Swann Keys ruling interesting


It’s common in this community, and just about every other area of the country, for homeowners to battle against their homeowners’ associations. However, a dispute in the Swann Keys development has seen resolution in the Delaware Supreme Court.

Problems originally arose in this situation because of a 2007 battle over height restrictions. Two families reportedly began constructing homes in the community that eclipsed the 16.5-foot height limit imposed by the Swann Keys Civic Association. The association ordered the families to stop construction, and the families were warned that they would have to tear down the homes if the case brought by the association ruled against them.

But the homeowners put up a fight and eventually won a 2008 decision by the Court of Chancery that ruled that the SKCA exceeded its authority.

So, what does this mean for other homeowners’ associations in the area? Probably not a lot. In this particular case, with the bylaws and rules surrounding the SKCA and the residents of Swann Keys, it means a lot — but every homeowners’ association is different.

The associations basically exist to ensure that property values in the specific community are not diminished by actions of homeowners, and to attempt to keep the quality of life in the community at a high level. They are there to try to make living in a specific community as nice an experience as possible.

Yes, we know that problems arise between homeowners and these organizations. But, let’s face facts, that happens with every organization somebody could imagine. No group can ever make every person it serves happy all the time.

Do the associations sometimes get heavy-handed with enforcement issues? Absolutely. Do residents sometimes blatantly do things that aren’t in the best interests of the community? Again, absolutely.

We sincerely hope that both sides in this dispute view this as a ruling to settle a dispute between two entities, and that everyone moves ahead to enjoy a relationship that only benefits Swann Keys in the future.