“The Board expects the Passmores to be in compliance with the Association’s age restrictions by June 30, 2020,” a Dec. 10 letter, reported by KNXV-TV, said. “In other words, they expect that the Passmores will have made alternative living arrangements for Collin by that date.”
The demand for Collin to move out shocked the family. The Gardens & Courtyards at Willow Creek, a 55-and-over housing community, bars residents younger than 19. The grandparents appealed to the HOA board, but the association said it “must balance the interest of all parties involved, not just the Passmores.”
“We let them know all the circumstances, but they still are stuck to that rule. And I don’t think that’s the right thing to do morally,” Collin told the Arizona Republic. “If I was in that position, I wouldn’t say you have to get out because it’s the rule. I’d make an exception for anyone who needed an exception.”
The association told the Passmores in letters that making an exception could open up the housing community to legal challenges from other residents.
“I just wish that they would show a little compassion,” Melodie Passmore told the Republic. “He doesn’t cause problems. How is it hurting them?”
Collin’s mother, Bonnie Clabaugh, died after struggling with an illness in a California hospital last year, Passmore said. Her husband, the Passmores’s son, killed himself two weeks later.
Shortly after that, Collin moved to Arizona to live with his grandparents.
His grandmother told the Republic that Collin is a helpful teen who has done yard work for neighbors, put up Christmas lights at a nearby house and cleaned windows at the local church.
“This isn’t a little whiney kid running up and down the street screaming and causing trouble,” she said on Facebook. “This is a young man who helps his neighbors and is rarely seen outside of going to and from school.”
One neighbor told the newspaper she supports the Passmores and hopes Collin will get to stay in their home. She said she testified at an association meeting to plead for the community to make an exception to its age restrictions so the boy could stay.
“They are the best neighbors you can imagine,” Nancy Hillerman told the Republic. “He’s had to move to a new school and new city and start all over again and now he knows they’re going to have to move. That’s a big burden to put on a 15-year-old.”
The Passmores bought their house on Iris Lane four years ago, planning for it to be their last home. They installed custom blue tiling in the bathroom and planted vegetables in the garden. On Facebook, Melodie Passmore shares photos of improvements the couple has made to home.
She told KNXV-TV the family plans to talk to a real estate agent if the homeowners association forces Collin out by the end of June, but moving would be a tough prospect for the couple.
“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,” she said on Facebook this week.
After news of the conflict was first reported by azfamily.com this week, the association appeared open to talking with the Passmores about how to remedy the situation.
“The board of directors of the Gardens at Willow Creek is deeply saddened by the circumstances the Passmores’ are dealing with related to the loss of their loved ones,” the association said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The Gardens at Willow Creek legal counsel and legal counsel for the Passmores have been in contact, and the board is working with the Passmores to resolve this matter.”
Collin said he wants to keep living with his grandparents in their Prescott home.
“I want to be here,” Collin told azfamily.com. “'Cause I know I have two people who love me.”