DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A Douglas County family embroiled in a neighborhood dispute over the RV they use for their autistic 12-year-old is finding new support, after our Problem Solver story aired on Monday.
The Lofland family of Perry Park has a prescription from Children’s Hospital of Colorado that states, “An emergency room visit is avoided by using the RV to drive William over rolling hills or bumpy roads, thereby satisfying his need for sensory input … It is required to be onsite as these ‘meltdowns” occur without provocation.”
Jim Cassidy, head of the neighborhood Architectural Control Committee said the RV violates the covenants by staying in the family driveway for more than 48 hours. When we asked if the covenants should apply given Federal Law requires “reasonable accommodations” for the disabled, Cassidy told reporter Rob Low “you’re being used as a fool.”
Since our story, Paul Temaat, the man who heads all eleven architectural control committees throughout Perry Park told FOX31, “I want to make it clear that Perry Park does not support what he (Jim Cassidy) is doing.”
Temaat said he wished Cassidy would back off and stop sending letters telling the Loflands to remove their RV. “He`s way over the top but I`ve dealt with him a number of times and he just doesn`t know how to keep his cool. He doesn`t know how to enforce the rules impartially.”
In addition, the Denver Fair Metro Housing Center has offered to advocate on the little boy’s behalf.
“Saw it on the news and we became concerned about it,” said Kate Quillin, a fair housing specialist, who added, “It`s hard to see somebody with a disability like William struggling to not have a reasonable accommodation for an amenity that would make his life equivalent to somebody without a disability.”
It’s welcome support for William’s mom, Hannah Lofland, who said she received more than a hundred emails supporting her family after the FOX31 story aired. “90 percent of the people said this is not us, we’re great neighbors, we welcome you, what can we do to help?”
Lofland said she didn’t move to Perry Park to pick a fight but she won’t back down either. “The RV is staying and we`re staying so if you don`t like it, then I suggest you move, not make us move.”
Jim Cassidy wasn’t home when we paid him a return visit Friday morning but his wife Lynn Cassidy was and like her husband, insisted the RV didn’t belong in the neighborhood. “Everybody wants to keep their property values up which is why they have covenants, is to keep their property values up.”
The Loflands have filed a Federal Fair Housing Act complaint with The Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD investigators have confirmed they’re looking into the case but have yet to decide if the dispute warrants a federal investigation.