When Kathy Fry moved to the Valley from the East Coast to guide her family’s small business in 2011, she and her husband fell in love with a small agricultural community in Tempe. The Frys were good citizens and brushed up on Tempe building codes. They studied the covenants and took walks around the neighborhood to get a feel for what was acceptable and in-character before undertaking their first curb-appeal projects. The Frys broke ground on their dream project, a remodeled backyard with a new elegant chicken coop. The HOA stated if the structure was no taller than the back wall, there wasn’t necessary permission. As the project moved along, Kathy changed plans. She wanted to increase the height of the coop to allow her to clean it more easily and minimize odors. She would also raise the back wall to shelter the coop from the view of those using the alley/horse path. She submitted her plans to the HOA and received a swift denial. Kathy found that odd, considering that her previous front yard requests took an agonizing 30 days or more to get approved by the Board. As the conflict wore on, she received swift fines, swift cease-and-desist letter and swift orders to tear it down. Fry sent the HOA excerpts from the city code and pictures of other backyard structures in the neighborhood, and repeatedly requested to meet with the HOA and discuss the situation. Frustrated with the HOA, and after months of delays and many attempts to meet with the board or committee, Fry decided to complete the coop. She had idle contractors, and chickens on the way. Fry hired an attorney and they tried everything short of filing suit, but after 7 months they were left with no choice. The Frys title had also become clouded because of the HOA assessments and notices. After their suit was filed, a representative of the HOA finally visited Fry’s backyard, took some measurements and determined the coop complied.

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