HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A community, wishing to support local police, is at odds with it's homeowners association.
Across the U.S., Americans are using blue ribbons as a sign of support for law enforcement in the wake of numerous recent police-involved shootings. In one Houston-area neighborhood, residents gathered on Thursday afternoon to put those ribbons back up.
"I was born and raised in Cypresswood, I've lived here for 23 years," explained Zachary Karrenbrock, founder of springhappenings.com and organizer of the ribbon tying event. "I'm a firefighter in the area for 7 and a half years and it was an absolute punch in the throat to see that email."
After the recent Dallas police shootings, a resident in Cypresswood tied blue ribbons to trees along the road through his neighborhood. Days later, the homeowners association sent an email to the community asking that the resident come forward and take them down.
"He was a cop so we watched him Monday cut each and every ribbon down off Cypresswood," explained Karrenbrock. "So I made contact with the Precinct 4 Commissioner's Office yesterday and found out that these medians in Cypress are public."
Karrenbrock put out a call on Facebook and on a radio show that morning to put the ribbons back up. An estimated 150 people showed up. They expected to place nearly 600 ribbons.
FOX 26 senior legal analyst Chris Tritico confirmed medians through subdivisions are public right-of-ways. They wouldn't fall under homeowner association jurisdiction unless specified in the deed restrictions for the subdivision -- a document residents were not able to provide us at the time this story was published.
The Cypresswood Community Association asked in its original email about the blue ribbons that residents, "contact us prior to placing signs or tying ribbons along our right-of-ways and community property areas. The Board needs to make sure such gestures are not political, nor offensive to a particular group."
This is where it gets tricky. Tritico says a homeowners association does not have such a right to regulate the content of a community's public expression or speech. That is protected under the 1st Amendment.
FOX 26 News reached out to the Cypresswood Community Association but no one from the organization was available for comment as of Thursday night.
Karrenbrock says his community doesn't want a problem. Just clarity.
"Come up with some standard guideline or policy for the subdivision so we know what to do in the future if something like this happens again," said Karrenbrock of the Cypresswood Community Association.
Residents plan to get more answers at a community meeting with the Cypresswood Community Association on Monday at 7 p.m.