Homeowners Association Wants Orphaned Boy Removed From Grandparents’ Home
After his parents died last year, 15-year-old Collin Clabaugh moved from Riverside, California to Prescott, Arizona to live with his grandparents in a quiet seniors’ community.
Randy and Melodie Passmore have taken the boy into their home so he can live “with two people who love him”, according to his Facebook page. Then they started getting letters from the community homeowners association.
“The Board of Directors expects the Passmores to comply with the Association’s age restrictions by June 30, 2020,” said a December 10 letter, reported by KNXV-TV. “In other words, they expect the Passmores to have made alternative housing arrangements for Collin by that date.”
Collin’s request to move shocked the family. The Gardens & Courtyards at Willow Creek, a 55+ housing community, prohibits residents under the age of 19. .”
“We told them all the circumstances, but they’re still stuck with that rule. And I don’t think that’s the morally right thing to do,” Collin told The Arizona Republic. “If I was in that position, I wouldn’t say you have to leave because that’s the rule. I would make an exception for anyone who needed an exception.”
The association told the Passmores in letters that making an exception could open the housing community to legal challenges from other residents.
“I just wish they would show a little compassion,” Melodie Passmore told The Republic. “He doesn’t cause any problems. How does that hurt them?
Collin’s mother, Bonnie Clabaugh, died after battling illness in a California hospital last year, Passmore said. Her husband, the Passmores’ son, committed suicide two weeks later.
Soon after, Collin moved to Arizona to live with his grandparents.
His grandmother told The Republic that Collin is a helpful teenager who has done yard work for neighbors, installed Christmas lights in a nearby house and cleaned windows at the local church.
“He’s not a whiny little boy running down the street screaming and causing trouble,” she said on Facebook. “He is a young man who helps his neighbors and is rarely seen outside of going to and from school.”
A neighbor told the newspaper that she supports the Passmores and hopes Collin can stay with them. She said she testified at an association meeting to ask the community to make an exception to its age restrictions so the boy could stay.
“They’re the best neighbors you can imagine,” Nancy Hillerman told The Republic. “He had to move to a new school and a new town and start all over again and now he knows they’re going to have to move. It’s a big burden to put on a 15-year-old.”
The Passmores bought their house on Iris Lane four years ago, planning to make it their last home. They installed custom blue tile in the bathroom and planted vegetables in the garden. On Facebook, Melodie Passmore shares photos of the improvements the couple have made to the home.
She told KNXV-TV the family plans to speak to a real estate agent if the homeowners association evicts Collin by the end of June, but the move would be a difficult prospect for the couple.
“How many of you can just sell your house and buy a new one and not feel awful because you spent every penny you had fixing it,” she posted on Facebook this week.
After news of the dispute was first reported by azfamily.com this week, the association seemed willing to talk to the Passmores about how to remedy the situation.
“The Willow Creek Gardens Board of Trustees is deeply saddened by the circumstances the Passmores are facing due to the loss of their loved ones,” the association said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Gardens at Willow Creek’s legal counsel and the Passmores’ legal counsel have been in contact, and the board is working with the Passmores to resolve this matter.”
Collin said he wanted to continue living with his grandparents in their home in Prescott.
“I want to be here,” Collin told azfamily.com. “Because I know I have two people who love me.”