Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Shed Issue Resolved

Last time we left you we were entangled in a conflict with our HomeOwners’ Association. More specifically…a particular member of the Board of Directors who shall remain nameless.

Well…the story goes like this.

Before we purchased our house last year, we read the protective covenants that stated no sheds. We were fine with that. But over the last year while living here, we have noticed quite a few sheds (probably close to a dozen). With all of the kids stuff, outdoor tools and other things, we really need a shed. Otherwise we can’t park in the garage.

We saw a great deal on a display model shed and purchased it. A nice shed with flower boxes, windows, etc.. It is red, but we plan on painting it to match our house. As you know, the shed wasn’t even off the truck before we had our neighbor coming up to Tanya telling her that sheds aren’t allowed. She politely informs him that he should walk around the neighborhood and notice the many other sheds in the neighborhood. He made a statement of surprise. They placed the shed in the recently landscaped spot we paid $700 to have leveled and graveled.

Fast forward 2 weeks…and we receive a letter in the mail from our property management company. In the letter it stated that although there are other sheds in the neighborhood, ours was the most visible and therefore our shed would show that the development no longer cares about appearances. At the end of the letter were very firm words “Either move the shed so it isn’t visible or remove it within 30 days”.

Well…I called the manager and started a dialogue. I asked her a bunch of questions including why a shed on a cross street that was as visible as mine wasn’t asked to move. She said that it was in the backyard. Ok…what if I put a fence in front that matches the rest of the privacy fence in my yard. She asks the board of directors and they said. Privacy fence in front, on the sides and in back. There are privacy bushes on the left and behind the shed. Whatever I am going to do is not going to be good enough for the board of directors. So I no longer had plans to fence it in or move it. Time to fight the discrimination.

I sent an e-mail to the management company. In it I stated that the board had tacitly approved other sheds in the neighborhood without restrictions. I also took pictures of 2 specific sheds in the neighborhood. 1 was the one that I had mentioned that was in the backyard but as visible as ours. The other one was at the end of a driveway (further from the road because the house had more road frontage than ours). I stated that my shed met both of these previously sheds passively approved by the board. My shed is in the backyard when you look at Manchester Zoning Ordinances. And mine is at the end of the driveway. So either way you look at it, sheds in identical locations had been approved.

The property manager calls me and says that I am blowing this way out of proportion. I remind her of the strong closing statement in the letter that stated I HAD to move/remove the shed. She said that was a recommendation. She also said the board consulted a lawyer to see what they could do and he said that they couldn’t force me to move it and they couldn’t forcefully remove it unless they removed all other sheds in the neighborhood. She asked me if I would at least paint it before the spring and I said I would. We are just waiting for the painter’s schedule to open up.

THIS WAS A HUGE STRESS RELIEF. I no longer had to remove the shed…no longer had to move it…no longer had to worry about spending upwards of $1200 fencing it in.

The board of directors had bit off their nose to spite their face. They could have approved my compromise to put a fence in front and I would have done that. But nope, they had to go to the extreme and try to make it cost prohibitive to keep the shed under their terms.

I did ask the property manager if her company received the complaints or the “board of directors” aka the neighbor that dislikes us. She said it was the board of directors.

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