Tuesday Oct 07 2008
Stonegate suit slams peeling paint
By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
An out-of-town landlord is a contentious defendant in a local covenant lawsuit. Gwen Wiltens, who lists addresses in Cupertino and Mokelumne Hill, owns a house at 1634 Wyndham Way in the Stonegate Village neighborhood, where covenants are enforced by plaintiff El Dorado Hills Community Services District. It’s argued her property’s exterior walls and lawn aren’t kept in a condition “to be in harmony and conformity with the area.” “Her main issue is paint,” said Wayne Lowery, district general manager. “She lives in the Bay Area, this is a rental for her and she’s not really interested in spending money.” Spending time, however, Wiltens apparently is willing to do. She has filed in court several pages of single-spaced rebuttal to district contentions. “I told (a compliance officer) I had driven by the property a couple of months before and observed that the lawn appeared acceptable, although not as lush as some lawns, and that I noticed no peeling paint,” Wiltens wrote in a filing with El Dorado County Superior Court. A total of three written notices must be sent before any lawsuit can be filed. Wiltens claims not to have received at least one early notice from the district about the conditions, which were the subject of a complaint to enforcement officials. “The resident of my property has indicated to me tht they received only the ‘Third Final’ notification that stated a copy had been sent to the owner,” Wiltens wrote. “Because of that, it did not occur to them that they should inform me of the letter. Had the district not stated on the letter to the resident that a copy had been sent to the owner, the current resident would have forwarded the notices to me, and I would have taken action to prevent an escalation of this matter.” A settlement conference is scheduled for Oct. 16 Wiltens wrote that if the court ultimately finds in her favor, she requests a judge order an apology from the district “signed by all members who voted for this lawsuit,” and requests other compensations including that “the district be compelled to abandon its practice of portraying its demands as friendly ‘requests,’ and make it clear in all their verbal dealings, correspondence and other written material that failure to meet their demands will ultimately result in a lawsuit.” The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment at edhtelegraph.com.