The case of the front-yard hoop ends with homeowner not taken to court Covenant panel member quits

November 02, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The Crofton Civic Association voted last night not to take a homeowner to court over an alleged covenant violation, prompting a member of the association's covenant review committee to resign and the chairman to write a critical memorandum.

The 8-1 vote by the board of directors ends a year-long dispute involving Robert Kight, who had a basketball hoop erected on a 16-foot-by-20-foot slab of concrete in the front yard of his home in the 1600 block of Tarleton Way.

"This is a sad chapter in the history of covenant enforcement in Crofton," wrote Marty Szostek, chairman of the covenant review committee and secretary of the association's board of directors. He cast the lone dissenting vote.

In his two-paragraph memo, Mr. Szostek charged that the board considered only the financial aspects of the dispute and said that his committee should not pursue any alleged violations without first gaining the "moral and financial" support of the board.

"To do so without a commitment from the board would be a waste of time for all parties involved," the memo says.

Mr. Kight argued that he built a driveway extension; neighbors contended that it was a basketball court that violated community covenants because prior architectural review was not obtained.

The case went to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court last spring, when the county sued Mr. Kight, contending that he had violated zoning laws.

The county lost.

Three months ago, the civic association sent Mr. Kight a letter warning that he was in violation of the covenants and ordering him to make amends within 14 days. He didn't, and the covenant review committee, appointed by the board of directors, urged the board to take Mr. Kight to court.

Mr. Kight could not be reached for comment last night.

Edwin Dosek, the civic association president, said last night that two lawyers advised against filing a lawsuit.

"We can't spend [community] money on a matter that our attorney says we will have a very slim chance at winning," Mr. Dosek said, fending off complaints from several homeowners who protested the board's vote.

The board released a statement on the case saying that there must "be clear evidence" that a violation exists before the board will take further action.

That did not sit well with George Gardner, who has been a member of the covenant committee for three years. He resigned last night.

"I just simply feel it's a waste of my time," Mr Gardner said in an interview.

"This board is not interested in pursing covenant violations. I'm not going away mad -- it's just not worth the time."

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