Veteran says being banned from fitness center by his HOA is 'absurd'

Article and Video Courtesy of FIRST COAST NEWS

By Kenneth Amaro

Published July 27, 2019



JACKSONVILLE — Chris Novello, a decorated disabled combat veteran, lives in a Julington Creek Plantation. It has a Home Owners Association (HOA) and a Community Development District (CDD.)

"They can make life very difficult for you," he said. "I'm a victim."

On July 11 he apparently failed to toe the line.


Novello told On Your Side he was in the fitness center with his 12-year-old. The fitness center has a 13-and-up policy.

He said it lead to a confrontation with staff, and he unleashed an argument laced with expletives.

Novello said he knew he was wrong and quickly followed with an apology.

"I wasn't Christian-like acting the way I did but at the same point when you say you're sorry I expect a response back," he said.

The next day he received a response and it was not what he expected. The CDD sent him a letter banning his privileges at all facilities in the plantation for a year.

"I was a little flabbergasted," he said.

The veteran said he is still trying to understand the harshness of his penalty. He said it was more than going to the fitness center.

"Working out is part of my therapy," said Novello.

On Tuesday, July 23, the CDD board meets and Novello was told he could appeal his ban then. He said he plans to fight it.

"I have a lawyer," he said. "I was told I could not be there."

His HOA and CDD fees total $1,200 a year, which he must still pay.

On Your Side reached out to General Manager Matthew Robert for comment.

He said he was working on a response.

Does the ban apply to him only or his entire household? Was the CDD overreaching? How often are a resident's privileges suspended for a year?

"I think it is absurd," said Novello.

Next week he finds out but said he wanted to share his HOA/CDD experience to say buyer beware.

"When you buy in an HOA you have to walk a straight line," he said.