Neighborhood association sues property owners over alleged violation of city code, neighborhood covenants

By Chelsea Partington | Sep 24, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans neighborhood association is seeking injunctive relief against the owners of property located in the Lake Forest Estates for allegedly violating New Orleans City Code in the process of repairing hurricane damage to a home.

Lake Forest Estates Improvement Association Inc. filed suit against Ronald Charles Signal and Otis Signal, Jr. in the New Orleans Parish Central District Court on July 15.

The Lake Forest Estates Improvement Association manages the Lake Forest Estates subdivision, and enforces the Lake Forest Estates Act of Restrictions.

The association claims that Ronald and Otis Signal bought the property located at 6061 Wright Road in the Lake Forest Estates subdivision in New Orleans on Jan. 30, 2012 for $165,000.

The home had allegedly sustained damages as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the Signals are reportedly to have began repairs soon after buying the residence.

The petition states that as of July 15, the property continues to have openings between the foundation and underneath the house, openings in the second floor exterior on the front and rear of the house, openings below the upper floor windows and missing exterior surfaces on the front, sides and rear of the house.

Further, the association alleges that scaffolding has been erected and placed in front of the house, there is new construction on the front of the property encroaching in to the required front yard, the rear fence is partially collapsed, there is a new addition to the second floor of the rear of the building and there is trash and other waste piled against the rear of the house not kept in a sanitary container.

The act of restrictions requires that all buildings comply with all ordinances and statutes applicable to the home and the Signal property has allegedly been cited with numerous violations of City of New Orleans codes.

On May 9, Otis Signal Jr. reportedly applied for and was issued a building permit to perform $6,000 worth of non-structural and interior work to the property.

The plaintiffs charge that the application and building permit vastly and falsely misrepresent the value of the actual work being performed on the property, as substantial exterior and structural work is actually being performed at a cost much greater than Otis Signal Jr. has stated.

The association argues that an injunction is an appropriate measure in this case because the Signal family is in violation of the city code and the Lake Forest Estates Restrictive covenants pertaining to violation of an ordinance or statute.

The plaintiff asserts that it has a substantial interest in maintaining the general welfare and property values of the neighborhood, as well as maintaining compliance with the association's restrictive covenants. The association is requesting a preliminary injunction, followed by a mandatory and permanent injunction, be issued to enjoin the continued and ongoing violations of their restrictive covenants.

The association requests that a mandatory injunction be issued ordering defendants to demolish and/or renovate the Signal property to comply with the city code and restrictive covenants in a timely manner.

The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief prohibiting the Signals from violating the City Code of New Orleans or the Act of Restrictions of the Lake Forest Estates Improvement Association, and prohibiting the Signal family from performing any further work or construction at the property located at the home.

The plaintiff also prays for judgment in favor of Lake Forest Estates Improvement Association and an unknown amount in damages for legal interest, attorney's fees, court costs and all just and equitable relief as deemed appropriate.

Lake Forest Estates Improvement Association is represented by Edward R. Washington III of The Washington Law Group LLC.

The case has been assigned to District F Judge Christopher J. