HOA gives homeowner 7 days to remove Black Lives Matter sign

Erica Simon Image
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Homeowner at odds with HOA over 'Black Lives Matter' yard signs
About two months ago, Gloria Bernardino and her husband put up banners to make their message clear, but now they're at odds after a letter arrived giving them seven days to take their sign down.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There's a battle brewing over yard signs in the Hearthstone neighborhood in northwest Harris County.

About two months ago, Gloria Bernardino and her husband put up banners to make their message clear - Black lives matter, so do LGBTQ rights, women's rights, science, and humanity as a whole.

"It's a very busy street, so I thought, 'What a great way to let people know, there are allies out here,'" Bernardino explained.

Some folks, as seen in a letter from a 17-year-old neighbor, support Bernardino's cause. Others aren't very happy about it.

One post popped up in the Hearthstone Nextdoor group when Bernardino painted 'BLM' in their driveway, which is short for Black lives matter. At the request of the HOA, the couple pressure washed and removed those letters - but it didn't end there.

In a letter dated Sept. 2, Sears Bennett & Gerdes, LLP., the law office representing Hearthstone HOA, said the homeowners have seven days to remove their signs and cites their offense as, "unlawful, noxious or offensive activity shall be conducted or maintained on any lot, nor shall anything be done or permitted to be done thereon that may be a nuisance to the residents of the subdivision."

"As far as I understand, there is no bylaw against flags or signs, that's why they're using a clause saying that my yard is obnoxious," Bernardino said.

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Bernardino feels they're being singled out since there are all types of signs in the neighborhood, some including signs for Trump, signs for Precinct 5 Constable, American flags, college flags and fall harvest flags.

"If that's what they feel in their heart that that's what they want to do and display, they should have the right to do that. Whether it's Black lives matter or Blue lives matter as well," neighbor Elias Davis said.

Sears Bennett & Gerdes, LLP sent us this statement in response to the fallout:

"Someone spray-painted "BLM" graffiti on a driveway in Hearthstone. We were requested to send a deed violation notice to the owner requesting that he remove the spray paint from his driveway and non-political candidate signs in his yard. Hearthstone is a deed-restricted community and any changes to the exterior first require prior written approval from the Association. No approval was sought prior to painting the message "BLM" on his driveway.

We understand that our country is seeking positive change and we stand with those individuals seeking to end racism and hatred. However, spray-painted driveways and non-political candidate signs are not permitted. The same enforcement action would be taken if someone spray-painted "All Lives Matter", "KKK", "Stop Hate", "End Racism", or "MAGA." Spray painting messages (positive or negative) on your driveway are not acceptable exterior changes."

Bernardino said she stands by her intentions.

"Black lives matter and let's be kind to each other," she said.

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