BUDA, Texas (KXAN) - In many neighborhoods, playful, colorful sidewalk chalk art is a summertime staple. But in one Hays County neighborhood, parents are finding out their kids' art isn't a game.
A homeowner in the Elm Grove Neighborhood was hit with a citation telling her to remove her children's "chalk drawings" or risk paying a pretty hefty price.
The notice from the homeowner's association prompted her friends and neighbors to contact KXAN for answers.
Melissa McCrary moved into the Elm Grove neighborhood in Buda four years ago and says it was the kid-friendly atmosphere that drew her in.
"We like it a lot," she said. "There's a lot of kids here which is pretty much the reason we moved here."
But she says she had no idea that her children's drawing could draw in a citation.
"I didn't know that you could really get in trouble for that," McCrary said.
So she was surprised when her neighbor Kelsey Jakubauskas received a letter in the mail from their homeowner's association.
"Well we just picked up the mail one day and found this notice from our homeowners association saying we were in violation," Jakubauskus said.
The letter went on to say that if the chalk art wasn't removed soon, the Jakubauskus' could face a fine or even a lien on their home.
The HOA, Alliance Association Management, said in a statement they encourage active, creative children, but rules are rules. "Sometimes homeowners are unaware of deed restrictions," the statement read. "A friendly reminder was issued requesting that the homeowner please remove the sidewalk chalk when finished. "
IN-DEPTH: How do you protect yourself as a homeowner?
- Get involved.
- Most HOA meetings are poorly attended, leaving only a few people to make decision.
- Learn before you buy - read your HOA documents thoroughly before you buy the house or condo.
- And contact lawmakers who support HOA reform.
Jakubauskus has now stopped her children from drawing with chalk on their sidewalk or the driveway.
"We haven't allowed them to draw just because we don't want to use the water in the drought situation to wash it off every time they come out here with chalk,"Jakubauskus said.
Neighbors also said the the HOA restrictions do not specifically outline any guidelines for chalk use and so far no other neighbors in the community have complained about it.
"I could understand them enforcing the covenants but when that's not in there i don't think that its appropriate," Jakubauskus said.
A group of neighbors are now organizing an event called "chalk it up" to be held this Sunday.
They're handing out bundles of chalk and kids from the neighborhood will gather to decorate their sidewalks and driveways. They're hoping to send their neighborhood association a message.
"It's just silly to me," McCrary said. "There are so many other things that I think need to be addressed besides sidewalk chalk."
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