KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
October 18, 2018
by Katrina Katsarelis and Ariana Pezeshki
Photo by Ariana Pezeshki, Katy Magazine
A 24 by 18 foot BETO lawn sign is causing a controversy in a quiet, upscale Katy neighborhood called Estates of Chesterfield. The neighborhood is located next to Cinco Ranch just off South Mason Road and Highland Knolls.
Homeowners Matthew Duffy and Shannon Bennett have lived in Katy for five years and moved here from Oklahoma. The couple began painting the sign on Sunday and on Monday they received a violation notice from the HOA stating it needed to be down within five days.
Duffy says, he is unclear as to what the exact violation. "The subject says political sign violation and then in the body it says you've violated the landscape declaration," claims Duffy. "I know I've violated their sense of political affiliation, but that's it." Duffy believes that based on the Texas property code he has up until 10 days after the election to have it removed. "Since Texas property code supersedes HOA declarations I'm going under the assumption I haven't violated anything."
"When I was painting the sign on Sunday, the president of the HOA came screaming up in his pick up truck and asked me to cease and desist, saying this is violation," says Duffy, a former Marine. "I had done all of my homework, as did my wife and we knew we weren't in violation of anything."
Duffy claims some of the neighbors have commented that the sign is pretty and artistic, even though many don't agree with his candidate. "The ones I've spoken to are fine with it," he says. Other neighbors drove by with negative comments as the sign was being painted.
We reached out to the management company for the Estates of Chesterfield and they gave us the following statement.
“The association’s rules are consistent with state law and Section 202.009 of the Texas Property Code, in that it prohibits political signs that are attached to plant material. The association provided an owner a notice letter giving them an opportunity to cure their violation.”
This is a matter between the individual association member and Board of Directors on a confidential subject and we must maintain the confidentiality of scenarios such as these and follow proper procedure as established by state law and governing documents. - Vanessa Millan of Comprehensive Community Management Solutions
Duffy says he just painted the sign to express himself personally and didn't expect or want national attention. "Many people have died in protection of the constitution and particularly the protection of the first amendment, so you've got to go with your heart."