MESA, AZ — HOAs usually get a bad rap.
They can enforce rules that keep neighborhoods functioning and property values up, but too many times, homeowners complain their HOA oversteps.
One Mesa senior has been battling her HOA over an angel statue.
"I feel angels are good for you, they protect you, they don't harm you," Shirley says.
The statue is just 12 inches tall.
But in December, we told you what a big problem it's been for Shirley trying to display the statue on her front porch wall.
"I like it there, but they don't like it there," she says.
The Sunland Village East Garden Condos HOA hit her with violations for excessive items on her porch.
The violation specifically shows "the angel statue is not allowed."
She was fined for that as well.
So, Shirley reluctantly moved the statue off the wall where it's hidden from view.
"I don't want to keep paying any more money," she says.
So why is the angel statue singled out?
We recently looked through the HOA's rules, their C,C&Rs.
We did see "animal or bird statues" must be confined to the back patio, but I couldn't find a mention of angel statues.
And I didn't see how many front porch items is considered "excessive."
A February drive around Shirley's neighborhood shows animal statues displayed in front porch areas nearby. There was also a religious symbol on a front porch wall and many porches with more than three plants or other items.
When we last saw Shirley, I asked if she's going to pay the current fines.
"No. If they want me to donate $100, I'll give it to St. Mary's Food Bank or St. Vincent de Paul," she told me.
Now she won't have to pay those fines.
On her February statement, the HOA waived $100 in violation fees.
Still, Shirley won't be displaying her angel on the wall.
She believes if she does, the fines will start again.
So, it's a win, but not a victory.
I emailed the most recent HOA board members listed on their site.
I asked what happens if the statue goes back on the wall? I also wanted to know where it states the angel statue is not allowed.
I did not get any answers. But Shirley deserves those answers, so we'll keep trying to get them.