Homeowner’s Drain Tile Trenches Wreak Havoc in Neighbors’ Yards
Published in The Charlotte Observer, 10/11/12 Q: A member of our homeowners’ association believes he does not have to follow our subdivision’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (or CCRs). He filled in the natural depression of the drainage ditch in his back yard to level the area. He then built a catch basin at his property line where the natural water flow would normally have gradually drained onto the adjacent lot, and installed drain tile trenches that all empty into a catch basin. Now during heavy rains, his neighbor has rapids over 4 feet wide and sometimes over a foot deep eroding away his yard. Now during heavy rains, his neighbor has rapids over 4 feet wide and sometimes over a foot deep eroding away his yard. He never requested approval of this change from our HOA’s architectural review board, and he never requested permission from the city’s Storm Water Services department or the erosion inspector. This has been going on in stages for three years, but is now causing major damage to lots downstream. He laughs when you tell him to tear it up or start being fined. What can we do? First, read the CCRs carefully to determine whether the alterations required prior approval of your architectural committee. Some older CCRs do not have any architectural review and approval procedures; others require approval only for certain changes or additions to the home itself; others require the submission and approval of detailed plans before a change or addition can be made to virtually anything located within the lot boundaries, including landscaping and drainage.