A DeBary man is at odds with his homeowner's association over a 7-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty. The DeBary Plantation HOA wants Lon Neuville to remove the patriotic display, but he says he's not going down without a fight.
The property management company says this is not about Lady Liberty; it is about having the same rules for all 1,300 families who live at the subdivision. The homeowner says the HOA approved his statue and then changed its mind, and he will fight to keep it in his yard.
"Several people have told me they liked it. I heard no negative comments at all," Neuville said.
Neuville said he put the statue in his yard in October. The HOA sent him a letter saying he never filled out an application to make a change, so he did that. Neuville claims that, in December, the HOA sent him a letter approving the statue, so he bolted it down.
Then in January, he received another letter from the HOA, stating the previous letter issued the approval in error, and he was required to remove the statue within 14 days. Neuville hired a lawyer.
"He [Neuville's attorney] sees no provision in the HOA laws or rules or whatever they call it, for approving something, and then at a later date, saying 'We issued the approval in error,'" said Neuville.
Paul Palestrini is owner of Soundview Property Management, which manages Neuville's HOA. Palestrini told FOX 35 that the HOA's governing documents do not permit statues outside of homes.
Palestrini added that the company made an error when it sent out the letter approving the Lady Liberty statue. He also said Neuville's application did not say the statue would be wired for electricity, so it failed an inspection.
Neuville remains defiant.
"The statue is going nowhere. It's staying. I don't care what it costs me. I'm not moving that statue. I had the approval, and it was approved. It's staying."
Neuville said he has already spent $1,000 in attorney fees, and he is prepared to go to court.
When FOX 35 asked Palestrini if there's any way the statue could stay, he replied, "I don't see a way."
FOX 35 News will continue to follow this story.