Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County District Court judge ruled this week against a homeowners’ association threatening to fine a homeowner for a pet snack station.
The argument boils down to who has control over the city of Raleigh’s right-of-way, in this case a sliced of land between the sidewalk and the street. It’s where homeowner Chuck Pringle’s pet station has been for five years.
“I do see it as a victory,” Pringle said of the judge’s decision.
Pringle loves keeping dog treats well-stocked outside of his home in Bedford at Falls River. The HOA threatened to fine Pringle $100 per day for the dog treats.
Jordan Price Law Offices Attorney Weldon Jones represents the Bedford at Falls River Master Association, Inc. Jones said the HOA Board has not decided about whether to appeal the judge’s decision.
Neighbors have offered their support to Pringle, who has fought his HOA for two years.
“Mr. Pringle, thank you for your kindness to all of us pups in the neighborhood,” one neighbor wrote. “We love you and stand beside you. Victory prayers.”
Pringle’s lawsuit claims the HOA’s own rules state that “property owned … by the city” or “within the right-of-way” is exempt from HOA control.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which makes clear that the HOA exceeded its authority under the covenants,” said Pringle’s attorney, Colin McGrath. “We look forward to pursuing Mr. Pringle’s remaining claims based on the HOA’s unauthorized enforcement action.”
Earlier this month, WRAL News first told the legal battle between Pringle and the HOA.
“I was quite shocked at how the story basically went viral to a certain extent,” Pringle said. “More than 99% of those comments were in favor of my winning the case against the Bedford HOA and PPM, the former management company.”
Pringle hopes to get thousands of dollars of legal fees back.
“I am a retired paratrooper, an Army guy,” Pringle said. “My retirement paycheck is not huge.”
“The association continues to believe it has rights in this area and will continue to maintain it because they are required under the Declaration,” Jones said. “The order makes clear that it applies to only the issues raised in Mr. Pringle’s case and we will move forward on a case-by-case basis.”
However, Pringle’s lawsuit also accuses the Bedford HOA of not enforcing rules prohibiting on-street parking and political signs.
“The board’s position is that it always has and always will enforce the rules for all homeowners,” Jones said.