Today, here’s yet another massively aggravating defiant-greenthumb-under-attack story for you. And what do you know? It’s just in time for spring planting season! Hooray!
This one is shaking down at the Atlantic Pointe condominiums in Portsmouth, N.H., where condo owner Kimberly Bois is being sued by the despotic condo association for growing a pretty little patch of blooms — daisies, bearded irises, lavender, hydrangeas, and tulip bulbs — in front of her townhouse. And this isn’t some unruly mess of overgrown greenery that we’re talking about here … just a neatly maintained assortment of heirloom perennials that Bois transferred from her late mother’s garden in 2008 (Note: that's not the offending flower bed pictured above, but you can view it here).
As the story goes, when Bois planted the garden back in 2008, she was given the full go-ahead by Atlantic Pointe’s developer to do so. Then, in October 2010, the condo association was formed and a bylaw stating that all landscaping work had to be performed by an outside company to maintain a soul-crushingly “uniform” look was created. Bois, believing that the written permission she received to plant flowers outside of her unit superseded the bylaw, refused to tear up her garden. The condo association remained adamant that any permission granted to Bois was temporary and could be changed. And so, Bois found herself in violation of the new rules and began incurring $25 and then $50 per day fines. Good lord ... can you imagine what would have happened if Norwood Young moved to the neighborhood?
Also on MNN: Did you catch the last chapter of the front-yard gardening war?
As of now, Bois has racked up a grand total of $5,500 in violation fines while the condo association is demanding that she also pay $8,000 in attorney fees stemming from the lawsuit. They’ve also placed a lien on Bois’ $300,000 unit. According to the Portsmouth Patch, Bois, who works as a marketing manager, has even repeatedly offered to pay the board $2,000 or $3,000 and remove the flowers herself but the board refused, insisting that she pay the legal fees and full amount in violation fines.
Rough. Bois and another Atlantic Pointe condo owner who, gasp, planted shrubs outside of another unit have hired an attorney and will be confronting the condo association in court to settle the dispute. Bois' and the other condo owner's attorney, Paul McEachern, sums up this whole HOA headache beautifully: "I guess it just goes to show that a condominium is the worst form of democracy ever invented. They probably have less stringent rules in a penitentiary."
In the end, all Bois wants to do is settle the matter so she can sell her unit and get the hell out. She tells the Portsmouth Patch: “In all honesty, I wish I just let them have their way so I could have sold my house and just move out.” She adds: “It’s really scary that five people have so much power to make people unhappy and ruin their credit by putting liens on their homes and just be such bullies.”
Greenthumbs living under the watchful eye of condo and homeowners' associations: have you ever been bullied over a landscaping issue to the extent that it’s resulted in a full-fledged legal battle?
Also on MNN: English town takes opposite approach with shared public gardens