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CCOC Decision Summary

#17-08, InvernessForest Association v. Salamanca (February 25, 2009) (Panel: Friedman, Farrar, Gannon).

The Inverness Forest Association complained that Salamanca had replaced his cedar shake roof with a synthetic roofing material that looked like cedar shakes, in violation of architectural rules that permitted only genuine cedar shake roofs and without permission from Inverness.

The evidence at the hearing showed that Salamanca had replaced his cedar shake roof with "Enviroshake", a synthetic roof intended to look like cedar shakes, without seeking advance permission and in defiance of Inverness's notice to stop the work.Both the Enviroshake roofing and the genuine cedar shake roofs were rated as "Class C" fire-resistant materials, although Enviroshake also manufactured a similar roof rated as "Class A" (which is the most fire-resistant roofing).Inverness's architectural rules allowed only cedar shake roofs.The CCOC Hearing Panel took judicial notice of the fact that the roofing installed by Salamanca was more fire-resistant than the genuine cedar roofing, though they were both "Class C".The Hearing Panel further found that a cedar shake roof never qualifies as a "Class A" roof, unless the roof framing system is modified to include a fireproof sheet under the wood shingles, and that the synthetic shakes appear very similar to the genuine cedar ones.

The Hearing Panel found that Inverness's rule allowing only cedar shake roofs violated Section 22-98 of the Montgomery County Code, which states that no community association can prevent a homeowner from installing a "Class A" fire-resistant roof on his home.Although Salamanca's roof was "Class C" and not "Class A", the rule used by Inverness to prevent that roof was invalid.

The Hearing Panel ordered Inverness to rewrite the relevant architectural rule to conform to Section 22-98.It ordered Salamanca to obey his association's architectural rules by applying for permission to install his new roof, and it ordered Inverness to consider that application in good faith and taking into consideration Section 22-98.

The Hearing Panel retained jurisdiction of the dispute in order to review Inverness's response to Salamanca's application and its revision of its architectural rule.


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