Columbia County subdivision resident sued over playhouse

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 Becky Rogers-Peck built her 4-year-old granddaughter a pink playhouse for Christmas, complete with play kitchen, window boxes and a wreath on the door.

Becky Rogers-Peck is being sued because the pink playhouse she built for her granddaughter Aubree Rogers, 4, doesn't meet neighborhood covenants.   JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Becky Rogers-Peck is being sued because the pink playhouse she built for her granddaughter Aubree Rogers, 4, doesn't meet neighborhood covenants.

Now the Millshaven Property Owners Association, which enforces covenants in the Evans subdivision, has filed a lawsuit against Rogers-Peck because she wouldn’t repaint it.

She didn’t get permission from the association’s Architectural Control Committee before she built what the board of directors considers an out-building. The color is not “keeping in tradition with the neighborhood,” said attorney Wright McLeod, who represents the association.

Board members contacted Rogers-Peck in the spring and said other Millhaven residents complained about the playhouse. She found out it was two or three complaints. She applied for architectural approval, but the color was denied.

“I told them I was not going to repaint it,” said Rogers-Peck, who resigned from her position on the board when the playhouse issue was brought up at a monthly meeting. “It was foolish. It was not an out-building. It was a piece of play equipment.”

The playhouse is only slightly visible from the road, but is clearly visible to her immediate neighbors and a few homes across the pond behind her house.

McLeod said Rogers-Peck is bound by the covenant because she bought a home in the subdivision.

The board tried to get her to conform to the neighborhood covenant by repainting the playhouse a color more appropriate to the home. The architectural committee agreed to approve the playhouse construction retroactively if the structure is repainted.

“They never said, ‘If you paint it, we won’t sue you,’ ” Rogers-Peck said “They said, ‘If you don’t, we’re going to sue you.’ ... It was the principle of it. Why do they have the right to tell me what to do on the property that I pay for?”

The lawsuit filed Aug. 2 contends that Rogers-Peck “has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, and has caused (the association) unnecessary trouble and expense.”

The association must enforce the covenant regulations, McLeod said. When Rogers-Peck refused to correct the violation, he said, the board had no recourse except to sue.

“She’s (given) the association no option,” McLeod said. “She’s left us no choice other than going through Superior Court or ignore the violation. ... We just need her to repaint.”

Rogers-Peck said her granddaughter loves pink, though, and doesn’t want her playhouse repainted.

Rogers-Peck has 30 days to file a response after being served with the suit Sept. 5. She already has checked with several attorneys, most of whom said she won’t win.

“It’s really disheartening,” Rogers-Peck said. “I feel like I live in Russia ... where I can’t do anything on my own property without (the association’s) permission.”

The expense of an attorney is a barrier to fighting the suit, she said.

“Once it became an issue,” she said, “I thought I’d stand up for myself and my rights. I had no idea a (homeowners association) had so much control in a neighborhood based on who was on the board of directors.”

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grouse
1635
Points
grouse 09/14/12 - 09:13 pm
12
0
I would never buy a house
Unpublished

I would never buy a house where there are covenants.

TrulyWorried
14165
Points
TrulyWorried 09/14/12 - 09:48 pm
8
0
Playhouse

Throw a camouflage net over it - I am sure the Army has plenty of them left over from the other war - forest color. If we did not have anymore problems than such as this, what a wonderful world it would be. It's really sad to be so narrow minded. Are they jealous?

Waymore
103
Points
Waymore 09/14/12 - 10:33 pm
10
6
I'm having a hard time

I'm having a hard time sympathizing with the homeowner. She bought a house KNOWING that there were covenants. She was on the board. Yet she feels like she "lives in Russia"????? She knew the rules. She broke them. No tears here.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:35 pm
5
4
U.S. Congress

Boy, am I glad that Wright McLeod was defeated in his bid for U.S. Congressman. A mindset like that would have been disastrous.

TCB22
632
Points
TCB22 09/14/12 - 10:36 pm
2
0
That is in Millshaven Subdivision

That is in Millshaven Subdivision. Many people leave off the s in the name.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:41 pm
11
3
Covenants

The covenants said that proposed outbuildings must be approved by the HOA board of directors. Well, the Pecks never in their wildest dream thought that a child's playhouse would be construed as an outbuilding. I agree with them. Outbuildings are storage sheds and detached garages. A child's playhouse is a toy. It will be gone in a few years when the child tires of it. Just look at the picture and see how small the thing is. The HOA should be ashamed of itself.

