Colo. community tries to ban sidewalk chalk art!

Filed under “Really?!,” a community is Colorado is trying to ban children’s chalk sidewalk drawings saying it’s messing up the aesthetic of the community!

From The Huffington Post:

“A Colorado community is trying to stop local children from coloring on their pristine sidewalks, CBS4 Denver reports. Specifically, the Denver neighborhood of Stapleton wants 3-year-old Emerson Cohen to stop scribbling….”

“Some Stapleton residents believe that Emerson’s chalk art makes the communal area less pleasant for others, but Emerson’s mom disagrees: “She’s not bothering anyone,” Cohen told CBS. ‘It’s actually pretty neat — she’s learning how to spell her name.’ ”

“The ban will ultimately need to be approved or rejected by Cohen’s Stapleton neighbors…”

“While this isn’t the first time chalk has created controversy — it was a tool used in the Occupy Wall Street movement to spread the “99%” message — the backlash from the community in response to Cohen’s daughter’s doodles has surprised her.”

I could see if it was the color bubbles that don’t wash off, but the sidewalk chalk will wash away! What if they don’t get a lot of rain? Should the child just be limited to her parents’ driveway? Hmm…

So what do you think? Sidewalk chalk evil or a lovely childhood tradition that doesn’t involve computers or cell phones?

36 comments Add your comment

FCM

June 20th, 2012
12:02 pm

BOOOOO to the people of Stapleton!

TWG I have not forgotten but my batt died and I do not want to email from work.

Scotty

June 20th, 2012
12:20 pm

This is just silly. She is a three year old playing with sidewalk chalk, learning to write her name for goodness sake. Who is she really hurting? It’ll wash off in the rain and if someone really takes offense to it they could get a bucket of water.

mom2alex&max

June 20th, 2012
1:01 pm

I think it’s a great reason not to live in tight butt home owner associations like that one. I have seen them all: garage doors must be closed, bushes must be trimmed, only 1 type of grass allowed, curtains facing the street must be of a certain kind, blah blah blah blah.

I will never live in a place that has those kinds of rules in place. Property values ain’t worth violation of my liberties.

Class of 2000

June 20th, 2012
1:07 pm

We got a citation from our HOA for our kids sidewalk chalk on our driveway! Seriously people to need to relax if they don’t like it throw a bucket of water on it, problem solved.

Voice of Reason

June 20th, 2012
1:09 pm

Because sidewalk chalk is a gateway to spray painting the neighbor’s fence with gang colors?

missnadine

June 20th, 2012
1:15 pm

I can see why it is enforced. The homeowners agreed to the rules when they moved in. There is more to this story, which T did not mention. The issue is that several homeowners share the driveway and sidewalk, so it not just their property. I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but she should have known the rules.

Becky

June 20th, 2012
1:16 pm

Some people need to really get a hobby, a job or maybe just a freaking life..

Aquagirl

June 20th, 2012
1:17 pm

Oh, lordy, another outraged parent who calls the media over their oppressed child. Usually there’s more to these stories but if that came out it wouldn’t be easy bait for angry readers.

Let’s think about his logically…a 3 year old doesn’t have great discernment in artistic mediums. How many of us have bought paint after our kids decorated the walls? Do you really think the reporter would mention if the kid is drawing on cars or anything else? Maybe mom could ask the kid to stay away from Mrs. McCranky’s house?

It’s an absolute tempest in a teapot, and I’m not jumping to conclusions based on a one-sided story. I’ve read too much yellow journalism about kids being handcuffed, kicked off planes, etc. Usually there are circumstances the parent “forgets” to mention. But that would ruin the outrage of the day, wouldn’t it?

Jess

June 20th, 2012
1:23 pm

It doesn’t rain much in Colorado. They average 300 sunny days a year so I could see why people don’t want some crappy drawing all over the sidewalk. Just because Mommy thinks her kid’s “art” is cute doesn’t mean the rest of us do.

Becky

June 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

@Jess..Really..I sure hope that you don’t have kids..How ugly can chalk art that a child does be? IMO, be it ever so humble..NO art work by children that young is ugly…My child or not..

What has happened to letting kids be kids? Oh, that’s right, people want them to be kids, just not around them..Let them play with the simple things in life and the adults need to have a drink and relax…

catlady

June 20th, 2012
2:06 pm

This seems sad to me. I love to see what little kids come up with. It is a tradition at our school for the last week of school, to decorate the blacktop and sidewalks. The F word and gang marks, no, but what can a 3 year old do?

So saying, if they live in a place with HOA agreements, then they have to follow them, or petition to have it dropped. Don’t live in a place where you are not comfortable.

Perhaps mom can put an easel in place for the child to use.

catlady

June 20th, 2012
2:07 pm

And if they have a shared driveway, etc, then mom should secure the okay from her neighbors. No okay? Limit it to your area.

JOD

June 20th, 2012
2:10 pm

And I thought my old HOA was uptight! DD loves to draw on our driveway, and knowing my current HOA (which I’m on), they wouldn’t care if she and other kids wrote all over the street. Ironically, it’s a much more upscale neighborhood.

