We were served a letter to cease and desist all "Business activities" implying that we were making "Excessive Disturbing Noise" and are "noxious and offensive trade" without proving and providing any proof of the accusation.
So, considering the 1st amendment, the Maryland Declaration of Rights (Article 36, 1867) , and the CHAPTER 21C--PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS EXERCISE IN LAND USE AND BY INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS, how can we go about to exercise our freedom of worship, which is in NO WAY :
1- An excessive and disturbing noise and that we were the source of the noise at the time the violation occurred.
2- Disrupting the quiet enjoyment of the neighbor’s home by us.
3- A Christian religious gathering which noxious or offensive trade or business.
Our mode of worship as a church does use sound within the house, but it is far less, and not heard even on our own driveway. While the rules could prohibit business operations, it allows days care that necessarily have customers and visitors.... however the covenant does not explicitly prohibit a religious gathering. However the board and it's agent interpret it that way
So is the covenant supersede the 1st Amendment, and MD law?
The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, protects citizens from the GOVERNMENT. Not from HOA's. If your HOA has rules or regulations that you have agreed to by purchasing into the HOA, then you can (1) comply with regulations (2) decline to comply and respond to any law suit that results, (3) wofk with the HOA Board of Directors to determine what is causing the complaints.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE, NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE CREATED. DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY ON THIS FORUM. Actual legal advice comes after a complete review of the all facts and relevant documents. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline