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CCOC Decision Summary

#41-09, Beebe v. The Oranges HOA #41-09 (July 23, 2010) (Panel: Burgess, Garcia, Molloy)

Beebe appealed the HOA board's refusal to allow her to install fabric awnings on the front of her home.  She argued that the board's decision was unreasonable, that the board enforced the rules inconsistently because it allowed other awnings, and because that the board failed to deny her request in a timely fashion.

The evidence at the hearing showed that Beebe had installed several cloth awnings without permission. The board ordered her to remove them, which she did.  She then filed a complaint with the Commission.  While the case was pending she offered to install the awnings only during the summer months and to remove them during other months; the board did not specifically respond to this request within 30 days.  There was one awning in the community approved by the board and it was a metal awning installed on the rear of the house over a sliding glass door and adjacent patio. The board did not approve other architectural variations referred to by Beebe and was taking action against them.

The hearing panel ruled for the board.  The panel applied the "reasonableness rule" as stated in the 1957 case of Kirkley v. Seipelt, which also involved awnings.  Under this test, a board's decision to enforce an architectural rule must have a reasonable connection to the overall design or plan of the community, be made in good faith, and not arbitrary or inconsistent. No other homes in the community had awnings on their fronts, and the awnings Beebe used significantly changed the appearance of the house. The board had the discretion to preserve a consistent appearance of the houses.  The board had good reason to approve of the one other awning in the community because it was not visible from the street and served a different purpose.  On the issue of waiver by failure to respond, the panel ruled that this did not constitute a new architectural application but was an offer to compromise, and the HOA rule requiring a reply within 30 days did not apply.

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