The purple color of a swing set has one Missouri community’s homeowners association seeing red.
The Stout family lives in the Raintree Lake Subdivision of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and for the past two years, their children have played on a purple-colored playset in their backyard. While the kids may be happy with the equipment, Raintree Lake’s homeowners association does not share the same feelings, reports Fox 4.
“We got a notice (last year) that we were being fined by the HOA," Maria Stout said to KMBC. According to the organization, children’s playsets must be in harmony with the community. As Stout explained, many of the trees in the neighborhood turn purple in the fall, so she felt painting the swing set purple would be fine. After the Stouts fought the fine and won, they thought that would be the end of the disagreement.
The family recently received another letter from the HOA, this time with heavier threats. If the Stouts do not remove the controversial swing set within the next couple of weeks, the organization claims it will sue and a family member could go to jail.
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Stout explained to Fox 4. “There’s nothing in the rules about color. What it says is it has to be harmonious with the community and with nature and there is nothing that dictates the color of the swing set.”
Stout also told Fox 4 that more than a dozen of the family’s neighbors signed a petition to let the playset stay. The association dismissed the petition.
The HOA sent several more letters attacking the family. In one, the organization claims the Stouts did not get the playset properly pre-approved. Another declares that the lawsuit will cost the family “greater than any principal you are trying to prove,” Fox 4 reports.
“I’m really perturbed that they would waste money pursuing something like this,” Dillen Steeby, who lives next door to the Stouts, told KMBC. “Money on court costs and lawyers' fees to attack really good people like this and go after a swing set.”
Despite the organization’s intimidating letters, the Stouts explained they do not plan to back down and have hired an attorney.