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#166-G, Lake Hallowell Homeowners Association v. McLister (December 3, 1993) (Panel: Hickey, Glancy, Huson)

The homeowners association (HOA) claimed that the homeowner  (HO) violated the community rules by constructing a deck that was larger than approved.  The HO claimed in defense that the HOA failed to act on his application within the 45 days after he submitted it on June 28, 1991, as allowed by the rules, and that the larger deck was required by the County Building Code.

The evidence showed that the HO applied for, and received, approval to build a deck that was 16 feet deep (from front to rear).  In June, 1991, the property manager observed the deck while it was still under construction and noted that it seemed to be larger than expected, and he requested a copy of the plans.  The HO's contractor provided the plans on June 28, 1991.  The plans showed that the deck was 20 feet deep.  The HOA then requested the HO to attend a board meeting on September 16, 1991, to discuss the violation, and at that meeting the HO orally requested permission to modify the deck to 20 feet.  On November 20, 1991 the board sent the HO a letter denying his oral request.  On November 30, 1991, for the first time, the HO sent a written request to modify the deck to 20 feet, and the HOA denied it within 45 days.

The hearing panel held that the HO was in violation of the rules.  The plans for the altered deck that were turned over to the property manager in June, 1991, were only provided in response to a request for more information, and did not qualify as a request for approval of a larger deck.  The HOA acted properly when it denied approval, and its decision was a reasonable one because the larger deck was a significant change and disruptive to the architectural harmony and design of the community.

The panel ordered the HO to rebuild the deck to a 16-foot depth within 60 days.