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CCOC Decision Summary

#78-07, Crabill v. Manchester Farm Community Association (July 22, 2009) (Panel: Burgess, Gelfound, Negro)

The homeowner contested a decision by the HOA that she change the color of her fence, deck and shed, and that she either move the shed under her deck or rebuild it so that it was not higher than her fence.  The homeowner argued that she was the victim of discriminatory enforcement because there were other sheds like hers, because it would create a fire hazard if she moved the shed under her deck were it would be near the gas meter, and because the colors she used were the original colors of her home.  She also argued that at the time she added the shed and repainted the fence and shed, the Architectural Guidelines had not been filed in the HOA Depository and could not be enforced against her.

The evidence at the hearing showed that neither the colors used by the homeowner nor the shed itself had been approved by the HOA in advance.  There was no evidence to show that the HOA had permitted any non-conforming sheds; on the contrary the evidence showed that the HOA had taken action against nonconforming sheds of which it was aware, and the other sheds referred to by the homeowner were not located within the boundaries of the HOA and were therefore irrelevant. 

The hearing panel found that although the Architectural Guidelines had in fact not been filed at the time the homeowner did her work, and were therefore unenforceable, she was still bound by the Covenants which required approval in advance for all changes to the lot.  In addition, while the case was pending, the HOA did file the Guidelines in the Depository and they therefore became enforceable.  The panel also found that even if the colors used by the homeowner were the original colors of the house, the fact remained that they were not the colors on the house when the homeowner bought the lot; and the Covenants required her to obtain approval for all changes she wanted to make.

The panel ordered the homeowner to submit an architectural change request to show what colors she would use to repaint her fence, deck and shed, and how she would rebuild or move her shed in order to make it comply with the rules.

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