It’s entirely possible there is more to the story, but at the end of the day, we’re talking about chalk on the sidewalk. Seems like a mountain out of a molehill.

Aquagirl

June 20th, 2012
2:29 pm

Seems like a mountain out of a molehill.

Yes, a mountain created by angry mom calling the local TV station. Jerks like that usually self-identify.

A

June 20th, 2012
2:37 pm

If the HOA rules clearly stated no sidewalk chalk before this family moved in, then they can’t complain. A lot of residents don’t bother to read their HOA rules before buying a house, and then they get up in arms. If you don’t like the rules, live elsewhere. It’s very simple.

Augusta

June 20th, 2012
2:43 pm

HOA is nothing more than bored housewives who have henpecked their husbands to death, and need something/someone else to focus on. Neighborhood Nazis……

They would have a field day in our ‘hood. All the kids in our immediate area love sidewalk chalk. It’s on our driveways, sidwalks and the streets…..we have had several people stop and admire. The kids love it when it rains and washes everything away. Then they have a “clean canvas”……

Fred ™

June 20th, 2012
3:20 pm

Only an asshat would make a big deal about this, but apparently there are a lot of asshats on this blog. So how ya doing missnadine, Aquagirl, Jess, catlady, A? Pulled the wings of any flies lately? Prosecuted any kids for (oh my god) acting like kds?

Anyone worried about some chalk on a driveway is just an asshat, oh wait, I already said that.

What is WRONG with you people?

JOD

June 20th, 2012
3:27 pm

So it doesn’t appear the HOA is so retentive as to specifically outlaw sidewalk chalk, but they have a covenant regarding common areas that is so non-specific as to allow all sorts of complaints not addressed elsewhere in the documentation: “because it is a shared space, anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed.”

I’m not sure what this ‘common area’ is, but I personally like to have DD decorating closer to home at 4 years old.

@Augusta – I respectfully disagree, although it depends on the neighborhood to a large extent. Our HOA is pretty relaxed compared to our old neighborhood; we focus on community events, community property maintenance, and trying to monitor any changes that impact grading or other potential cross-property issues.

JOD

June 20th, 2012
3:31 pm

Not that said cross-property issues occur frequently in our tiny neighborhood :o) The biggest issue I’ve had to deal with is people complaining about vehicles parked on the street and blocking driveways!

FCM

June 20th, 2012
3:39 pm

My younger one got chalk for a birthday. The party was in a public park near the back. The kids took turns drawing outlines of each other on the sidewalk. When they moved off lots of people stopped to look at that funny “deadman” outlines on the ground. Nobody thought kids having fun in a park was graffitti or stupid.

Aquagirl

June 20th, 2012
3:55 pm

What is WRONG with you people?

Well, since I understand it’s probably not about chalk drawings in a driveway, my fault seems to be literacy and resistance to manipulative parents and lazy journalists. I made the terrible, terrible mistake of reading the story, watching the original video and applying some thought and common sense before squealing SIDEWALK CHALK NAZIS!!!111!!!!! in response to Theresa’s third hand rotted chum.

My guess is that there’s more than one a-hole in this story, given that most people don’t escalate minor disputes to the 6 o’clock news. They might actually wait for the meeting that the HOA convenes to solve the situation. Really, who is the jerk here…someone petty enough to complain about sidewalk chalk, or someone petty enough to call a press conference over sidewalk chalk?

However, if you prefer being played like a violin, have at it. There’s no shortage of these kinds of dumb one-sided stories, all aimed at folks like you. The world is your oyster. They love you, Fred. Dance for them.

A

June 20th, 2012
4:11 pm

@Fred trademarked, I could not care less about sidewalk chalk. I was saying if something is against HOA rules that you don’t agree with, it’s simple…don’t move to that neighborhood. If you want strict control, by all means move somewhere with a strong HOA; if you don’t, then don’t!

Native Atlantan

June 20th, 2012
4:36 pm

Yeah…my mother let us “be kids” (all 6 of us) as long as it was in our house and our yard. We weren’t allowed to “be kids” on common, shared or public property….as it should be. And I’m a bleeding heart liberal.

FCM

June 20th, 2012
4:48 pm

Mine draw on the sidewalk in front of the house that is technically public access, and of course I let them draw that day at the park. I also put a penny on a train track once.

I guess I am rebel with no regard to rules….who knew?

As to HOA…we have one. They don’t enforce anything, nor are dues mandatory.

I think it all depends…a friend of mine’s HOA had a problem that their son parked his pick up in their drive (ie the kid’s home). Where is he supposed to park? They said pick up trucks were not in keeping with what they wanted people to think. Um, ok…I’ll get a bondoed 1996 Honda for him how does that grab ya?

FCM

June 20th, 2012
5:00 pm

THE STORY GOT UPDATED….it appears Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton a sub-association of the Stapleton MCA (Master Community Association) filed the complaint. No neighbors have said anything to the parent.

