire spokes.) is there a noise ordinance in the HOA bylaws? I'd say kids playing would make just as much if not more noise
Loitering. do the HOA bylaws define loitering
For most of these(other than the lawn & riding in driveways) I'd say the person who reported it is the nosey neighbor everyone probably hates and they should get over it.lol

I'd double check the HOA bylaws on some things, but other than that not worry about it.

I WOULD go to the person who complained & took the pictures and ask them why they are taking pictures of your kid(and the others) without parental permission and sending these pictures to other people. Throw some law back in their face. Depending on their response and my mood I may even question to them (even if I don't believe it) if they're pedophiles if they're spending that much time watching 5 10yo boys & taking photos of them.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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I don't think any of that is a big deal. As you said, if there is a problem then speak up. If this person and said something to the children they probably would have complied. I agree with pp, check the bylaws AND I would have a big problem of someone taking pictures of my child and distributing. NOT okay, ever. I would let that be known for sure.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:04 AM
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I'm with Carrie. I can see maybe getting uphappy about kids riding their bikes on my lawn, but then I would (*gasp*) go outside and ask if they could please not ride on the lawn. The rest is normal kid stuff, and none of it is worthy of the enormous amount of time and effort someone put into taking photos and mailing out letters.

I hate HOAs, though, and I'm so glad our neighborhood doesn't have one...

 
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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I would be annoyed too. It is a sad testament to the lack of neighborliness and community. That said, I would carefully go over the HOA regulations to identify what is or is not permitted and talk to your son about the rules. I would write a letter back to the HOA stating your disappointment in how this was handled in such a threatening manner but state that you will address the rules with your son (and, of course, point out any issues that are covered by the rules). Though each of these are small infractions on their own, the kids should know not to trespass on another person's property (unless the person in question is blocking the sidewalk with a car or other object that forces the kids to go around it somehow, which inevitably would involve a driveway or lawn). Avoid the neighbor in question, but ask the HOA to address the issue of a man taking photos of young boys.

When we lived in a condo (rented) with common areas, most complaints were handled with notices under everybody's doors or in mailboxes to remind everybody of the rules and a few temporary notices hung around the common areas. No finger pointing, no photos, just a polite hint (for example, when we complained about dogs unleashed in the common areas and pooping on the lawn). Hints were taken and behaviors changed without threats, etc. Repeat offenders, of course, should receive warnings, but most issues can be handled without such threats/warnings of dire consequences.

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Old 05-08-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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I. AM. FLOORED.
Kids being kids. This happens every day in my neighborhood. Kids come and shoot hoops at our house when my kids aren't around. My kids swing on neighbor's tire swing even if the kids aren't home. It's called community.
This is a story that Lenore Skenazy would eat up.
http://www.freerangekids.com
That being said, I would actually get together with the other parents and approach the HOA about the ridiculousness of these "charges" and see about creating some kid-friendly bylaws. How can one have community when kids are being watched for playing?
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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Most of the complaints are over the top and reflect an intolerance of children and natural play. I would take heed of the complaints about trespass - riding or walking on someone else's lawn. Whether there is damage or not, it's important to respect the other person's feelings and rules about their property.

Personally, bike riding is a tricky issue for me when kids get to be about 10 y.o. I believe bicycles belong on the road, not the sidewalk. I make exceptions for young children. I think a 5 y.o. or even an 8 y.o. is tolerable riding on the sidewalk. By about age 12, they are probably okay on the road - or should be. 10 is a grey area for me. I'd probably roll my eyes if a bunch of 10 y.o.'s were cycling on the sidewalk around my house, but I wouldn't complain about it.

