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CCOC Decision Summary

#829-G, GreencastleLakes Community Association v. Muller (December 27, 2007) (Panel: Sample, Maloney, Negro)

The community association (CA) complained that the homeowners (HO) had constructed a fence without advance permission and in an unapproved style.

The HO promised to make changes to the fence within 6 months, but failed to do so, and the Commission set the dispute for a hearing in August, 2006.Shortly before the hearing the HO submitted an architectural change request to the CA, and the CA requested a continuance of the hearing to consider the request and possible settlement.However, by the following spring, the HO had still not made any changes to the fence nor had they submitted an architectural change request that was fully completed.As a result, the CA again requested a hearing, which the Commission set for July, 2007.Again, shortly before the hearing, the HO notified the Commission that he was unable to attend the July date and asked for a continuance, and the matter was re-set for September, 2007.The HO did not appear at the hearing and did not otherwise give the Commission any defense to the complaint.

The hearing panel found the HO in violation of the architectural rules and ordered him to submit a proper application within 30 days and to comply with the CA's ruling on his application within 30 days after the ruling was issued.Because the facts showed that the HO had delayed the resolution of the case without good reason, and also because the rules of this CA explicitly provided that it could charge the HO with the costs of its attorneys fees in any legal action to correct an architectural violation, the hearing panel found that an award of attorney's fees was proper under Section 10B-13(d) of the Montgomery County Code and ordered the HO to pay $2523 in reasonable attorney's fees to the CA.

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