Article Courtesy of CBS 12
Published January 13, 2023
BOCA RATON — Some homeowners in a Boca Raton subdivision tell CBS12 News that
they are increasingly concerned that some rule enforcement and red tape from
their HOA indicate they are not welcome in their own neighborhood.
The residents didn't want to reveal their identities out of
fear of retaliation, but they tell their stories.
The Avalon development in Boca Raton is about a two-mile
walk to the Boca Raton West Synagogue. Orthodox families had
to walk out to Palmetto Park Road and down Highway 441 to
make it to prayer, until one day a neighbor installed a gate
into his existing fence and allowed the Orthodox Jewish
members in the community to use the gate.
Nearly a dozen Orthodox Jewish families live at the Avalon
in Boca and on the Sabbath, they walk, rather than drive, to
the synagogue as an expression of their devotion to God.
This gate makes that walk shorter and safer for everyone.
"We maintain the custom that we don't use vehicles from
Friday evening through Saturday evening, it's not really an
option, it's just how we live our life," said one neighbor.
But months after the gate was installed, the HOA said, "not
so fast," and slapped the homeowners with a lawsuit, It
claims the gate is a security risk because it creates a
secondary access point to the community, but residents tell
CBS12 News the arguments don't hold water.
Nearly a dozen Orthodox Jewish families live at the
Avalon in Boca and on the Sabbath, they walk, rather than drive, to
the synagogue as an expression of their devotion to God. This gate
makes that walk shorter and safer for everyone.
"You have homes with no fences, homes with short fences and homes with metal
fences," said one resident.
Our crew drove around the subdivision and found cracked
fences and very short fences on the same side of the
development and multiple homes in other areas with no fences
at all. Neighbors say the gate in question is securely
locked when not in use.
"Once we knew this was nothing new to the community other
than Orthodox Jews were using it then we knew it was more
than just, 'Oh, you can't make an adjustment to your
property,'" said another resident.
Avalon’s HOA by-laws regarding property improvements like
gates and fences, as quoted in the lawsuit, are short and
simple, saying in part, "No improvements shall be
constructed, installed, painted, erected, removed, planted
or maintained in or on any lot if the same shall be visible
outside of that lot..."
The gate is not visible from the street or the sidewalk.
So, CBS12 News reached out to the HOA attorney who filed the
lawsuit, Guy Shir. We wanted to know if properties with
partial or no fencing are also being sued over secondary
access points and which bylaws, if any, does the gate
A locked gate in the Avalon subdivision in Boca Raton
is raising concerns about anti-Semitism in the community, reports
Lena Salzbank on January 10, 2023.
Guy Shir emailed that he would address our questions nearly a month ago. He
Shortly after the HOA announced they were suing over the gate, this
anonymous letter from someone claiming to live in Avalon was sent to the
neighboring HOA in Rainberry Park, on the other side of the gate. The letter
points out that nearly a dozen Orthodox Jews are using the path and the gate
right now and warns more will be moving in if it isn’t stopped.
"Why is it so widely accepted that we can voice concern for Orthodox
families, but if you replace that with Muslim families or African American
or insert race here and there would be an immediate distress call to the
media," said a resident.
On Friday, the Parkview Estates HOA Board, which oversees Avalon, reported
to members of the community that someone had filed a complaint with the
Anti-defamation League. The board and their lawyer met with the ADL to
discuss the allegations in the complaint, which they did not describe in
The board says, after that meeting, the ADL closed the complaint.
Meanwhile, the Avalon HOA decided the issue of whether gates should be
allowed along the perimeter of the development should be decided by the
homeowners whose votes must be submitted by Thursday.