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Kids' swim lessons turn into homeowner dispute

For many California homeowners who live in subdivisions with a homeowners' association or HOA, they may find the regulations of the HOA butting up against their right to enjoy their property. In one case, an ongoing dispute about a small backyard swim lesson business is sparking debate and anger in the town of Sandy Springs. The City Council and around 900 parents have all become involved in the ongoing dispute.

One small business in the town operates a swim lesson business; while the town claims this type of backyard operation is not legal, the business had a local license for four years. Some members of the City Council have proposed a code to legalize the business, but a neighbor who complained about excessive noise sits on the Planning Commission, which will decide on the proposed code.

The homeowner dispute emerged after the business had been in operation for years. The business-operating homeowner gathered over 900 signatures on the petition to save the business, prompting one member of the City Council to work to change the zoning requirements for a small outdoor business. The dispute has made its way to the City Council after years of arguments in the local homeowners' association. Various HOA officials have differing opinions on the business and the level of noise it produces: While some claimed that hundreds of students were loud and noisy, others said that no issues had arisen over the years.

Neighbor disputes can develop into long-running battles that can polarize an entire neighborhood, especially when an HOA or local government becomes part of the debate. Before a situation reaches that level or even once it has, a real estate attorney may be able to help homeowners achieve their goals without excessive litigation or delays. A lawyer may work with a homeowner to protect their property rights and resolve issues related to zoning, permits and other common neighborhood problems.

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