Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 9, 2008

Tales from Small-Town Wisconsin

 

Debate over the building of a big ol’ pole barn:

 

Notes from the members meeting of our lake house owners association —

 

Bylaw Clause 2.3 – Architectural Control & deed restriction : cites such standards as “quality”, beauty, “harmony” with the entire property and the neighborhood, “proportion”, “setbacks”, etc –

 

Mr. X’s ridiculous outbuilding… DENIED! (Chalk up one for the “little guys”!)

 

The COUNTY denied him the setback variance, saying he wanted to build too close to the main road. Plus there’s the overall size issue. But he’s still bitchin’.

 

He refuses to compromise size, and he did not engage in good faith discussions or due process prior to purchasing materials and making plans. A classic “neighborhood bully” move. He assumed he could do what he wanted. We met and said, “No, you can’t. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.”

 

How private is private property in these cases? Who deserves prior notification? Who has authority?  How’s the barn location affect the visual appeal of the whole neighborhood, or is it an eyesore? How’s a building (instead of the cool, knotty old tree he pulled out of there) an “improvement” to his property?

 

Tough luck about your “useless”, odd-shaped front lot, Mr. X. You bought it, lake-owner bylaws and all. Now you have to live with it. You’re obligated to your neighbors. We’re willing to work with you. But not to rubber stamp whatever you want.

 

I feel bad for the other poor schmuck from Illinois, now serving as building committee head. That’s the real s**t detail, at least this time around…

 

I’ll get on a committee sometime, but situations like this are exactly why I want to choose carefully. You can pick your friends… but not always your neighbors.


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