Fight Over Awning Goes Federal

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – NewsRadio 1020 KDKA’s Mike Pintek talks with Jaime Snyder, a Squirrel Hill mother, who on Thursday sued her neighborhood association in federal court for preventing her family from constructing a retractable awning on their home.

Mrs. Snyder and her husband, Dan Snyder, have an 18-month-old son with glaucoma.  The couple says that an awning would help protect their child from the sun, which is painful to him.

“He was born with a condition called congenital glaucoma in his right eye which makes him extraordinarily light-sensitive,” Snyder said. “And so we requested to the homeowners association – we asked them if we could put a retractable awning on our second-floor balcony and they came back and denied us our request and we even provided medical notes from doctors saying why it’s necessary and they still went ahead and denied us.”

“He’s absolutely disabled and according to the Fair Housing Act, we are permitted to make reasonable modifications to our house for him to enjoy his entire dwelling,” Snyder said.

Ms. Snyder and her attorney, Beverly Block, explain to Mike why they think the homeowner’s association should be compelled to grant permission for an awning by the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act.

“Their position is they don’t want any sort of modifications that go against what they see in their mind as the aesthetic of the neighborhood and so they felt sort of visually offended by the idea of an awning,” Block said of the homeowners association.

“To put a finer point on the law, the issue is when you have a disabled resident, you really have to apply a different test than, ‘Okay, but I don’t like the way it looks aesthetically.’

“You need to look at it sort of with much more sensitivity and detail and say, ‘Okay, is this a reasonable modification and should I really make this accommodation because it’s a reasonable request?’” Block added.

“The fact that there was nothing on the books prohibiting the awning, coupled with the fact that this is a disabled child and not your run-of-the-mill resident, it’s really baffling that the modification was not allowed.”

Listen to Mike Pintek every weekday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA!

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One Comment

  1. Dave says:

    This is a prime example of why people should NOT move into a plan that is run by an association. It’s like a dictatorship – a group of board members decide what THEY will and won’t permit in a neighborhood! Who are they??? These people pay a mortgage just like everyone else, and they should have the right to do with their property what they want, as long as it is within the City’s code. This little boy has enough propblems without the association’s disdain and ignorance.

    1. Bryan says:

      That is exactly why I would never move to a plan.

    2. Wendy Miles says:


  2. What's WRONG with You People says:

    Give the family an awning, for God’s sake. What would you do if it were YOUR kid? She’s not asking to display a Christmas Tree. Give the kid an awning and shut up.

  3. Chris says:

    Agree. Actually, what she should do is just put the awning up. This places the burden upon the Association to file the lawsuit, and start incurring the legal costs involved. Chances are they will walk away.

  4. joe gants says:

    c-mon we have enough problem in this world, i hope the judge will see things on there siide, its not like we have 12 months of summer in pgh, my god 6 months out of the year, good luck my little fellow!!!

  5. Bryan says:

    I would NEVER move to a housing plan and I don’t understand why anyone would want to. Why would you allow others to determine what you are allowed and not allowed to do on your own property.

    1. Susan Mueller-Bissell says:

      I agree with you Bryan, I wouldn’t want to live in a housing plan where they dictate what you can and can not do to your property. So now we have a little boy with special needs and THEY, the Homeowners Association, get to decide if YOU can have a retractable awning. I guess that’s why ass is in the word Association.

  6. dan says:

    Would anybody question his diability if he were missing an arm or leg?

  7. Bea says:

    In these stories, I never see the neighborhood association’s name. It is part of a lawsuit, so I am sure ti can be released. Tell us what it is, so that people can avoid purchasing there. Who wants to live where “aesthetics” are more important than a child and the people are that heartless.

  8. Clem says:

    Gues that means we have to take down the Welcome Race Fans from our balcony

  9. bruceUSA says:

    This sort of thing goes on all the time in California. It’s simple, If you don’t want to abide by the C C & R’s don’t move there

Comments are closed.

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