HOA says political signs have to go; woman says no way

HOA says political signs have to go; woman says no way »Play Video
Lisa Schmidt says she's not going to take down her political signs after her HOA told her she can't put them up until 45 days before an election.

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – A woman is taking a stand for the political signs in her yard after the homeowners association in her neighborhood told her to take them down until 45 days before the election.

Those are the HOA rules, but Lisa Schmidt may be winning her battle.

"I thought it was a good thing!" she said about being part of an HOA. "You know, I'm not for weeds growing up in the driveway," she said.

She just never thought signs growing up in the driveway would cause such a conflict with the Mt. Vista Home Owners Association.

"But I do want them to respect the way I feel as well," she said.

Schmidt got a letter in June saying a neighbor had complained, not about how many signs she had in her yard, but about the fact they're up months before the November election.

HOA rules only allow political signs 45 days ahead of time.

"It's commercially produced. It's political in nature," Schmidt said about the signs.

Still, the HOA threatened to fine her.

"Are they going to comment on the way I dress as I come out of my house? Are they going to tell me how many children I can have in my house?" Schmidt said.

Neighbor Scott Kindt says it's a matter of respect for the rules all the homeowners agreed to.

"That's pretty blatant there. That's been for a couple months now," he said about Schmidt's signs.

He moved to the neighborhood because of those rules.

"It keeps the look of the neighborhood up; it keeps the value of the neighborhood up," he said.

The law, however, is actually on Schmidt's side. State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, met with Schmidt Friday. He helped pass the Washington law that allows people to display political signs on their property anytime during an election year. That includes signs in HOA neighborhoods.

"You know, you go in and there's a stack of paperwork and you're signing, you're just happy to be closing the deal and getting your own home, and you don't realize that you may be giving away some of your constitutional rights," Benton said.

Schmidt never meant to attract all the attention. She says it may be time to take her signs and change neighborhoods. But in the meantime, she says she's not taking down her signs.

She hired an attorney who's working with the homeowners association.

The HOA manager sent KATU News the following statement: "Our volunteer board just wants to do the right thing and will meet in August to review our rules and consider what's next. As neighbors, we are hoping for a resolution we can all live with."