Lakewood Ranch, Florida -- A "reasonable accommodation" is all a Lakewood Ranch father says he wants for his autistic so, but the homeowners association says no.
Michael Groves walks the path his autistic son takes from the front door to the sidewalk stepping on gravel, then grass, then gravel again avoiding the cement driveway.
"He would never go between the vehicles, he's claustrophobic. This here is the safe pathway in his mind," says Groves.
Groves says Ben would trample the grass and he was cited by the HOA, so three years ago he replaced the grass with gravel.
"I'm trying to protect him and still be within the rules," says Groves.
Turns out Groves needed permission when he tried to get it the Summerfield and Riverwalk Village HOA at Lakewood Ranch denied him saying only concrete or concrete pavers are allowed.
"I think HOAs are bullies," says Groves.
Groves turned to HUD alleging the HOA is in violation of the Fair Housing Act. HUD is reviewing the case. Click here to see what your rights are under the Fair Housing Act, or to file a complaint.
"I'm here to stand up to HOAs. People with disabilities have a right to have modifications done," says Groves.
Five days after the HOA decision, Groves heard from their attorney saying his variance request is being reviewed. Groves says that letter from the attorney told him the HOA has done something wrong.
10 News went to the HOA office at the Lakewood Ranch Town Hall to seek answers, but we were referred to their attorney's office. Attorney Rick Weller would not go on camera but told 10 News the case is being reviewed and they will be meeting with the homeowners association board. Weller says it's always possible they may reverse their decision.
In the meantime, Groves' message to the HOA: "Do the right thing, listen with your heart, use compassion -- think of people with disabilities."
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