Aquagirl

June 20th, 2012
5:09 pm

THE STORY GOT UPDATED

Link? If you’re reading the story from the Denver CBS station, it includes a correction that a sub-association has filed the complaint, instead of the main association. That doesn’t mean that the sub-association wasn’t responding to a homeowners’ complaint, it’s just a technical clarification of what group is handling the complaint.

homeschooler

June 20th, 2012
7:17 pm

I agree with Native Atlantan. To me this is no different than a noisy child in a restaurant. Yes, the child is being a child but it is up to the parent to ensure that child does not bother others. Even others who might be unreasonable. If someone said something about this child’s art, the mother should have instructed the child to keep the art closer to or at home.
I, personally, would love to have a neighborhood street entirely decorated with sidewalk chalk but some people want, and pay for, a neighborhood to look more sophisticated and upscale. Their expectations may be high but that is their right if it is agreed upon by the majority of the homeowners and/or is written in the covenents of that community. .

DB

June 20th, 2012
8:32 pm

Oh, good grief . . . with all the problems this world has to deal with, a kid’s CHALK DRAWING makes headlines? Really? THIS is the hill these people want to die on?

Daaaammmmmnnn.

Sharkgirl

June 21st, 2012
10:15 am

I find this story interesting because I happen to have young kids who love sidewalk chalk. I even went out and bought some but then realized that my neighbors would probably not appreciate their drawing on the public sidewalk – we live in an “upscale” community and many homeowners do not have children. So instead we pack the chalk when we go to the playgound parks, where kids’ sidewalk art can always be found and appreciated.

I don’t know why its such a big deal for the mother to just take the chalk to a more appropriate place. Or she can take a picture of it and then thrown a bucket of water over it herself when her child is done. If the neighborhood has a look of uniformity, I can see why homeowners wouldn’t want random scribbles on the sidewalk (I have a 3 year old so I know what they are capable of).

Denise

June 21st, 2012
3:20 pm

I didn’t think this was a big deal until I read that the mother said she was going to let her daughter keep doing it anyway, even after being asked to stop. See, this may be something small, but there is always someone that thinks a rule does not apply to them and that ticks me off. Who cares if the rule makes sense? (It doesn’t.) Folks just can’t go breaking rules they don’t like. What is going to happen the next time someone dislikes a rule that really does infringe on others’ privacy or rights? Do they get to go on the news and say they are going to do it anyway?

Again….I think this is STUPID but once you have one person deciding what does not apply to them, you open the door for others to do the same and eventually you will have a real problem that everyone is going to be confused by….”how did THIS happen in OUR neighborhood?”

Ann

June 21st, 2012
6:25 pm

@ Denise – It is important, though, to also teach your children when it is “right” to break a rule, using examples in history – such as protecting Jewish families in Nazi Germany. And, teach your child how to speak out or protest a rule that is unfair or unreasonable. I would not want my child to think all rules must always be followed no matter what.

In this particular case, the mom should go through the appropriate channels to attempt to get the rules changed, with petitions, etc. She could involve her child in those efforts by “drawing” a protest sign and use the experience as a way of teaching lessons about governance and democracy. My son, when he had just turned five, participated in a neighborhood campaign distributing flyers and a rally regarding a neighborhood cell tower issue and he wound up on the television news and in the newspaper holding his personally painted sign. He understood the issues and listened to a city council hearing that lasted over 2 hours. It was a great learning opportunity.

See

June 22nd, 2012
8:13 am

As a person in a neighborhood, there are just things you will have to put up with; laughing children, noisy dogs, tacky yard nomes…an HOA cannot think of all the scenerios which a person might find annoying. Trying to eliminate them all only makes a miserable experience for everyone involved. If a person is going to be bothered by sidewalk chalk, then that person should buy a house in the middle of at least 5 acres of property. Then, that person can be as persnickety as he or she wants without taking the joy out of everyone else’s day.

Denise

June 22nd, 2012
9:48 am

@Ann, I agree. I was just annoyed by the mother’s “I’m going to do it anyway” attitude. It was not about trying to right a wrong. It was “I don’t like it so eff it”, in my view. THAT is not something I would think you’d teach your kids. If it’s possible to change it, then go that route.

Mary

June 22nd, 2012
1:38 pm

Sorry Aquagirl, but these cases are not full of side stuff you’re not hearing about. There are truly a lot of moronic neighbors like these with nothing better to do than stand out in the rain or the snow, or the heat, while your kid plays softball or chalks the street! My neighbors called the cops on us for bicylcling in our cul-de-sac and hosed the hopscotches we made in the street! They stood out leering over us if we took our dolls out in the cul-de-sac to play with. Why do you think families move to cul-de-sacs? Because there are few cars and it is safer for children to play. I say let ‘er practice civil disobedience whatever the HOA says, and let the HOA worry about more important issues!

djm_NC

June 23rd, 2012
12:13 pm

i have never ever figured out why anyone would want to live in a neighborhood where they tell you what you can and cant do. the first time i heard of this was almost 40 years ago-i didnt understand then and still dont. BUT-if you choose to do that then you have to follow the rules. if you like that go for it. personally i just really cant inagine why someone is going to shell out tons of money every month to ‘own’ a house where you are told every move you are allowed to make. blows my mind.

djm_NC

June 23rd, 2012
12:15 pm

and amen @DB.