Wright McLeod must be desperate to pay off his campaign debts.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:49 pm
6
3
TV News

Channel 6 News said two days ago that another outcome is possible instead of the lawsuit. The neighborhood association is scheduling a vote for a new board of directors. I wonder why Valerie Rowell did not catch that detail?

TrulyWorried
14165
Points
TrulyWorried 09/14/12 - 10:50 pm
9
2
Playhouse

I am in full agreement with you LL and an outbuilding and a playhouse for a 4 year old are totally different structures. Maybe swing sets should have a certain color too - to fit into the decor? The world is on fire - people are dying and getting maimed - these days people should be thankful to have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food to eat. They should have to see what CAN happen - God forbid that it will - but their "problems" over a playhouse, not outbuilding, would seem very tiny. Get a life dear people and live and let live, especially a 4 year old little girl.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:54 pm
9
2
Look at this little tidbit

Valerie Rowell reported:

The board tried to get her to conform to the neighborhood covenant by repainting the playhouse a color more appropriate to the home. The architectural committee agreed to approve the playhouse construction retroactively if the structure is repainted.

Well, would the Board of Directors be happier if Ms. Peck decided to paint the home the same shade of pink as the playhouse?

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:56 pm
8
2
Lawyers

Wright McLeod is milking dry the homeowners in this neighborhood. Can't they see he's laughing all the way to the bank?

Waymore
103
Points
Waymore 09/14/12 - 10:57 pm
8
1
Why have the rules if people

Why have the rules if people think that it's ok to pick and choose when and how they are to be enforced. Would my dream garage be acceptable? It's just as important to me as this playhouse is to this child. Let me know what neighborhood with a HOA would allow me to violate the covenant in the name of making me "feel good," and I might just move next to you!

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 11:02 pm
7
1
No Option?

Give me a break. Wright McLeod said:

“She’s left us no choice other than going through Superior Court or ignore the violation. We just need her to repaint.”

No, Wright, you just need the association to chill out.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 11:08 pm
7
1
Treehouse

Hey, you folks in Mill(s)haven, what if someone wants to build their children a treehouse? Would that be construed as an outbuilding? Would the Board of Directors have to approve the treehouse before construction and also approve its color?

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 11:09 pm
7
0
Lawyers

I hope you folks in Mill(s)haven enjoy paying McLeod's legal bills.

Jake
32530
Points
Jake 09/15/12 - 01:51 am
4
2
Way to go LL

This is much to do about nothing. Let the kid have the toy house in the color she wants. Nobody's property values are going to go down. I saw this story on another news outlet and couldn't believe that this was in Columbia County.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/15/12 - 07:43 am
4
4
So, the little girl wants
Unpublished

So, the little girl wants pink and that's the justification for the violation. What a fine role model this grandmother is for her granddaughter.

curly123053
4671
Points
curly123053 09/15/12 - 08:05 am
5
1
Shame Shame Shame..........

I would never live in a subdivision with restrictions on MY property. A playhouse and outbuilding are 2 different things in my opinion. What a shame.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 09/15/12 - 08:27 am
7
1
Grandma can do better!

The homeowner, who is also a former board member knew better, defied the rules anyway and worst of all, isn't setting a very good example for her granddaughter.

Model taking responsibility for a mistake, setting things right and teach the little girl something that will count long after the playhouse is forgotten.

If you love pink, paint the interior pink; buy a pink zebra rug, but make the outside look like the main house.

Wright McLeod is not the decision maker here; the HOA is. He is simply complying with their request to file a lawsuit on their behalf. That's what attorneys do.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 09/15/12 - 09:21 am
5
2
Wow, read all these comments

Wow, read all these comments and thank you Willow for yours. The issue here really isn't the pink paint....it's the issue that an adult agree to a specific set of rules and now wants to disregard them because she doesn't want to follow the rules she first agreed to. No wonder our children are so messed up and they think that what I want, when I want it, how I want it and guidelines don't matter is the rules of today.

I agree, paint the outside to match the house color and paint the inside whatever color the child wants.

