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Failure to Get Prior Written Approval for Structural Modifications Violates Restrictive Covenants

Bodine v. Harris Village Prop. Owners Ass’n, Inc.,
No. COA09-1458 (N.C. App. Ct., Sep. 7, 2010).

Homeowner Bodine submitted preliminary plans and a request for architectural approval for the addition of a swimming pool and covered deck to his lot.  The newly formed association had not yet appointed an architectural committee, so the board held a meeting to consider the homeowner’s request.  Bodine was not given notice of the meeting, and commenced construction of the concrete pad before he was notified that the association took issue with his plans.
Bodine requested a board meeting that afternoon, which resulted in approval of a swimming pool and a 10′ x 14′ detached pool house.   However, Bodine proceeded to construct a 10′ x 42′ pool house.  He assumed that the association would have no qualms with a larger structure due to the fact that the municipal regulations permitted structures of this size.
The association contacted Bodine by letter, explaining that he was in violation of the association’s declaration.  Bodine responded by filing suit against the association for a declaratory judgment that the declaration permitted his new porch.  The association counterclaimed, also seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and fees and also filed a motion to dismiss.
The trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of the association and awarded the association attorney’s fees, fines, and ordered the removal of the porch.  On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s ruling on the basis that Bodine did not receive prior written approval for the 10′ x 42′ structure pursuant to the association’s declaration.
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Authors: Ryan McCabe

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