I highly encourage you to read the following! It is urgent to raise funds to support the case of Williams v Reardon, which is explained below. The outcome of this case could drastically affect the preservation of our neighborhoods.
All homeowners who live in neighborhoods that rely on restrictive covenants for setbacks, subdivision prohibitions, and single-family only restrictions, must read the following letters from Richard Vinroot and Ken Davies regarding one of the most important real estate cases in North Carolina in years. I also encourage you to donate to the Charlotte Home Preservation Fund to cover legal expenses incurred by Margaret and Ward Williams in defending restrictive covenants in Eastover, as well as Myers Park, Dilworth, Elizabeth, Chantilly, Plaza-Midwood, and many other neighborhoods in Mecklenburg County and North Carolina. They have been carrying the financial and emotional burden for all of us and need our support to continue the fight. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE. NEIGHBORHOOD SUPPORT IS CRITICAL!
The Eastover Case
Litigation began in the summer of 2018 between Ward and Margaret Williams and their next-door neighbors, Michael and Karyn Reardon, concerning the Reardons’ attempt to construct an addition to the side of their residence on Cherokee Road. The Williams alleged that the addition was in violation of the uniform restrictive covenants, attached by E.C. Griffith Company in the 1920s, because it was not set back at least 20 feet as required. After that lawsuit was filed several hundred other Eastover homeowners, including my wife Judy and me, were joined as necessary party defendants since the lawsuit has the potential to affect our property rights as well by negating the enforceability of the same restrictive covenants. Because Judy and I believe that this case is important to us, and all of our neighbors, I have volunteered my time as a lawyer to work with the Williams’ counsel, Ken Davies, and James Smith, who represents 36 other neighbors, in their efforts to uphold the Eastover restrictions.
Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge George Bell ruled in March that the Eastover restrictions had effectively been terminated by a 1973 state law, which he construed to extinguish all of those restrictions, except a single requirement that all lots are restricted to residential use only. Because all of us believe strongly that Judge Bell’s decision is erroneous, and represents a serious threat to the stability of our neighborhood and the values of our homes, we have appealed his decision to the N.C. Court of Appeals. We expect their written decision concerning that appeal within 3 or 4 months, in accordance with that Court’s normal procedures.
No matter who prevails in the N. C. Court of Appeals I believe that the other side is likely to appeal further to the N.C. Supreme Court. I believe the Reardons’ title insurance company has been paying their legal expenses but the Williams have paid their own expenses and would need to spend even more if the case goes to the State Supreme Court. The Williams have carried the emotional and financial burden for all of Eastover and any other neighborhood in NC that has enforceable restrictive covenants. In order for them to continue the fight, funds will need to be raised to cover legal expenses. I certainly plan to “stay the course”, and am hopeful that our 36 neighbors who have employed Mr. Smith to assist will do so as well.
If anyone has questions of me in this regard, please don’t hesitate to call me at my office (704/377-8328) at your convenience. Thank you for listening.
YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE IN JEOPARDY
WHY THE EASTOVER CASE IS IMPORTANT
I, Ken Davies, represent Ward and Margaret Williams in their lawsuit to enforce Eastover restrictive covenants, specifically, a side setback restriction on their next-door neighbors’, The Reardon’s, property, on Cherokee Road. The Reardon’s raised a legal defense, which asserted that the North Carolina Marketable Title Act had voided all of the deed restrictions on their property, except for the residential use restriction.
The Reardon’s Marketable Title Act defense endangers the deed restrictions in all of Eastover, and potentially any other neighborhood in NC that has restrictive covenants. If the NC Court of Appeals rules in favor of the Reardons then their deed restrictions, other than the residential use restriction, will be void, including the front setback restriction, the side setback restriction, the lot subdivision prohibition restriction, and most importantly the “single-family residence” restriction. That decision could be used by other property owners in Eastover, and other neighborhoods, to void the restrictions on their property, which would open the door to duplex, triplex, quadruplex, and apartment or condominium projects. Lots could be subdivided into very small lots for cluster housing or townhome housing. Zoning modifications by the City Council would be necessary for multifamily projects to proceed, but zoning is political. The valuable legal protection of the restrictive covenants would be gone.
The result of the Williams v. Reardon case will impact every residential community in North Carolina, especially older Charlotte neighborhoods such as Myers Park, Elizabeth, Chantilly, Plaza-Midwood, and Dilworth, and similar historic communities in every other town and city in North Carolina. The Williams v. Reardon case has become the most important real estate case in years, and the outcome of the case will have a profound effect on the practice of real estate law in North Carolina for years to come. It can hardly be overstated how important this case is to the preservation of the quality and character of Eastover, and every other residential neighborhood in North Carolina.
Best Regards to All,
Kenneth T. Davies, Esq.
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If you have any questions please contact Nancy Carlton at [email redacted]
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