N.C. man threatened with legal action for mowing his own yard
CHARLOTTE (May 29, 1998 02:38 a.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) -- In most
neighborhoods, a homeowner who takes loving care of his lawn is a welcome
addition. But not in Pullengreen. The homeowners association has
take legal action if Mike Perkins doesn't stop mowing his own grass.
Pullengreen does not permit homeowners to mow their front lawns. There is
landscaping company that does that for a monthly fee of $112 per home.
Pullengreen wants its 52 yards to look the same.
The way the 36-year-old Perkins sees it, his quarter-acre lot is his, and
he should be allowed to cut it so long as it does not detract from the
neighborhood. What's more, he says it relieves stress, and he takes pride
in bettering his lot.
He does not let the landscaping people mow his lawn because he says he can
do a better job.
The company mows the front lawns in Pullengreen and the homeowners are
responsible for the back yards, though most simply hire the landscaper to
mow it for an extra fee.
He knew the rules when he moved into the Charlotte subdivision six years
ago, but he didn't think he would be penalized for taking extra pains with
his grass. He pays the monthly fee, but still wants to do the work
Last fall, Perkins, a district manager for Brother International Corp.,
was first ordered to stop cutting his grass in a letter from the
association's attorney. For a time he did. But he revved up his
3.5-horsepower push mower when the lawn crew waited too long this spring
to cut the new growth of grass.
Then, at the association's May 18 meeting, the board announced that "legal
action will follow should this problem continue," according to the
"When they told me I couldn't cut my own yard, it dampened my enthusiasm.
I'll be honest -- it affected the way I took care of my back yard,"
Perkins added: "It blows me away that they felt I didn't have the right to
cut my own lawn. This country was founded on the idea of the rights of
the individual to, well, to have rights. If they take away my right to
take care of my own property, where's it going to stop?"
But if they change the rules for Perkins, the directors argue, it could
open the door for someone to have an ugly yard full of weeds.
Leading the enforcement effort against Perkins is Wilson Haney, a board
member who oversees the landscape committee.
He has no patience with Perkins' argument about lawns and liberty. The
rules will not change for one rebel with a lawn mower, he said.
"The militia people feel we shouldn't tax people, too -- and they hide up
in the hills with guns. Is that right?" Haney said. "If I didn't like the
rules, I'd go somewhere else."
Some residents also are unsympathetic to Perkins' plight. They didn't move
into a private community and pay $200,000 or more to make waves.
Others feel the board has gone too far and is not using able judgment.
"If someone wants to complain about my neighbor," said Ray Wood, a
Gastonia high school teacher who lives down the street, "complain about a
Complain about something that detracts. Don't complain about the
best-looking lawn in the neighborhood.
"If they want everything to look alike, they should all look like Michael