Monday, June 21, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor

click to enlarge
A few weeks ago I received an email from a Tales of Two Cities reader about a turf war going on between the residents of the Legacy at Ellicott Mills Phase 1 and Phase 2. The conflict between the two active adult communities has escalated to the point where the Phase 1 residents have now gated off their community from Phase 2, denying Phase 2 residents direct access to Route 104.

Needless to say the residents of Phase 2 are not happy about this development. Though they are not cut off from Route 104, they now must travel an additional quarter mile down a narrow road with a blind ninety degree turn in order to get in and out of their community.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The developer, Don Ruewer, had intended for Phase 2 to have an easement through Phase 1 but apparently that easement was never properly recorded. The directions to the builders Phase 2 model home still take you through the road that is now blocked with a locked gate.

The Phase 1 residents are well within their rights. The road in question, Water Grove Lane, is a private road. Its maintenance and upkeep are the sole responsibility of the Phase 1 homeowners association.

When I first heard about this I was already to pounce on the Phase 1 residents for being lousy neighbors. As I looked deeper into the dispute I discovered that this is more complicated than the gate that one local wag referred to as the Berlin Wall. Apparently Phase 1 residents were willing to keep their road open to the Phase 2ers so long as the Phase 2ers were willing to contribute to Water Grove Lane’s upkeep.

I can only guess that those discussions didn’t go all that well, hence the gate.

I spoke with another source that is very close to the situation who told me that there is yet another dynamic at play here. This source, who has asked to remain anonymous, told me that Phase 2 residents don’t like driving through the old Grove Angle Road neighborhood to get to their new homes. This neighborhood is a mix of good and bad with tidy homes sitting next to homes with broken down vehicles parked in the yard. Some Phase 2 active adults believe this devalues their homes.

Are these all great neighbors or what?
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