ETA: And yes, it's better to speak directly to the parents, rather than writing long complaint letters and compiling photos. Some people have nothing better to do.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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I mean REALLY? Those complaints sound downright RIDONKEROUS!!!! Do you live in a retirement community or something? Because SERIOUSLY?!! Kids sitting on the sidewalk? COME ON!?!?!?!! Does this person even HAVE KIDS?
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
I WOULD go to the person who complained & took the pictures and ask them why they are taking pictures of your kid(and the others) without parental permission and sending these pictures to other people. Throw some law back in their face. Depending on their response and my mood I may even question to them (even if I don't believe it) if they're pedophiles if they're spending that much time watching 5 10yo boys & taking photos of them.
Really?
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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Some people just seem to think kids don't have a right to exist in public and resent their presence no matter what their behavior. Obviously kids need to run around and socialize and have fun. Of course it would behoove you to make sure your son does not repeat the actions that actually were inappropriate so that if a future complaint tis made it is entirely without merit.


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Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post
So, the charges according to the letter, are that the children (5 in all) were doing horrible things such as:

Riding their bikes in the street.[snip]
I have told him before he needs to stay out of anyone's driveway/yard if they are not the friend he is playing with. He says he did, unless he was riding his bike on the sidewalk and needed to ride around people or things on the sidewalk.

They were riding their bikes. There was no complaint about them not MOVING if there were people or cars coming. It's VERY common for kids in our neighborhood to play in the street (hockey, etc) and then move for cars. (There are not that many cars in this part of the neighborhood.)
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Personally, bike riding is a tricky issue for me when kids get to be about 10 y.o. I believe bicycles belong on the road, not the sidewalk. I make exceptions for young children. I think a 5 y.o. or even an 8 y.o. is tolerable riding on the sidewalk. By about age 12, they are probably okay on the road - or should be. 10 is a grey area for me. I'd probably roll my eyes if a bunch of 10 y.o.'s were cycling on the sidewalk around my house, but I wouldn't complain about it.
With exception for small children, the street is the best place for bike riding so that in itself is not a valid complaint. However, once you are on the street you do need to follow traffic laws. [Not saying that they were not. I wasn't there. But sometimes kids start riding around in circles. I would discourage that (maybe ok in cul-de-sacs.)]

As an aside if you are riding down the street in a proper manner (alone, or single file group) you are not required to "move out of the way" for cars. In some instances it may be dangerous for you to take to the extreme right side of the lane and the vehicle coming from behind just has to wait until the other lane opens up so they have sufficient room for passing. [google "take the (whole) lane"] Although obviously it is the polite thing to get over and give them more space to pass when it is safe.


According to the NHTS 10yo is the age at which sidewalk riding is no longer necessary/appropriate. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/bike/kidsandbikesafetyweb/

Obviously though, the age at which a child is mature enough to ride on the street will vary by the individual's personality and the level of training/guidance they have received. It's not like the magically acquire bike smarts on their birthday.
Personally, I would not let my child ride their bike out and about unsupervised if they were not ready for street riding. Also, if a kid is riding on the sidewalk I think they should be still pretty slow- like a speed a typical human can run at. Maybe 6/7mph maximum including downhill. Once they get to 10-12mph (which is Not that fast at all for a bike) it becomes pretty dangerous if there are pedestrians.
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies.

I agree about staying off other people's lawns and driveways. I also agree I would be peeved if some kid was doing figure 8's in my lawn. However, I would go outside and talk to the child, and then his/her parents if necessary. My understanding from DS#1 is that he only rode up into someone's driveway or lawn to avoid an obstacle in the sidewalk. Of course, that may not be true and may not reflect what the other kids were doing. Also, I think @ 10 he SHOULD be riding his bike in the street, but the letter ACCUSES him of riding his bike in the street. Am I missing something here? Where should he ride his bike?

It would make no difference to me if some kids were sitting on the sidewalk in front of my house and/or driveway, as I don't own that part and as long as they moved if I needed them to. I certainly don't mind if a kid walked on my lawn for some reason. (The picture of the kid doing this "infraction" almost looks like he tripped and landed with his foot about 12 inches into the lawn from the sidewalk. The pictures look like they may be taken from a video, which is somehow even more disturbing.)

