Homeowners association changes decision after denying 6-year-old with leukemia's Make-A-Wish playhouse

RAYMORE, MO -- The parents of a young girl with leukemia want to build their daughter a playhouse, but they've been blocked by their homeowners association.

Pete and Jennifer Schultz, who live in the Kansas City, Missouri, suburb of Raymore, say they need the playhouse for their 6-year-old daughter, Ella Joe, because her health keeps her from playing with other children.

"She's earned this - she deserves it," Pete Schultz said, according to The Kansas City Star. "She can't get out and play with other kids. This playhouse is what she would have. Is it really going to hurt someone?"

The homeowners group released a statement on its website, saying the proposal for a "barn-style" playhouse was denied because it didn't have enough details to merit an exemption.

"Our hearts are with Ella Schultz and her family as they battle this terrible illness," it read.

Stacy Bayers, Stone Gate Homeowner's Association board president, told KCTV, "The proposed plan they've given us is a violation of our covenants."

Bayers refused to discuss the topic further, saying the board wants to talk over the decision some more.

The Stonegate of the Good Ranch is committed to working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation "to see if we can figure out a way to make Ella's wish come true," and the group has requested additional information from the charity and a construction company that has committed to building the play house.

An email to the homeowners association from The Associated Press seeking further comment wasn't immediately returned.

As this plays out, Ella Joe has been in the hospital fighting complications from her cancer. University of Kansas Hospital spokesman Bob Hallinan confirmed that she remained in the hospital Thursday afternoon.

The Schultz's neighbors have rallied around the family before, including last year, when after spending several months in the hospital, Ella Joe came home to a neighborhood parade.

Neighbors like Brett Greble support making an exception in Ella's case. "I want to look out the window and see Ella happy."

Update: The Stonegate Homeowners has reached out with the following statement: "Today, we are happy to share that we have reached a positive resolution to ensure Ella's playhouse will be constructed. Our board met with J.E. Dunn Construction and Make a Wish to gather additional information, and while we still have a few details and timelines to work out, we collectively reached the conclusion that Ella will get her wish. We couldn't be more pleased to see that happen."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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