JRC2024
8854
Points
JRC2024 09/15/12 - 09:33 am
4
0
That was also my thought

That was also my thought Willow, Paint the inside pink and match the color to the outside or put up a lattice fence on three sides and cover with green vines that have flowers. HOA are rules to keep the neighborhoods looking good. Follow the rules that you agreed to or do not buy where there is a HOA. Do what you want inside but keep the outside uniform. Nothing wrong with that. I go to some areas where the neighbors do not care what their yards or houses look like. Trucks and cars parked on the lawns, houses with odd color paint, trash everywhere and people that are just not the type that could live in a place with an HOA. It is nice to go into a neighboorhood where everything outside is clean.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/15/12 - 11:39 am
4
3
The grandmother is the
Unpublished

The grandmother is the spoiled brat in this instance...the neighbors and especially the granddaughter are the victims. She easily fix the problem with a gallon or so of painti or load up her little pink eyesore and move it a property that would not restrict such structures. Thank goodness I'm covered!!

pep607
65
Points
pep607 09/15/12 - 09:52 am
3
2
Read the covenants before you sign.

I always read the covenants before I signed the offer. No covenants, no HOA, no offer. When I pay for that, I expect it enforced. It is a choice you make when you select a place to live. Not later. Unfortunately the open garage doors and the lawn ornaments in my neighborhood are currently ignored by the HOA. Wish I had Wright on my side.

Discussionstarter
495
Points
Discussionstarter 09/15/12 - 10:27 am
4
0
The HOA is correct

Now... let's worry about bigger things.... the skyrocketing national debt, the assaults on our embassies, our soldiers getting killed in a war we do not need to be involved in, homeless Americans, etc.

kc fan
158
Points
kc fan 09/15/12 - 11:07 am
3
1
Paint the inside pink and the

Paint the inside pink and the outside to conform to the color as prescibed by the covenant YOU agreed to!

BamaMan
2356
Points
BamaMan 09/15/12 - 11:22 am
3
0
While I

personally think this particular situation is petty, I totally agree with neighborhood covenants. They PROTECT the value of everyone's property. Don't people read paperwork before they sign on the dotted line....saying they agree to abide by ALL of the neighborhood covenants??? What if you had a tacky neighbor buy right next to you in a very nice neighborhood, and pulled in a mobile home for extra family??

BamaMan
2356
Points
BamaMan 09/15/12 - 11:26 am
2
1
While I

personally think this particular situation is petty, I totally agree with neighborhood covenants. They PROTECT the value of everyone's property. Don't people read paperwork before they sign on the dotted line....saying they agree to abide by ALL of the neighborhood covenants, and the part where you CAN BE SUED for not abiding by what you sign saying you will??? What if you had a tacky neighbor buy right next to you in a very nice neighborhood, and pulled in a mobile home for extra family, or put up some other horrendous structure, or painted their house neon pink or green? Covenants are in place for a reason, and they protect the value of ALL of the neighbor's homes.

dichotomy
32906
Points
dichotomy 09/15/12 - 11:30 am
3
2
Lady...you signed a contract

Lady...you signed a contract with convenants enforced by an HOA. You are screwed. Paint the building, read the covenants carefully, xerox some complaint forms, and examine all of the properties in your neighborhood very closely. If anything remotely appears to violate the covenants check the HOA records to see if it was approved. Revenge is sweet.

Just My Opinion
5627
Points
Just My Opinion 09/15/12 - 11:41 am
3
1
Little Lamb, I think you're

Little Lamb, I think you're looking at this entire thing as a David vs Goliath type "fight". To illustrate the need for the following of the rules of the covenant, how about YOU posting your comments here that would include "personal attacks or harrassment of others", and "racist, obscene or hateful remarks"? Well, you WON'T do that because you know those are the rules that this newspaper has set for people who post comments...and, if you want to stay here and be able to post, you WILL abide by them...or you'll be forced to suffer whatever consequences the "powers that be" hand down, probably a short-term or permanent ban from posting. The rules here are meant for the overall good of the masses who post here. The rules of the convenant are for the overall good of the entire neighborhood...it's simple. And you are intelligent enough to know that.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 09/15/12 - 02:17 pm
2
1
Covenant

No sympathy here either. You agreed to a contract and now you want to make your own rules. Doesn't work that way!

itsanotherday1
43016
Points
itsanotherday1 09/15/12 - 02:28 pm
2
1
1. I'm with the HOA on

1. I'm with the HOA on this.

2. Don't blame McCleod, he is just operating at the direction of his client.

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