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High court hears appeal from local HOA

POSTED: October 9, 2013 12:27 a.m.
 

The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday morning on a Forsyth County ordinance that holds a large subdivision liable for repairing stormwater pipes.

A Superior Court judge ruled in 2012 that the Polo Golf and Country Club Homeowners Association was responsible for the maintenance of the facilities. The association appealed that decision, contending that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

The court typically renders a final decision within one to five months.

The case began in 2006 when homeowners John and Diane Rymer demanded that the association fix the pipes, stating the corrugated metal pipes’ failure caused their basement to flood, according to a summary of the case.

In response, the association notified the county that “neither the individual homeowner nor [the association] should be held responsible for the maintenance, repairs and continued upkeep of these easements,” the summary states.

In 2010, the Rymers sued the association, which countersued and also launched suit against Forsyth County.

All parties filed motions for summary judgment, claiming the facts of the case were in their favor, and the trial court granted the county’s in 2012.

The association appealed the judge’s ruling that the county’s ordinance is enforceable.

Forsyth adopted changes to its stormwater management ordinance in 2004 that held property owners liable for repairs and maintenance of facilities and easements. If the property is in a subdivision with a homeowners association, the association is responsible.

The association has argued that the ordinance “violates the contract clause of the Georgia Constitution, and it requires homeowners associations to trespass on the private property of homeowners,” according to a case summary quoting the attorney’s brief.

The Polo subdivision consists of more than 1,000 lots, many of which contain drainage easements and pipes.

Neither the association nor the county owns the stormwater facilities.

 

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