A Missouri appellate court rejected a homeowner’s appeal of an order to remove solar panels from property in the Lake of 12 Oaks subdivision.
The Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals issued an 18-page judgment Tuesday denying all five of Matthew “Scott” Hausman’s appeal arguments. The judicial panel’s review follows a judgment issued by Buchanan County Circuit Judge Randall Jackson.
The Lake of 12 Oaks Homeowners Association had rules requiring homeowners to submit any proposed structures to a design review committee for approval.
Hausman served on the association’s design review committee at the time he erected the solar panel system in July, 2012. He did so without prior committee approval.
Hausman’s attorney, Stephen Jeffery, argued in March that solar panels didn’t qualify as structures, therefore Hausman did not need to present his plans for review.
The three-judge panel ruled “solar arrays clearly fall within the definition of structures.”
The appellate court found the association’s restrictive covenants were for the legitimate purpose of “ensuring preservation and enhancement of property values, desirability, and attractiveness of the subdivision are met.”
The judges identified two neighbors who are having difficulties attributed to the solar panels and found reasonable evidence that at least one homeowner sustained a negative property value impact.
Hausman’s argument that the solar array met city zoning requirements also wasn’t valid, since the solar panel system was constructed before the city ordinances, which couldn’t be retroactively applied.
The appeals court panel left it to Jackson to determine the appropriate attorney fees that Hausman will have to pay. The association already asked for some $18,000 on the latest appeal.
Hausman had his case tried three times by Jackson, who found each time in favor of 12 Oaks.
Hausman will be allowed to keep the solar panels currently on his home but not on the ground or the garage.