Unauthorized Community Garden Sprouts Lawsuit

May 16, 2012
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In Portsmouth, N.H., the 23-unit Atlantic Pointe condominium association is suing two members for planting heirloom perennials, shrubs, and other plants in the mulched common areas adjacent to their units. The members, who say they received permission from the developer before owners took over the association in 2010, defended their decision to plant the garden, filing a countersuit that claims the board's rule against such plantings was passed illegally. According to the members, the plantings are a benefit to the community. They say removing them will devalue their units.

While some associations have gardening committees that make recommendations for permitted plantings and grant member requests, Atlantic Pointe isn’t lenient about its gardening policy. And the association isn’t backing down. So far, daily fines that started at $25 and escalated to $50, plus legal fees, are into the thousands of dollars. The association also placed liens on the members’ units. A status review is scheduled for late May.