A West Babylon couple have filed a discrimination complaint after their condo association barred their son from riding his bicycle in the complex and threatened them with a $150 fine.
Robert and Angelica Parker said they were recently told their son, Liam, 4, must cease riding his bike outside their home in South Shore Villas on Route 109 or risk being fined.
Robert Parker bought the condo in 2012 and says he thinks the decision is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“If I would have known that kids would be treated this way, I never would’ve bought there,” he said Thursday.
Parker, who said the condo association has prohibited any outdoor play for his son, said he got two letters and a phone call from Marie Dellafranca, condo association vice president and wife of developer and owner Vincent Dellafranca, beginning in May, telling him the fine would be assessed if his son continued to ride his bike on sidewalks and in the parking lot.
Parker, whose wife is from the Dominican Republic and whose son is the only Latino child in the development, said he filed a housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was forwarded to the New York State Division of Human Rights.
Agency representative Manny Kottaram said Thursday that they couldn't confirm or deny the filing of complaints.
Vincent Dellafranca said they received a resident complaint that noisy children were leaving bikes and scooters on sidewalks, with one small child on a bicycle hitting a car. He cited the condo association’s bylaws.
“It doesn’t specifically say in the bylaws children can’t ride bikes,” Dellafranca said. “It’s about the liability and about noise.”
Dellafranca, a grandfather, said he was not against children.
“I understand what it is to have kids be able to play,” he said. “If a complaint comes in and we don’t address it, then we’re damned on the other side.”
His lawyer, Huntington-based Michael Jannuzzi, said complaints were made about three families.
“There was no racial determination as to who was going to get selected,” Jannuzzi said.
He said each of the families was told bikes and scooters could not be used in the common areas.
“The two other families complied with the notice,” Jannuzzi said. “Parker just got defiant.”
Parker said he spoke with other parents who received warning phone calls, but he said they came only after he filed the complaint.
Jannuzzi said the condo association was planning to hold a vote as soon as January for the residents of the 38 units to decide whether the outdoor activities would be permitted.
He defended the Dellafrancas against Parker's claim of discrimination.
“Even more than being told they’re grinches, I think it bothers them even more that someone’s accusing them of being racist when they’re not,” Jannuzzi said.
CLARIFICATION: Robert Parker contends that the condo association at South Shore Villas in West Babylon has prohibited all outdoor play for his 4-year-old son. An earlier version of this story about a discrimination complaint filed by Parker and his wife omitted that detail.