A sculpture handmade by an artist in California is at the center of a homeowners association dispute in Delaware. The man's HOA wants him to remove a patriotic symbol, a life-size bronze eagle, from his yard. The former U.S. Army MP says he has dozens of eagles inside of his home, but it's the one on display outside that has ruffled some feathers.
The residential property dispute started when the homeowners association claimed the man's backyard sculpture was "inconsistent with community-wide standards." This came after a neighborhood architectural review committee gave their approval of the sculpture, primarily because they agreed with the landscape elements the man said he would place around it. "They approved it, unanimously," the homeowner said when discussing the initial response he received about the sculpture.
The board ordered the homeowner to either remove the sculpture entirely or place enough shrubs and trees in front of it so that it could not be seen. A neighbor who can clearly see the sculpture says he's not bothered by the display. The man, who is also a veteran, added that he believes it's his right to keep it in his own yard. Both sides in the dispute have secured legal assistance to defend their points of view. The affected homeowner says he is not backing down. In the meantime, the HOA is threatening to assess him daily fines as long as the sculpture remains in place.
When a disagreement with a homeowners association arises, an HOA dispute lawyer may first review a member's Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Easements, or CC&Rs, to determine if the alleged violation is open to interpretation. It's not unusual for such disputes to be settled out of court with a settlement agreement, which will also determine who is responsible for related legal fees.