Also, as far as adding cans to the bikes so they sound more like motorbikes, I just cannot imagine that's loud enough to violate a noise ordinance. I'm hearing impaired, so I may not be the best judge, but it took me a few minutes to even realize that he had one on his bike. They were not very loud at all.

I've spoken to DS#1 again at length about avoiding other people's lawns and driveways, and especially this person now. My DS did something wrong in the past (playing with rocks meant for drainage), but the person who saw him doing it made him come to me and tell. I thanked her, he got the appropriate consequences, and case closed.

Not only does it show an intolerance to kids at play, but (and I hate to say it) I think there is a racial issue here as well. The 3 kids who were doing all the "worst" things are AA. I wonder if 5 white kids were out chilling if they would be accused of "loitering," IYKWIM.

However, I'm really worried about letting him out to play again. For several reasons:

1) I'm really, really uncomfortable about the picture/video taking. Like, the feeling is getting worse as the days go on.

2) I got a letter in the mail telling me people were "watching" him. I'm afraid he'll do one stupid thing (as kids are wont to do), someone will rat him out and then we all get in trouble. Again.

3) I'm afraid he's going to be found guilty by association, again.

4) Mostly, I'm afraid of the "nuisance" & "loitering" issues. I've read the bylaws, and they are not clear. There are no guidelines that specify what loitering or a "nuisance" is. So, DS and his friend are riding bikes for a while, they sit on the sidewalk to take a break. Are they loitering? After how long? 5 minutes? An hour? Or they are playing a game and laughing/screaming, is that too loud and it's a "nuisance?" It's too vague, and I don't know how to fight that.

I'm still not sure what to do. We have a management company that sort of runs the HOA, but the board is made up of homeowners here. Should I complain to the person who took the pictures, the board, AND the management company?

Thanks again for your replies. I guess I just wanted to make sure I wasn't out in left field thinking this was over the top.

Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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Old 05-08-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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I'm still not sure what to do. We have a management company that sort of runs the HOA, but the board is made up of homeowners here. Should I complain to the person who took the pictures, the board, AND the management company?
I'd talk to the management company and get clarification about the loitering issue. It's ludicrous to describe kids playing outside and hanging out around their own neighborhood as loitering.

Probably best to avoid taking it up with the picture taker. It's not against the law to take pictures in a publc place. This type of person would probably escalate the whole dispute if you engage with him/her.
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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I should add that I find the idea of trumping up false accusations of pedopheila against the complainer completely repugnant, and I hope that anyone who does so will face the full extent of the law.
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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This is yet another reason why I hate HOAs. I would review the rules carefully, some of those seem ridiculous. Loitering? Umm, that's just hanging out in the neighborhood. Riding bikes in the street? Come on. I would take a letter to the HOA president with a point by point analysis of the charges. You can say, I agree that riding bikes on the lawn is not acceptable and this has been discussed with DS. I am guessing most of the things listed are not in the HOA rules so would point that out with a note that kids have to be able to play.
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mean REALLY? Those complaints sound downright RIDONKEROUS!!!! Do you live in a retirement community or something? Because SERIOUSLY?!! Kids sitting on the sidewalk? COME ON!?!?!?!! Does this person even HAVE KIDS?
LOL No, I don't think they have kids. And while I don't live in a retirement community, maybe this neighbor thinks they do!

I re-read all my HOA stuff. There is NO clause about loitering and while there is something vague about nuisance, it talks about having speakers or other noisy things outside of your house. You know, for when Bon Jovi comes and plays at my 4th of July BBQ.

I think it's better if I ignore the neighbor, and I know it's bad, but I so want to send my ex-husband (DS#1) father over there and have him ask why they were taking pictures! It's wrong, but he's all tattooed and pierced and intimidating looking. (No, I'm not going to do that.)

Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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Old 05-08-2010, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should add that I find the idea of trumping up false accusations of pedopheila against the complainer completely repugnant, and I hope that anyone who does so will face the full extent of the law.
Choli, I agree, and would never make an accusation like this just to get a reaction.

Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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Old 05-08-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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Riding their bikes in the street? Where are they supposed to ride them then?

