Motorboat owner gets suspended sentence

October 19, 1992|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,Staff Writer

Jeffrey A. Beard of Crofton has been sentenced to a 90-day suspended jail term and suspended fines for parking his motorboat in his driveway.

To the average person in the average neighborhood, it might seem harsh. But that's life in Crofton, the giant planned community along Route 3 where an array of rules forbids such things as clotheslines, sheds, antennae and satellite dishes. And boats, which, the rules say, may not be parked outside.

As far as Town Manager Jordan Harding knows, it's the first time in the 28-year history of the community that a resident has been hit with a jail sentence in connection with a violation of the rules, known in legal parlance as covenants.

Actually, the penalty was imposed for Mr. Beard's defiance of a Circuit Court order issued in January that forbade him from parking a boat on his property on Knights Bridge Turn. After a 10-minute hearing Wednesday, Circuit Judge Eugene Lerner found Mr. Beard in contempt of court, despite Mr. Beard's insistence that he had the 21-foot inboard/outboard boat in his driveway for only two days in June to do some pre-season maintenance. The yard in Gambrills where he stores the boat has no running water or electricity, Mr. Beard's wife, Robin Beard, said in an interview later.

The judge told Mr. Beard that if any boat is seen on his property again, he would be sentenced to 90 days in the county detention center and fined $40 for every day the boat is seen.

"That is a strong indictment, that is a strong support for the covenants," Mr. Harding said.

"I hope it sends a message that we're serious about enforcing [the covenants] if anybody has an idea that the covenants don't mean anything," said Edwin F. Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association.

Ms. Beard said the message she gets is that the covenants apply to some people more than others.

"You can drive around Crofton and find other people who have boats, who have trailers, who have sheds," said Ms. Beard, who has been living in Crofton with her husband since 1982. "So where do you draw the line?"

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