Vet's house to be built elsewhere

Homes for Our Troops says it will look at other places for Gittenses

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Homes for Our Troops formally announced at a news conference Tuesday that it would not build a home for paralyzed veteran Sean Gittens in Knob Hill subdivision in Evans.

Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens is flanked by his daughter Shawna Gittens, left, and wife Sharon Gittens during a press conference announcing their decision not to build a home in the Knob Hill subdivision, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in Evans, Ga.
Sgt. 1st Class Sean Gittens is flanked by his daughter Shawna Gittens, left, and wife Sharon Gittens during a press conference announcing their decision not to build a home in the Knob Hill subdivision, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in Evans, Ga.

Standing next to the Gittens family at the site where the home would have been built last weekend, the group's founder, John Gonsalves, said he was sad to see an empty lot instead.

Homes for Our Troops has built homes free of charge for more than 100 severely disabled veterans nationwide. Gonsalves said it's the first time construction has been blocked by a homeowners association.

"We know that this in no way is a reflection on the community of Knob Hill and the people that live in here. ... We do this all over the country, and we know that the American people are behind it," Gonsalves said.

He said he would remain in Georgia for a few more days to talk with other developers who have stepped forward.

The Knob Hill Property Owners Association board members did not attend the news conference. The board's president sent his regrets by e-mail, Gonvalves said.

The association had blocked construction of the Gittens home after months of negotiations because it believed the house would lower property values. Homes for Our Troops said it would continue to work to get a design approved, but left the decision up to the family, which currently rents a house in the subdivision.

"I didn't want to put any kind of pressure on the family to think that because we had already bought this lot, that this was the end game, that it had to be here," Gonsalves said. "I couldn't live with my own conscience if I did that. ... They need to feel fine with where it is that we are going to build this home."

Sharon Gittens, Sean's wife, had said Monday that the family decided not to stay in Knob Hill because they did not feel welcome. At the news conference, she said she was ready to put the situation behind her and thanked neighbors who had supported her family.

Asked about the association, she said, "I think if this was important to them, at least one representative from the board would have been here today."

Comments (9) Add comment
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PR
0
Points
PR 06/29/11 - 02:17 am
0
0
Knob Hill HOA are bigots.
Unpublished

Knob Hill HOA are bigots.

Tinkerbell
12
Points
Tinkerbell 06/29/11 - 03:30 am
0
0
PR...careful with the names.

PR...careful with the names. AC staff will delete you. Or it could only be for certain people on here.

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 06/29/11 - 04:58 am
0
0
And the 1st stone is cast.

And the 1st stone is cast. Praying for all involved, and for the Gittens family's future well-being.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 06/29/11 - 07:27 am
0
0
While I think they should be

While I think they should be able to build wherever they want. There is a homeowners association and all construction and design has to be in keeping with the guidlines agreed to in the covenants. Mr. Gonzalas has still not sent a copy of the email approving construction because I doubt he has it.

scoobynews
3824
Points
scoobynews 06/29/11 - 07:28 am
0
0
I think this was an example

I think this was an example of it is ok to rent but we don't want you here for the long haul. I like the last statement and think it pretty much sums up this whole situation.

charker
9
Points
charker 06/29/11 - 07:37 am
0
0
I think this is repulsive,

I think this is repulsive, disgraceful, and down right ignorant! These people are worried about property values. Do the residents of this subdivision not understand that without brave men like this one. That have sacrificed so much for our country to protect our freedoms. Freedoms like the right to own property and you disgrace this man this way. You should be ashamed!

mudfunk
16
Points
mudfunk 06/29/11 - 08:30 am
0
0
Every poster on this article

Every poster on this article is concerned with property values. Use your brain. You wouldn't want an oil refinery built next to your house or a Circle K. The City acts as an HOA and prevents this from happening on your behalf. If the city wanted to put a garbage dump in your neighborhood in the name of a VETERAN, you would allow it? No, you wouldn't.

This is not about veterans. We owe them more than they get. Get upset about ridiculously small death benefits for one.

scoobynews
3824
Points
scoobynews 06/29/11 - 09:28 am
0
0
Property values over the

Property values over the comfort of a man's life!!! Hummmm maybe this is what is wrong with us here in America. I saw the house design just like everyone else. It looked way better than any house I have ever lived in. I have 1,000 less square feet also but yet this almost 2,700 square foot brand new house was going to make these homes value plumment?? Really? This is no doublewide trailer we are talking about here we are talking about a brand new home not a garbage dump? Why use that as an example. Don't you think that is going a little too far trying to stretch an excuse for these folks. The fact that no one from the HOA showed up to the news conference pretty much sums up their attitude. They could have worked harder to come up with a solution to this problem rather than wait until the lot was cleared then all of a sudden it is a no go. I am sick of the whole mentality of some of the fine folks that live in CC. All your cars, boats, big houses, jewels, and bank accounts aren't going to get you into Heaven!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 06/29/11 - 10:14 am
0
0
Renting is o.k. but we don't
Unpublished

Renting is o.k. but we don't actually want you to "live" here.

This is a shame.
This is a shame.
This is a shame.

And NO ONE from the HOA showed up....really?!

jauntez- did you read the comments?!? WOW! And I thought the AC posters were crazy...

AAQueen
18
Points
AAQueen 06/29/11 - 01:19 pm
0
0
MUDFUNK Dont compare Apples

MUDFUNK Dont compare Apples and Oranges. And it is about veterans because that is something that can never be taken away from Mr Gittens, being a veteran.

BamaMan
2246
Points
BamaMan 06/29/11 - 02:32 pm
0
0
Exactly. Apples and Oranges.

Exactly. Apples and Oranges. Veteran has NOTHING to do with neighborhood covenants, which are conceived for protection of just anything being built in a neighborhood. ANYONE should have to abide by covenants. EVERYONE. Has nothing to do with he being a veteran. No one else would have gotten this media attention. I for one also have my greatest thanks for the men/women protecting us in this terrible world, but rules are rules, and should be followed. Otherwise, why make them?

justthefacts
21089
Points
justthefacts 06/29/11 - 02:36 pm
0
0
Bama, follow the rules???

Bama, follow the rules??? That's just crazy talk.

NW_Eagle
0
Points
NW_Eagle 06/30/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
As the president of an HOA, I

As the president of an HOA, I find this disheartening on several levels. I followed the AOL link provided by juantez which had much more information.

First, it makes the rest of us look bad. Most homeowner associations would have handled this differently. I know mine would have.

Second, it appears the real issue here was related to obtaining the appropriate approvals. The home size and design appears to meet or exceeds the HOA requirements, so having the board's approval benefits the homeowner in the event something is called into question. But in a case like this where it is an opportunity to do something good, why would the Knob Hill board not work with Homes For Our Troops to shepherd them through the process?

Last, there's the possibility of something more sinister here where the neighborhood could be trying to push the Gittens family out on a technicality. We can all agree that is just plain wrong.

In the end, the Knob Hill HOA missed an opportunity. I'm located in the Northwest, but if the Gittens family wishes to build in my HOA, we would be thrilled to have them. Hopefully other associations in the Evans area are jumping at the chance to do something good for a veteran who made a huge sacrifice in defending the very freedom we as associations--and citizens--take for granted.

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