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Homeowner's fight with Cary not over

Posted December 8, 2010

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— A homeowner who won a freedom of speech court case against the Town of Cary says his fight to recover damages is far from over.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that David Bowden had the right to spray-paint the phrase “S-----d by the Town of Cary” on his home as a protest of what he calls the town's refusal to compensate him for property damage caused by a road-widening project.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on his behalf after the town threatened to fine Bowden in August 2009.

"It feels good that I won, but what have I won?" Bowden said. "If you won a pile of horse manure, you still ain't got nothing. So all I have now is the right to keep my sign."

Bowden said he is frustrated by years of unsuccessful negotiation with Cary after construction on Maynard Road led to drainage pipes pointing toward his home.

Homeowner says fight with Cary not over Homeowner says fight with Cary not over

That, and the steep slope and lack of trees in the yard, funnels water into his home – "right under my house, in the utility room, into the laundry room," he said. Mold usually follows.

Bowden said the unhealthy conditions led to a medical diagnosis of lung cancer.

The judge's ruling allows him to express himself freely, Bowden said, but talk is cheap, and he wants action from the town: specifically, buying his house.

"I'll take the tax value of the house, plus $80,000 (for the aggravation),” he said. "They have lied about everything."

A spokeswoman for the Town of Cary said Tuesday that officials are disappointed with the judge's ruling and will review it to determine their next steps.

Buying Bowden's house is not under consideration, the spokeswoman said.

In the past two years, Cary has bought three homes, two for capital improvement projects and a third to make room for a road project.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • teddyspaghetti Dec 9, 2010

    Cliff notes for those that haven't followed this from the start. He bought the house knowing that the road was to be widened. He had drainage issues before the widening. the widening did make things worse, but TOC offered on numerous occasions to try to resolve the issue. He has refused every offer they have made. In the meantime, his wife died of cancer and he just wants to sell the place and buy an RV. If you do drive by the house, notice that it has NOT been maintained (and that was true even before the sign went up).

    His arguments have NO merit when you know the facts. HE is the one that needs to put on the big boy pants and do the right think - that is to fix up his house and sell it on his own. TOC owes him nothing!

  • Bendal1 Dec 9, 2010

    The steepness of the slope doesn't change the fact that there's exactly the same amount of water landing on his yard that did so before the road was widened. There was a slope there before, there's one there now; water ran towards his house before and does so now. Nothing has changed, other than the road is closer to his house than before.

    He has the right to protest, but there's no grounds to prove there is more water running onto his property.

  • dlk13ster Dec 9, 2010

    There's always the other option he could explore:

    Let the house go completely, until it is so run-down and dilapidated that the gov. has to condemn it as a public safety hazard and tear it down.

    Problem solved! No ugly sign, and the guy doesn't have to worry about living in a water-damaged, mold-ridden home.

    He still won't get a dime from the state though, which I daresay is his primary concern.

  • kikinc Dec 9, 2010

    citizen782-He refused to allow TOC on his property to install the proper drainage facilities. He also refused to let TOC fix his driveway to alleviate the run off. This was in the budget, and was completed at the other homes around him, who don't seem to have any problems.

  • Valkyrie Dec 9, 2010

    Not the greatest photo, but you can tell that the slope was not nearly as steep as it is now.


  • question_why Dec 9, 2010

    I have to wonder about the accuracy of facts. The last paragraph in this article talks about the town of Cary only having purchsed 3 properties, 2 for capital improvements and the 3rd for road widen. Here is a house they bought Sep9,2009 and destroyed the house because of water problems :

    Previous golo comments had a person mention that this homeowner had water isues before the road widening but this guy has lived in this house since 1986. I find it hard to believe he would live in a property with water problems for 34 years and not complain until the road is widened. Also look at the photo and how nice the house looked before.

    Why didn't wral find the property that contradicts the town of Cary's statement and why haven't they mentioned how long this guy has owned this home and sho

  • Valkyrie Dec 9, 2010

    So, why did the TOC buy this particular piece of property and have the house torn down? It's now a vacant lot. Definitely not part of "In the past two years, Cary has bought three homes, two for capital improvement projects and a third to make room for a road project." Home owners near by, say it was due to flooding problems that weren't there when the house was built. Hmmmmmm?


  • Smart Alex Dec 8, 2010

    That sign really does not go with all the beige in Cary. They should just buy the house and repaint it beige. Then everyone is happy.

  • IzzMad2016 Dec 8, 2010

    I think his neighbors should sue HIM for devaluation of their properties or exposing their children to foul language every day....something as silly and ridiculous as him paiting this "sign" on the front of his house.

    And Sherlock -- the judges ruling only allows him to keep his message there without being fined. How can so many of you insist paying off an extortionist is the thing to do here? Sheesh.

  • Vietnam Vet Dec 8, 2010

    One writer here asked if his house was below street level before the widening project and the answer to that is YES! The drainage issues existed long before the construction on Maynard Rd. was even begun. The town has offered more than once to take care of the drainage issues for the property owner and he has flatly refused trying to claim that the road construction caused his current issues and this is why he wants the town to buy his home. Truth be known he simply wants go get out from under this neglected home because he knows that he couldn't sell it to anybody else but the town. And painting that stupid grafitti on his house won't help its marketability either. He should let the town fix the water issues/damage, clean up or paint over his grafitti, and then just sell if he wants out. He just wants the town to make it easy for him...