In 2011, The Stones installed a swamp cooler without DRC approval under the eaves of their house, several feet above the maximum height allowed in our community and without the required screening of the unit.
After working unsuccessfully with the Stones for a number of years to arrange either for relocation or removal of the cooler so it would conform with the Association’s architectural requirements, the association filed a complaint in the Superior Court (Sun City Shadow Hills Community Association v. Stone, Case No. PSC 1406225 on December 17, 2014). After unsuccessfully moving to dismiss the Superior Court complaint, the Stones cross-complained against the Association on May 12, 2015. However, on August 26, 2015 before the Superior Court action had been tried, the Stones finally removed the swamp cooler, and then filed for bankruptcy (Case No. 6:15-bk-18598-MH). The Stones listed as a debt to be discharged $100,000 in attorney fees allegedly incurred by the Association in the Superior Court case. The Stones received a discharge from the Bankruptcy Court on March 26, 2016. The Superior Court action was dismissed January 27, 2017. The files from the Superior Court and Bankruptcy actions are public records.
It should be noted that the Association got the relief it wanted, that is, voluntary removal of the swamp cooler but not until after the Association initiated legal action. No board wants to sue any member, but the board’s fiduciary responsibility is to make sure that each member of our community adheres to the contract they signed when they bought their home, which is to comply with the governing documents of the Association. Boards don’t have a lot of ways to enforce CC&Rs and voluntary compliance by an owner is far and away the preferred result, both from a monetary and a social perspective. Sometimes, however, that doesn’t work, and when negotiation and the compromise don’t work, the only remaining tool is litigation. Your Board assumes that the owners as a whole desire compliance with the CC&Rs – voluntarily if possible, but by other legal means if not.
We are glad that this situation has been resolved and that all parties can move on.