HOA reconsiders denial of playhouse for girl battling cancer - KCTV5 News

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HOA reconsiders denial of playhouse for girl battling cancer

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Ella Schultz is just 6 years old and she's already battled a lot in her life. Cancer has wracked her body and she's back at University of Kansas Hospital Tuesday night due to a fever and infection. Ella Schultz is just 6 years old and she's already battled a lot in her life. Cancer has wracked her body and she's back at University of Kansas Hospital Tuesday night due to a fever and infection.
RAYMORE, MO (KCTV) -

Ella Schultz is just 6 years old and she's already battled a lot in her life. Cancer has wracked her body and she's back at University of Kansas Hospital Tuesday night due to a fever and infection.

But she and her family are also battling more than just cancer. They are battling their homeowners association that had rejected her Make-A-Wish dream.

Ella's No. 1 wish is to beat her cancer that has threatened her life and stop the chemotherapy. But her mother, Jennifer, had asked her what she would want beyond that.

"She said, 'A house,'" her mother recalled. "'I want a play one.'"

They worked with Make-A-Wish and the dream was granted. The construction giant, J.E. Dunn, even agreed to build it in their Raymore backyard and ensure the shingles matched those used on homes in the neighborhood.

"Everything seemed to be going fine then we got a phone call: Your HOA will not approve it." Jennifer Schultz recalled.

The Stone Gate Homeowners Association indeed turned down the plans. HOA leaders said building a structure in the backyard would go against the neighborhood's covenants. In response to the national uproar that the decision created, HOA leaders said Wednesday night that they are working to find a compromise.

When the little girl who has bravely battled so much was told she couldn't have her play house, she broke down in tears.

"I just explained to her the reason I'd been on the phone and I had been talking to a lot of people," Schultz said.

Schultz said she doesn't want to stir trouble in her neighborhood, but she said not granting her daughter's wish doesn't seem right.

"What would any of them do if it was their kid? Would you make sure that their child got a wish because we don't know if we have one more day or a lifetime with her," Schultz said.

Board president Stacy Bayers said she didn't want to comment until the board had a chance to again discuss the issue.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss that," Bayers said Tuesday night when asked why it is difficult to make an exception for Ella. "The proposed plan they've given us is a violation of our covenants."

Stone Gate residents said they were troubled by the denial. One man said he would be more upset if he didn't see Ella play in her backyard than the sight of a large playhouse for her.

"Little Ella is darling," Stone Gate resident Brett Greble said. "I think they need to reconsider... I want to look out my window and see Ella happy."

Those supporting #SaveEllasWish are decorating their mail boxes and front porches with the color green.

Since Tuesday, there has been a flood of support from across the United States. A man in Arizona offered to pay any fines imposed by the HOA. Others are offering prayers and urging the HOA leaders to change their minds.

While HOA members refused comment on Wednesday, they did remove the names and phone numbers of board members from the HOA's website. Late Wednesday night, they issued a statement.

The board has met for the better half of the day and at this time we would like to release the following statement.

Our hearts are with Ella Schultz and her family as they battle this terrible illness. Our homeowners' association board is committed to working with Make-A-Wish Foundation and J.E. Dunn to see if we can figure out a way to make Ella's wish come true. The initial request from Make-A-Wish to place a barn-style shed was not accepted because the board did not have enough information to grant an exception to the subdivision's covenants. In hopes of getting enough information, we are requesting an immediate meeting with Make-A-Wish and J.E. Dunn Construction to work out a solution in the most expeditious manner possible.

Officials with the city of Raymore said their phones are ringing off the hook and their inboxes are full. Meredith Hauck, a spokesman for the city, said they have no control over the HOA's actions, but said they support Ella and are willing to do what they can to help facilitate the issue. The Stone Gate Homeowners Association is not in good standing with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office and hasn't been properly registered for four years. It was unclear Wednesday night how that would impact any regulations imposed by the HOA.

The Schultz family said they appreciate the support they have received, and are hoping that the homeowners association members will change their minds. If you want to help with Ella's medical bills or show support, click here.

A petition has been started to help Ella get her playhouse. Click here for information.

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