Blind man fights HOA over fence blocking him from bus stop

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A blind man is suing his homeowner’s association after a fence they put up blocked his access to public transportation.

Chris Prentice has been waging this fight for more than two years, and has now filed a lawsuit.

Prentice said he bought his home in the Berdoll Farms neighborhood in Del Valle because of the access to public transportation.  When the subdivision was initially built, there were several gates in the fence surrounding the neighborhood. Those gates allowed residents to walk through to the public CapMetro bus stops.

But after several break-ins in the neighborhood, the HOA erected a high fence to stop people from walking through.

Prentice appealed several times to his HOA to replace the gate. The removal of that gate access means he has to walk all the way around to the bus stop, which he said is close to a mile.

The City of Austin was also involved in the battle at one time. In 2012, the city sent a violation letter to the Berdoll Farms HOA saying, “the sidewalk connections adjacent to the Del Valle ISD property (where the bus stop is located) required the HOA maintain the sidewalk connections.” It went on to say, “the closure of these connections is a violation of the conditions under which the original subdivision was approved and restricts accessibility of transit facilities by disabled residents.”

Prentice filed his lawsuit April 6. The HOA has hired the Weichart Law Firm to represent them in court. The firm did not respond to our questions Monday.  The case is expected to go in front of a judge in May.

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