North Phoenix HOA bans palm trees from front yards, sparks community outcry

There is a growing dispute involving the Homeowner Association (HOA) in a North Phoenix neighborhood.

HOAs get into battles with residents over a variety of matters, from flags to paint and trash. This time, however, the dispute involves palm trees, with the HOA banning palm trees from the front yards of homes in a neighborhood called Tatum Highlands.

Houses in the neighborhood are full of desert landscaping, and dotted with a few small palm trees here and there. Thomas Coletto's home has two little palm trees in the front yard.

"I could understand if, you know, the yard had weeds and it looked ragged, but these palm trees look beautiful," said Coletto.

During summer of 2023, the neighborhood's HOA sent out a list of do's and don’ts pertaining to plants, in which "palm trees of any kind" can be seen in a list of plants that are prohibited.

"My palm tree's been in there now about two years, and I think it’s unethical to ask me to remove something that they’ve allowed for over two years," said Coletto.

The HOA is not beating around the bush, so to speak, as Coletto already has a handful of violation notices, and $200 in fines. Other people living in Coletto's neighborhood have also received fine. One of them has $350 in fines for a tree that was there when he moved in ten years ago. That person has since placed a sign outside,  calling the tree condemned.

"New people here about six months ago, and they came in here and just started putting the hammer down on everybody in the neighborhood," said Joe Barry. "So many different issues. Very critical over the people that live in this neighborhood now."

Both Coletto and Barry said they and others are digging in, refusing to remove their palm trees despite growing fines.

We have reached out to Trestle Management Company for comment, but they have yet to respond. Meanwhile, Barry said he is hoping to start a petition in the area to allow palm trees in front yards.