TEXAS – HOA, resident go to court in flagpole dispute
By Cindy George
May 18, 2013
The relationship between homeowner association boards and residents of the communities they oversee can be contentious. And then, there’s the legendary level of toxicity. Neighbors take sides. Camps form. Community bulletin boards and Facebook posts turn nasty. And, in the case of the Forrest Lake Townhouse Association’s meeting this week, it took a Houston Police Department officer to help resolve a conflict. The northwest Houston neighborhood’s private discord leapt into the public arena recently when the HOA sued homeowner Billy B. Martin for placing a flagpole on a cantilever protruding from his porch.
Martin, 65, claims he was targeted after hounding HOA leaders about a tattered clubhouse flag. After that was replaced, he said association board members told him to remove his flag because it was infringing on the common area or risk $200-a-day fines for attorney’s fees and civil damages. He disagreed with their assessment and refused to dismantle his display. The association sought a permanent injunction in December. That’s when Martin, in protest, began flying his flag upside down.
According to the lawsuit, the pole is “a violation of the general scheme and plan for the development and building in the subdivision.” The filing claims that Martin’s “actions are intentional and/or negligent invasions” into property owned by the HOA and its members and that his display “substantially interferes with their use and enjoyment of the land and it is unreasonable under the circumstances.” The petition also asserts that the community of more than 200 two-story townhouses will suffer diminishing rental or market values if the pole stays.