Fouad Chehade and his wife, Joanne Broccolino, medical technologists with a young daughter, don't feel as if they have violated community standards, but their community association thinks otherwise.
The Carlton Square Association, which represents 11 homeowners in Cockeysville, has filed suit against the couple, contending that they violated a community covenant by erecting a metal shed rather than a wooden one in their back yard in the first block of Warwick Mill Road.
"Actually," said Ms. Broccolino, "we wanted a wood shed,because we think they look nicer. But the cheapest one we find was $500. We simply cannot afford it."
They bought their $79 metal shed last June to contain their law mower and other lawn and garden implements. No one said a word to them, they contend, as they erected the shed.
Ms. Broccolino said it was several months later, in Septembe 1991, that she and her husband were informed that they were violating a community covenant.
According to both the suit and Ms. Broccolino, the associatio offered a compromise. They could keep their metal shed, so long as they put wood on its sides, lowered it below fence-top level and made the shed roof to look like the black rooftops of the neighborhood row homes.
"We tried to do what they said," Ms. Broccolino recalled. "We pu wood on the sides, we painted the roof black and we lowered it. We think it looks worse now than it did before."
Dwight W. Clark, lawyer for the association, said the proble with the shed is that Mr. Chehade and Ms. Broccolino did not properly alter it to conform to neighborhood standards.
They were supposed to cover the sides of the metal shed with special kind of wood, as well as put black asphalt shingles, or tar paper, on the shed's roof.
L "They tried to do a quick, cheap patch job," said Mr. Clark.
Mr. Clark said the couple should never have erected the she without getting approval from the association's architectural committee.
The couple, who moved into their home in July 1990, said the weren't aware that their property carried such restrictive covenants.
But Mr. Clark said those covenants were part of their deed an they should have read them before erecting the shed. The association must sue over the shed, he said, or other homeowners might put up sheds that don't conform.