15-year-old Collin Clabaugh moved in with his grandparents at Willow Creek in Prescott, Arizona, after his parents tragically passed away weeks apart.
An Arizona homeowner’s association is being criticized for forcing an orphaned teenager to move out of his grandparent's retirement community. According to a report by ABC affiliate KNXV, the blow was intensified as 15-year-old Collin Clabaugh had moved in with his grandparents at Willow Creek in Prescott after his parents tragically passed away weeks apart. And while the teen was still trying to cope with the loss of his parents, his grandparents were informed that because Clabaugh is not yet 19, he wouldn't be allowed to stay at the 55+ community.
The family might have to arrange for a new living situation by June 2020, if they wish to continue living with their grandchild. Clabaugh's mother Bonnie passed away in February after suffering from a "long illness," according to her obituary. Two weeks after this tragedy, his father James died by suicide, leaving the teen devastated, wrote James' mother on Facebook. "We didn’t plan this. We didn’t go out all of a sudden one day and say, 'Hey, let’s have Clay kill himself and let’s have Bonnie die, and we’ll take Collin in and to heck with the HOA,'" Melodie Passmore, the teenager's grandmother told KNXV. "It’s not the way it was planned."
The elderly couple has been living happily in the community for the past four years, however, now they are being forced to consider moving out of the place in order to keep their beloved grandson under their care. Speaking about the predicament the family is in, the teen said, "It just seems so heartless that even though we’ve explained our whole situation and everything, it has to be the rule that dictates everything, it can’t be someone’s life." In a letter obtained by KNXV, the lawyer representing the community said although the board was "sympathetic" towards the family's tough situation, they weren't acting outside the scope of the law in restricting children from living in the area.
Shame on you Gardens at Willow Creek in Prescott -- 55+ Community in Arizona Forces Out Teen Living with Grandparents After P...https://t.co/vpDaaEp7Sb— Bonnie Richley (@BonnieRichley) 15 January 2020
In a separate statement, the board revealed that were some members who didn't have a problem with Clabaugh living there and showed their support for the same. However, there were others who didn't feel the same and claimed that letting the boy stay there would "leave [the association] open to legal claims from other residents." The letter, according to PEOPLE, read, "In coming to this decision, please understand that the Association has no ill will towards the Passmores or Collin, nor is it trying to make a difficult family situation more difficult."
People suck!! I hate HOA’s This family has been living a nightmare and the HOA is doing this?— Tara Richardson (@SoulOfAPainter) 16 January 2020
My parents and I moved into a Condo after HS the HOA wouldn’t allow us a ramp so I could get in and out easier as my mobility had declined while living... https://t.co/2iCNoaurr5
Furthermore, it read, "The board must balance the interest of all parties involved, not just the Passmores…" Passmore told the outlet that she and her husband were considering leaving their residence on their own terms, but as they in their 70s moving would definitely be hard for them. "It’s amazing how one rule is more important than one person’s life," said she. Meanwhile, Clabaugh who moved to Arizona from California wishes to remain in Prescott with his grandparents. "I want to be here. ‘Cause I know I have two people who love me," he said.
Elaborating on the difficulties her family is facing, Passmore wrote on Facebook: How many of you can just sell your house and buy a new one and not feel horrible because you have sunk every dime you had into fixing it up. This isn’t a little whiny kid running up and down the street screaming and causing trouble. This is a young man who helps his neighbors and is rarely seen outside of going to and from school. Continuing further, she added: So next time you want to rag on me remember to ask yourself if you have compassion and want to see him happy and living with people who love him or would you rather he be in foster care because some lawyers are trying to push his grandparents around and intimidate us. They allow 19 year olds so allowing him under special circumstances for a couple more years isn’t the end of the world.