PORT ORANGE, Fla. – Dozens of homeowners in the Waters Edge community in Port Orange got results after fighting their Homeowners Association to keep a big Christmas tradition going that all started to support a little girl going through a tough time.
The residents told News 6 that despite how they have to start decorating early to get it all done by Christmas, their HOA was telling them to stop.
Amber Mastantuano and her family started the tradition of making their home a Christmas spectacle five years ago.
“Every year we do the Port Orange city light contest. Everybody comes by. My husband, the first two weekends before Christmas, dresses up like Santa, I write back to all of the kids that leave letters in the mailbox. We’ve never, ever had a complaint,” she said.
The Mastantuanos started doing it for their daughter, who had a severe heart condition, wanting to give her the biggest Christmas each year.
“In March, our daughter received her heart transplant and we were absolutely elated because the last 13 years we always wondered if we would have another holiday or birthday,” said Mastantuano.
Other residents quickly jumped on board with going all out and now over a dozen decorate their homes to the point people from around the area pay them a visit to look at the lights.
On Nov. 5, they all received letters from their HOA. It cited a bylaw that says homeowners can only place signs on their lawns 30 days prior to a holiday. The HOA gave them 14 days to take down all of the lights and decorations that they’d put up so far.
Mastantuano said they typically start decorating in the days around Halloween with subtle Christmas lights and then after Halloween, start putting everything up, usually finishing around Thanksgiving.
“I put more lights up,” said resident Geoff Menneto after receiving his letter to stop.
News 6 reached out to the HOA president and management team Friday but did not get a response.
The neighbors said the fight wasn’t over and their Christmas cheer wasn’t going anywhere.
“We’re continuing our tradition. We’re still decorating. We still have a lot to go and that’s what our plan is,” said Mastantuano.
Around 6:50 p.m. on Friday, Menneto told News 6 that the HOA temporarily suspended the violations.
The HOA released a statement, which reads:
Attention Homeowners and Residents,
In light of the concerns expressed during the Open Forum at the November 14th meeting, the Board would like to address the issues raised regarding the time frame for early decorations and the language outlined in the Signs and Flag Policy.
It is imperative to convey that the Board is cognizant of your apprehensions and appreciates your engagement in community matters. We want to assure you that your concerns have been duly noted, and the Board is maintaining an open-minded approach in assessing the requests in the context of the broader community.
No definitive decisions will be reached between now and the Annual Meeting, allowing ample time for a thorough review of the policy. Consequently, any potential violations related solely to holiday decorations will be temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the policy review.
It is essential to highlight that a quorum of the Membership is indispensable for the Annual Meeting to transpire, as it serves as a catalyst for meaningful change.Waters Edge HOA Community Update
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