#35-06, Castlegate Townhouse Association, Inc., v. Greenfield (April 25, 2007) (Panel: Thorpe, Negro, Williams)
The townhouse association (TA) complained that the townhouse owner (TO) had built a deck of white vinyl in violation of community rules requiring that all decks either be of wood or have a natural wood appearance.
The evidence at the hearing showed that the TO constructed a deck behind his home without applying for permission from the TA, and that the deck did not meet the community's rules, which required prior approval for all changes to the exterior of the homes, and which also required that decks be built with pretreated wood or of a natural wood color.The TO constructed his deck of white vinyl in spite of a request from the TA that he stop work.The community rules required that architectural requests be submitted to a committee of 3 members, whose decisions could be appealed to the board of directors.However, the architectural committee was never appointed, and the notice of violation gave the TO the right to a hearing with the board.After a hearing which the TO attended, the board voted to deny approval to the deck.
The hearing panel ruled that the community rules on deck appearance were reasonable and valid under its governing documents and that the TO violated the rules by not obtaining permission for the deck and by constructing it in a way that did not meet the architectural standards.The panel further ruled that the lack of an architectural committee was harmless, because the governing documents gave the board the right to make final decisions on architectural disputes and the board did make the final decision in this case; moreover, the TO never made this objection to the board before the board filed this complaint with the Commission.
The panel ordered the TO to submit a architectural application to the board within 30 days showing what changes he proposed to make to his deck to make it comply with the community standards; and it further ordered him to make the changes required by the board within 90 days after the board made its decision.The panel ordered the TO to refund the $50 filing fee to the TA.