HOA head-scratcher: Northgate man threatened with lawsuit for replacing grass with rock

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 00:36:14-04

The 4-foot by 4-foot patch of grass right at the end of Kevin Sabata’s driveway has been a constant thorn in his side. It’s bordered on three sides by concrete or asphalt. There’s hardly any shade because the trees in his Wildwood Ridge subdivision are little more than saplings.  Despite all his efforts, Kevin just couldn’t get the grass to grow. 

"It just was not coming back," he said.

Before long, fines started coming in from the Wildwood Ridge Homeowners Association. So, in April of 2017, he sent a request the HOA seeking permission to change the landscaping and replace the dead grass with rocks. Months went by without a decision and Kevin got tired of waiting.

"I took a command decision on myself, and I said I’m tired of this grass and I’m putting in the mulch and I’m putting in the rocks because previous to this, I was getting fined for the same issue."

That got the board’s attention. They denied his request and slapped him with a fine.

"I only got one notice from them after I pleaded my case at the HOA Board hearing in the variance and then after that, I paid the $25 fine and after that nothing was said."

That was until last month when a letter arrived from the HOA’s attorney demanding that he put the grass back or go to court.  Their reason? To keep a consistent look in the neighborhood.

"I’m fed up with this HOA!" 

Kevin took us around the neighborhood and showed us several examples where other homeowners replaced similar sized grass patches with rocks. In fact, one HOA board member completely xeriscaped his yard.

Meanwhile several of the neighborhood common areas, where HOA is responsible for keeping up the grass, are full of dead patches and weeds. Rather than waste his money paying attorneys, Kevin gave up the fight and put the grass back. It’s still struggling to grow.

News 5 made multiple attempts to get someone the HOA on camera for this report. Instead, we received a statement which reads in part that he board is pleased Kevin, "recognized his obligation to his fellow neighbors and installed the correct landscaping." 

They added that is is "unfortunate that it took 10 months, numerous hearings and correspondence and the possibility of a lawsuit" for Kevin to finally install the correct landscaping. The full statement is posted below.