Purple Playground Leaves Family, HOA Members Seeing Red

August 24, 2015
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A Missouri homeowners association has escalated the controversy surrounding the requested removal of a purple playground from a family’s backyard. It is now threatening to pursue jail time for the members, who installed the playground—which is visible only to their next-door neighbors—for their children.

The members have so far refused to take down the playground, which has been in their yard for two years, asserting that it actually was painted purple to comply with the association’s requirements. The members have said that there is nothing in the rules about the color of such equipment; they claim the rules say it has to be harmonious with the community and with nature and there is nothing that dictates the color of the swing set. The members were considering their daughters’ request for pink paint, but chose the purple color to be “harmonious” because it matches the color of the trees in the fall. The homeowner’s association disagreed and fined the members, alleging that the equipment and its color had to be pre-approved.

The members successfully appealed and had the fine thrown out; however, they’ve received more letters, demanding the purple playground’s removal, and threatening that if it isn’t gone from the subdivision within two weeks, the members would go to jail. Another letter said the association’s lawsuit would cost the family “greater than any principle you are trying to prove.”

According to the members, the association has ignored a petition signed by more than a dozen neighbors saying they were not bothered by the equipment. Several neighbors were upset and incredulous that the association would spend so much valuable time and money pursuing an issue that isn’t offensive to any other members, when the budget could be spent on meaningful resources for the community.