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Neighbors rally for senior who just wants somewhere to sit

HOA says to remove the bench, or they will!
KNXV Fullscreen Let Joe Know
Posted at 4:02 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 20:08:13-04

There are more than 9,000 HOAs managing Arizona neighborhoods, and with every HOA comes a governing board and a set of rules.

Among other things, they're supposed to help maintain a certain quality standard. But one group says their HOA, the Bethany Villa Association, isn't standing by one of its longest and oldest residents.

Tanya let me know about her 92-year-old neighbor Ted and a bench he owns outside his front door.

"I see him out every day on his bench with his chips," Tanya says.

It's been there for 10 years. She says Ted visits with neighbors there. It's a social gathering place.

"Everybody who walks by here stops and talks to me," Ted says.

The veteran says his home is too small for gathering and the bench is just close enough, given his arthritis and other issues that make it difficult to walk.

"I've taken more Tylenol in the last year than I've taken the rest of my whole life," Ted says.

On the day we were there, some past and present neighbors stopped by offering support for something Ted never saw coming.

He received notices from his HOA saying simply, "remove your bench from the common area... or it will be removed by the Association."

"I think that's rotten. What's he going to do, stand? Sit inside all day? It's taking his life away from him," says Steve, a former neighbor.

Ted says while he was on the Bethany Villa Association board for 28 years, the HOA did not give him a reason for removal.

They told us the bench "is in violation of the CC&Rs" regarding items placed "on any patio, balcony, common area."

"I could always bring a chair out here," he says.

But Tanya won't have it.

"How is he going to carry a chair out? That alone can cause him to fall," she says.

The HOA says they apply "the same standards to all residents."

So we pointed out what neighbors showed us concerning other benches and items privately owned around the complex. We hoped the HOA might decide to grandfather all of them and allow them since they've been around for so long.

Instead, the HOA sent one of the owners the same removal notice Ted received.

"The reason I sit out here now is I don't do nothing," he tells me.

At 92, Ted says he'd much rather spend his days visiting with friends outside than watching TV all day inside.

Tanya says it's a simple request.

"The man deserves a place to rest and enjoy nature and eat his little snacks and say hi to people and pet puppies," she says.

Neighbors say if it was a bench safety issue, they'd buy Ted a new bench.

But that isn't the issue.

They wonder if something has been allowed for 10 years and never been a problem, why is the HOA making it an issue now?

What do you think? Should it stay or should it go?

Go to the Let Joe Know Facebook page and give me your thoughts there.

Here's the full HOA statement:

"Bethany Villa is a condominium association. Associations are governed by Governing Documents, CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), and Rules & Regulations. The Bethany Villa Association's CC&Rs, with support from the Rules & Regulations, outline policies and rules regarding "yard art" and/or other items being stored or placed on any patio, balcony, common area, etc. Unfortunately, the resident's bench is in violation of the CC&Rs and Rules & Regulations and he has been asked to remove it to be in compliance with these documents. As the dedicated Board of Directors and fellow residents of Bethany Villa, we take great pride in applying the same standards to all residents to preserve the integrity of our community." - The Bethany Villa Association Board of Directors