SNOW HILL – The Ocean Pines Association (OPA) this week sent a signal to would-be deed and covenant restrictions violators, filing as many as half a dozen lawsuits against property owners for a wide variety of infractions from abandoned vehicles to junky yards and from trash and debris to uncut grass.
The OPA, through its attorney Joe Moore, on Wednesday filed six separate lawsuits against property owners for a wide range of Declaration of Restrictions and/or Architectural Review Committee (ARC) guidelines. Each of the suits urges the Circuit Court to issue permanent injunctions against the property owners forcing them to take corrective measures, present to the court reasons why the requested improvements cannot be made or face substantial fines and other penalties.
Whether the rash of lawsuits filed represents a tougher stance by the OPA against violators or is merely a house-cleaning measure, so to speak, is not known. What is certain, however, is at least half a dozen property owners will soon be served with a summons to appear in court to address the violations.
In almost all of the six cases, a civil suit for injunctive relief was filed as a measure of last resort after the OPA and ARC officials exhausted every other avenue to have the property owners address their alleged violations. In one case filed for a residence on Heron Isle Court, the property owner was cited for storing an unregistered personal watercraft trailer on the premises in direct violation of the Declaration of Restrictions section which states, “no stripped-down, partially wrecked or junk motor vehicle, or sizable portion thereof, shall be permitted to be parked on any street or any lot.”
The same clause in the Declaration of Restrictions is applied in several of the other lawsuits filed by the OPA against property owners this week. For example, one of the suits targets a residence on Duck Cove Circle for a similar infraction. Another of the suits filed Wednesday evokes a similar cause in the declarations preventing the parking of oversized commercial vehicles on properties in residential areas.
One of the suits filed Wednesday cites a section of the declaration that requires “all lots, whether occupied or unoccupied, shall be maintained in such a manner as to prevent them from becoming unsightly…” In that case on Windjammer Drive, the defendant has allowed trash and debris to accumulate on the property including a washer and dryer.
In yet another case filed against a property owner in the Newport section, the defendant has failed to consistently cut the grass, maintain the home, paint and repair the steps and deck and failed to remove trash and debris among other things.