When Marla Stout put up a new swing set in her family’s backyard, her two daughters pleaded with her to paint it the color of bubblegum. Marla wasn’t a fan of the pink swing set idea, but she agreed to paint it purple.
Now, she and her husband have been threatened with jail time because of it.
According to Fox News, the Stouts painted the swing set two years ago, but it wasn’t until this summer that the Raintree Lake Subdivision Homeowners Association (HOA) decided to make a stink about it.
While there are no distinct rules about swing set colors, the HOA dictates that they must be “harmonious with the community and with nature.” In the HOA’s opinion, the purple swing set wasn’t “in harmony” with the others in the community.
“We got very frustrated,” Marla said. “There’s somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 homes in our community. There’s all kinds of colors. There’s people with bright purple doors. There’s trees that are the color of this swing set.”
Marla and her husband were told that if the swing set wasn’t removed, they would be fined or jailed.
The HOA claimed that the Stouts were in the wrong for not getting their swing set color pre-approved. They tried to dissuade the Stouts from filing a lawsuit, claiming that the costs would be “far greater than any principle [they] are trying to prove.”
But after an initial hearing on August 21, a Missouri judge ruled a week later that the swing set can stay purple. While the Stouts are thrilled with the judge’s decision – they had a barbecue Friday to celebrate – they believe that the HOA should apologize to the entire community.
“It’s been very embarrassing for our community and it’s cost every resident in this community a lot of money and reputation,” Marla said.