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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I should add that I find the idea of trumping up false accusations of pedopheila against the complainer completely repugnant, and I hope that anyone who does so will face the full extent of the law.
good gosh I neve said trump up false accusations against the complainer. I said go to the person who was taking the photos(aka the complainer) and ask them what they are doing taking photos/video of 10yo boys without parental permission. This person had no business taking long enough video/photos of these boys to get 23 pictures of them. how long is the video & how many other pictures does this person have of these boys? I didn't suggest it to get a reaction out of the picture taker but to show them that their own accusations are ridiculous.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Carrie, I'm sorry if I misunderstood.

I agree, it seems very weird to me that someone would spend that much time taking pictures/videos of these boys (my DS is 10, but they range from 9 to maybe 13).

But since they then mailed/e-mailed the pictures to a 3rd party, I think the neighbor really thought these kids were "outta control" and needed evidence.

I don't know. It's weird. And although I do feel somewhat violated for my DS, I understand that there really isn't any expectation of privacy if you are out in public. I just can't imagine taking videos/pictures of other people's children to try to get them in trouble. It seems so... off to me. However, maybe the neighbor (I have no idea if it's a man or woman or a couple) had complained about those "darn kids" before to the HOA (but not the, you know, parents) and they were told there was nothing the HOA could do without proof, and so that's why they did it.

I really hope so. Shudder.

Mom, wife, full-time student.  And tired.  DH, DS#1 (9/99) and DS#2 (9/09), and 2 dogs.

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Old 05-08-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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I should add that I find the idea of trumping up false accusations of pedopheila against the complainer completely repugnant, and I hope that anyone who does so will face the full extent of the law.
I think discussing it would help emphasize the ludicrous nature of the complaints. It's ridiculous for this person to spend their time filing charges with an HOA against kids who are being kids.
It's doubly ridiculous/creepy for him/her to tape or photograph it. I'd be totally creeped out if a neighbor was taking pictures of my kids without their consent. It's not like this person said, "Say Cheese, boys!" It's a violation of privacy for him/her to do this.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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Wow. Another reason I would never move anywhere with a HOA. I would move. These kids can't even be *kids* and it does sound either creepy and pedophile-like or racially biased, IMO. What a creepy situation. Can you bring up your concerns to whoever is in charge?

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Old 05-08-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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I would express concern to the HOA about someone who thinks it's ok to take picture of my children, no matter what reasons they have.

I also agree with Phathiu5:

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Riding their bikes in the street? Where are they supposed to ride them then?

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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Well, I think kids should always stay off of other people's property. I'd be mad if kids were riding their bikes in my yard or driveway.

But, the rest isn't even annoying. If you don't want kids playing in the common area, shouldn't you NOT buy a house near a common area???

The metal box they were jumping off of, is THERE FOR THE KIDS TO PLAY ON... it's like the electric company's gift to the children. Kids have been playing on those for millions of years. Again, unless it's in someone's yard, who cares?

I think it's extremely Unibomber-ish of someone to take pictures of the kids. Much less turn them in to the HOA. The camera owner should look into buying a home in a retirement community.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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BTW, I love HOA's. I'd never live in a neighborhood without one. I had a house in a non HOA neighborhood once, and the neighbors made it impossible to sell my home. It took five months in a sellers market, and I finally found a family that needed a big corner lot to park his tractor and backhoe, and since all the other neighbors had semi trucks and a ham radio station in their yards, he apparently felt right at home.

After that experience though, I am an HOA kinda girl.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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Actually those metal boxes from the electrical company are not toys for the kids. They contain electrical equipment that allow easier access to the neighbourhood's power source. While they are generally safe, if they have been damaged in any way (and you may not see the damage) they pose a serious risk to people who get to close.

I would advise teaching your children to stay away from and off of them.

ETA: If you do notice any kind of damage, or the door appears to be open from warping or whatever, contact the power company immediately!

