5 On Your Side

Creedmoor Woman Claims Homeowners' Association Not Playing By Rules

Posted August 1, 2005 4:51 a.m. EDT

— Homeowners' associations are like their own governments. They make their own rules, but one woman said a rule meant to keep things like boats, trailers and big barbecue grills out of people's driveways and yards means she has to look at all of it.

Bird houses, flowers and peace and quiet are what Renee and James Whitney wanted when they built their retirement home in a Creedmoor neighborhood called "Golden Pond."

"We don't want to live in the city. We want to live in the woods. We want to be part of Mother Nature," Whitney said.

However, it is not very nature-like because of a neighborhood parking lot that opened behind their home a year after they moved in.

"We've got boats, two-wheel trailers, campers," Whitney said. "That big van has a 2002 license on it and it's used as his storage unit. It's never moved."

The parking lot also has an old tractor and a semi-truck cab.

"It makes me feel that we're third-class citizens," Whitney said.

Especially since the neighborhood covenants the Whitneys agreed to when they bought the house say "boats, recreational vehicles, and trailers" need to be parked "outside the subdivision."

But four months later, developer Deuard Bowden changed the covenants to allow use of the "parking area" near the Whitneys.

"I think it's boloney," she said.

When Whitney did not get results from Bowden nor the homeowners association, she called town leaders. In February, the city planner sent a letter saying outdoor storage of vehicles and equipment violates zoning laws. A month later, however, a new city planner said the city code does not apply.

"Both of them are correct," said Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss.

Moss said the problem is that Golden Pond is the area's first subdivision to have restrictive covenants and they do not all align with town ordinances.

"It's a gray area in our subdivision ordinance right now. We've got to figure that out because it almost is a contradiction," he said.

Moss said the only thing he can do to help Whitney is have the unlicensed vehicles towed. Whitney is discouraged.

"I don't want to accept it because it's not the way I want to live," Whitney said.

The developer, Deuard Bowden, called Whitney a "complainer" and says the parking area was included in the plans from the beginning, but it was not given to the neighborhood until the last phase.

Homeowners' Board President Randy Crnkovic did not return WRAL's phone calls.

Moss said he plans to talk with boardmembers about moving the unlicensed vehicles.