Homeowner's Fire Ridge Property Dispute To Be Settled In Court

Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) - A man developed what some of his neighbors call an "obscene" display on his property and want to see parts of it go. Since 2008 they have verbally battled back-and-forth with Eric Marsh about this situation.

But Marsh is fighting back--in court. He filed a lawsuit against his Home Owner's Association.

"I'm not going to sit here and be second guessed and judged and held to a higher standard by a board that simply appears to just act out of petulance more than they do out of governing," Marsh said over the phone.

Marsh purchased two lots in Fire Ridge Estates near Elkhorn in July 2006. He said the board approved all the plans he presented.

"The plan clearly shows an infinity pool, clearly shows a basketball court exactly where it's located, clearly shows a large putting green, it shows a tetherball pole," Marsh continued. "All the other little things--they're minor. They don't matter."

The HOA's attorney David Welch said Marsh did not include tee boxes in his plans, but built them anyway. Some neighbors complain this is a safety hazard and a nuisance.

"It's kind of showy. It attracts a bunch of neighbors," Cole Carleton, who lives next door to Marsh's lot, said. "Everybody is coming over here to see what's going on. I don't know, I'd rather it'd been a new house."

HOA also said Marsh never installed the "sod, sidewalk and sprinklers" he agreed to in the Purchaser's Agreement. Documents show Marsh was given a notice two times before HOA submitted a formal request.

Among the other complaints HOA filed were relocation of Marsh's basketball court. Board members filed that the court is "closer to the street than proposed leaving insufficient room for the trees and shrubs" that would block the court from public view.

Some neighbors like Paul Dunning didn't mind the view.

"I feel like they paid for their lot and since it's well decorated there [are] no dumpsters or garbage," Dunning continued. "If he wants to pay that much for his own lot just to put a basketball court on it that's his purgative."

Another issue HOA took up with Marsh was his fence. Part of his property is surrounded by a fence--the pool in his backyard. The basketball court and golf course, HOA said, have no fence and are adjacent to neighbors' front yards, which it finds unsafe because Marsh can hit golf balls into the neighborhood--potentially harming pedestrians or damaging property.

Marsh responded.

"The bigger issue is that the Home Owner's Association does not regulate safety. The Home Owner's Association doesn't have the ability to tell us what to do in our yards."

Neighbor Scott Carson disagreed, but understood both Marsh's and the HOA's point of views.

"Fence in the whole entire area. Have your privacy and do whatever you want [with] hitting within your trees and your fence," Carson said.

Carson went through a similar process with building a pool and outdoor kitchen in his backyard. All his plans were approved.

"It's unfortunate it's got to go to court because, you know, I think the only people that are going to win in court are going to be the attorneys."

HOA wants Marsh to remove the tee boxes, three flagpoles and AstroTurf landscaping. It also requested he install perimeter shrubs and bushes.

Marsh said he would not compromise.

"As a board you don't have the right to tell me what I can and can't put in my yard. This is just them trying to make it look like I have all these exceptions when I don't."

He said everything would stay because it was all originally approved.