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Lawsuit over parking dispute filed against city of Mebane and Manorfield HOA

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A lawsuit over alleged “unreasonable regulation” of parking in three common areas within the Manorfield subdivision in Mebane has been filed in Alamance County civil superior court against the city of Mebane and the subdivision’s homeowners association.

The parties were recently ordered to work out an agreement through a mediated settlement conference by January 10, 2024, according to the court file.

James Crandall purchased his home at 1404 Yellow Wood Drive, in the Manorfield subdivision in Mebane, in July 2017, according to Alamance County tax records. The property includes a 1,685-square foot single-family residence built on a .13-acre lot, according to tax records.

Crandall contends that the three parking areas in the common areas are located on a “combination of public and private streets,” according to his suit.

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“The disputed parking areas are oriented such that vehicles park perpendicular to the streets in two of those locations,” the complaint states. “The third location is configured as a parking lot serving a gazebo and related amenities that are part of the Common Area.”

Crandall contends that no such parking restrictions had existed for the subdivision when he bought his property. According to his suit, Crandall is allowed to drive a company-owned vehicle to his home, and had parked in a common area until the homeowners association later threatened to fine him for doing so.

The city of Mebane is also named as a defendant for allegedly failing to enforce its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) “in such a manner as to compel the Association to allow Crandall” and others to park vehicles in the disputed areas.

Crandall is seeking a judgment declaring that “any rule or regulation or erection of any signage” that prohibits him from parking in the common area as unreasonable.

The plaintiff is also asking for a judge to enter an order that would prevent the property owners association from prohibiting him from parking in Common Areas and to issue a writ of mandamus requiring the city to enforce its UDO. Crandall is also seeking an award for more than $25,000″for the unlawful confiscation of Crandall’s property right,” as well as recovery of his costs and attorneys fees for filing the lawsuit.

The city of Mebane has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing that Crandall has failed to exhaust other remedies available to him and has failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted. The city further asserts that it has not waived its privilege of governmental immunity to such claims.

In his suit, Crandall alleges that Manorfield was approved as a subdivision by the city, and it is the city’s “responsibility to evenly enforce its Unified Development Ordinance.”

A provision within the section of the UDO that deals with residential cluster development states, “Easements over the common areas for access, ingress from and to public streets and walkways and easements for enjoyment of the common areas, as well as for parking, shall be granted to each owner of a residential site,” Crandall notes in his suit.

The property owners association has also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Crandall’s alleged claims for relief are “governed by the restrictive covenants, bylaws, and articles of incorporation of the Association, and by law…and there is no law to support” Crandall’s claims.

The property owners association further contends that the suit should be dismissed because the action involves the property rights and interests of other members of the association, but Crandall has failed to properly join them as parties to the action.

The property owners association had posted signs in all three common areas within the subdivision on August 25, 2019, which stated: “Visitor Parking Only. Resident Parking Unauthorized, according to Crandall’s complaint.

Crandall insists in his suit that no such “unreasonable regulation” existed when he bought his home, and that the property owners association has deprived him of his property rights.

The city is being represented for the suit by attorney Ann C. Rowe of the Davis & Hamrick law firm in Winston-Salem. The property owners association is being represented by the Cranfill Sumner law firm in Raleigh. Crandall is being represented by attorney James K. Pendergrass of the Pendergrass law firm in Raleigh.

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