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Old 05-09-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chiromamma View Post
I think discussing it would help emphasize the ludicrous nature of the complaints. It's ridiculous for this person to spend their time filing charges with an HOA against kids who are being kids.
It's doubly ridiculous/creepy for him/her to tape or photograph it. I'd be totally creeped out if a neighbor was taking pictures of my kids without their consent. It's not like this person said, "Say Cheese, boys!" It's a violation of privacy for him/her to do this.
When you are out in a public place, it is not a violation of privacy. That is the law.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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...

4) Mostly, I'm afraid of the "nuisance" & "loitering" issues. I've read the bylaws, and they are not clear. There are no guidelines that specify what loitering or a "nuisance" is. So, DS and his friend are riding bikes for a while, they sit on the sidewalk to take a break. Are they loitering? After how long? 5 minutes? An hour? Or they are playing a game and laughing/screaming, is that too loud and it's a "nuisance?" It's too vague, and I don't know how to fight that.

I'm still not sure what to do. We have a management company that sort of runs the HOA, but the board is made up of homeowners here. Should I complain to the person who took the pictures, the board, AND the management company?
Our HOA has faced similar complaints. Basically, the board is limited to enforcing its written bylaws (or amending them through the appropriate process). The management companies typically are limited to dues collection, vendor payment, etc, although of course they will forward on your correspondence to the board.

I would start with the person who sent the letter, who is probably someone on your HOA board. Seek clarification from them while referencing the relevant bylaws. Find out what their underlying interests are (a sidewalk clear for pedestrians, a quiet neighborhood, whatever) and then see if you can both agree to solutions. Good luck!

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Old 05-09-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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I would have flipped if this happened to us. I’d be totally creeped out by the pictures. I don't think you are over reacting at all!

Tossing bike tires could be very dangerous, (but you told your son to stop and he did). Leaving a skateboard out overnight in the common area could also be dangerous. The neighbours do have the right not to want anyone riding their bikes on, or stepping on their lawns.

However I think the neighbours could have just told the HOA or the parents about it. Taking pictures of the kids is totally out of line! The only way it might have been acceptable were if they had complained numerous times about it and no one believed them.

I think you are totally in your right to go to the neighbour in question and tell them that although you are sorry about the kids riding their bikes and stepping on their lawns, and you agree the kids should not have thrown a tire or left a skateboard out overnight, you will not accept someone taking pictures of your child or the other children and they should please never do it again and if anything ever comes up again they should go to you or the HOA directly.

I feel bad for you to have neighbours like that and I wish you the best of luck
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:36 PM
 
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I think you are totally in your right to go to the neighbour in question and tell them that although you are sorry about the kids riding their bikes and stepping on their lawns, and you agree the kids should not have thrown a tire or left a skateboard out overnight, you will not accept someone taking pictures of your child or the other children and they should please never do it again and if anything ever comes up again they should go to you or the HOA directly.

I feel bad for you to have neighbours like that and I wish you the best of luck
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
This makes more sense to you than talking with the parents?
If someone was taking photos of my kids, I'd be extremely suspicious of them and their motives. If it continued after I told them to stop, I'd consider filing a harassment suit. If I didn't have a case, then I'd harass them right back - following them around and taking photos if necessary, just to irritate them.

I take photos of suspicious vehicles hanging out on my street - especially in front of abandoned homes. I don't take photos of people. I talk with people, and talk with the parents of children when necessary. I don't take photos of other peoples' kids unless those kids happen to be in the background of the photos I'm taking of my kids, or those kids are friends with my kids and I'm taking group shots. Otherwise, it's unacceptable. I don't care if it's technically legal. It's suspicious, and I wouldn't be afraid of insinuating anything whatsoever - or even outright accusing - in those circumstances. A lot of trouble could be averted with actual face-to-face communication with the supposed wrong-doers.

ETA: I'm another who would never choose to live in a HOA community. This is just one reason of many. I'd rather risk lowered property values and have the freedom to leave toys in my yard and let my kids play freely than have to deal with uptight control freaks.

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