The following is their grounds for denial: "We all agree that the garage itself is attractive and well planned out. The issue is with the garage being detached. This is not allowed per our ARC Design Standards. We would be happy to work with you on this project as long as the new garage is attached to the main house. I hope that you understand this is a rule that applies to all residents, per Section 1 of the Design Standards, #20. “Freestanding structures” must not be allowed from the street. We are trying to be fair to all neighbors. We have had other residents re-plan their garage addition to be compliant." Now the issue we have is two-fold. 1) The HOA is not enforcing all of the design standards or covenants in the neighborhood. There are people who are openly in violation and the HOA has let it go. I can cite many examples where the HOA is not enforcing the covenants. Also, we have a pie-shaped lot so ANY structure we put on our property can be seen from the street, even our sons playground and the shed we built, yet the HOA has let those go. The same for neighbors
From what you have posted, my evaluation is that suing the HOA is not a viable option. You can file the suit, you can pay the costs and legal expenses to file, the HOA will win the case, and you may end up paying the HOA's legal fees to defend the suit. There may be some covenant violations in the community, but most judges would look at the facts you have presented and say the HOA is within its authority, it is offering a reasonable alternative, and the decision to approve or disapprove is discretionary. A judge will not, in most cases, overturn a discretionary decision like this
Your solution is to work with the HOA and come up with something both of you can live with. At least that is how I evaluate your situation.
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