NORTHWEST HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- Some people in northwest Harris County believe their homeowners association is putting children in danger.
The problem: a tall metal gate to the Champions Point Grove subdivision has been welded shut.
Neighbors claim they weren’t notified that this would be happening right before the start of this school year.
For more than ten years, kids have been using the opening at the back of their subdivision to get to three different schools.
A number of students from Klein Forest High, Wunderlich Intermediate and Greenwood Forest Elementary are now climbing over the locked gate. “I don’t like it because I almost slipped and hit my head on the pointy things,” said elementary student Ayanna Atkins. The alternative is walking almost a mile to and from school each day.
“Most of the people here are saying open the gate, open the gate. So why isn’t the gate being opened,” questioned Klein Forest senior Stephanie Melendez.
Many homeowners said they bought homes in the subdivision because of the easy access to the nearby schools.
“That was the selling point,” said neighbor Miguel Guzman. “Now they have to go all the way around. There are no sidewalks. It is a safety issue.”
Jane Cole with VanMor Properties, Inc. told KHOU the gate was closed because of crime. She said high school students from other neighborhoods were parking in the subdivision and walking to school.
According to Cole, teenagers were loitering in the community after school, using drugs and causing problems. She even recalled the subdivision park being burned down several years ago.
Cole said she could not do an interview because the Homeowners Association President wouldn’t give permission.
KHOU attempted to get a comment from the HOA president.
“I’m done talking to you. I don’t need to grant you an interview. What you can do is submit me a set of questions,” he said.
Champions Point Village Homeowner’s Association vice president Jose Garcia said he disagrees with the gate being locked. He said he was overruled by the HOA president and a second board member who doesn’t live in the subdivision.
“[The kids] they have to walk a mile and it takes 45 minutes when you can see the school is right there,” said Jose Garcia. “The biggest turnout in the history of the board was this past month, and the majority of people wanted the gate open.”
Garcia is now calling for a vote. He believes an unlocked gate doesn’t mean trouble for the neighborhood.
“If that was the case, why aren’t they willing to put it up for a vote. If that were true, the majority of people would say, heck yeah, close the gate,” added Garcia.
The HOA president is yet to reply to a list of written questions submitted by KHOU.