NewsNovember 30, 2016

Hero fights HOA to keep putting green, sand trap in his backyard

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MEGAN SMITH The World-Herald

Few things are as aggravating as an overzealous homeowner association. Keeping the neighborhood in pristine condition is ostensibly their purpose; in reality, it's usually a group of power-hungry clowns with nothing better to do than give you gruff for your fence being too high. Absolutely true: I've received two HOA complaints in my life. One for a party's excessive noise, funny because the "party" in question was just my roommate and I watching a March Madness game; another for my Christmas lights not matching the street's preference for white-only bulbs. In a related note, I no longer live at that address.

Alas, a man in Omaha is facing a bigger battle with his HOA, one that's reached the Nebraska Supreme Court. His neighborhood has ordered him to remove his backyard putting green,which also features a sand trap and tee boxes. But he's not going quietly into that good night.

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Eight year ago Eric Marsh planted this golfer's dream -- along with a basketball court and fire pits -- into his yard, costing him a cool $350,000. But four years ago the Fire Ridge HOA filed a lawsuit, asserting that Marsh's amusement park deviated from approved plans and violated the neighborhood’s covenants. A district judge sided with Fire Ridge, as did the state's supreme court, ordering Marsh to remove some parts of his backyard.

MEGAN SMITH The World-Herald

Yet, according to a lawsuit filed by the HOA last week, Marsh still hasn't complied. He now has to return to court, facing fines -- and possible jail time -- for failing to adhere.

Marsh told the Omaha World-Herald he has "bullets left in the chamber" to combat the order.

“I plan to do what I absolutely have to do," he said. "I’ll stand my ground as long as I can.”

If the ultimately loses, the putting green would have to be removed.

“Tearing the putting green out -- there’s no way it will look as nice as it did before," Marsh continued. "So you’re going from something that is aesthetically pleasing to something that is not. It’s insane.”

Far be it from us to disagree with the government, but we're on Marsh's side. Besides, what monster doesn't want a putting green in their neighborhood? Keep fighting the good fight, Eric.


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