Many housing developments have homeowners associations (HOA) that impose strict rules and regulations. While some of the stipulations seem silly, abiding by them is a necessity for those who wish to live within these groups’ bounds. A Fairfax, Va., family learned this lesson after they posted a yard sign in support of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run and the board ruled that it violated HOA standards. What resulted was an epic legal battle between the Farran family and the housing authority — one that inevitably led the board to bankruptcy, splintering the community and creating ongoing division among its residents.
While there is certainly no ban on the placement of political signs at Olde Belhaven, the development at the center of the debate, the placard that was posted by Sam and Maria Farran was four inches taller than allowed by the rules and regulations. When the board approached the family in the heat of the highly-contentious election season and told them to remove the Obama sign, the Farrans decided to simply cut the placard in half, with one side reading “OBA” and the other reading “MA.”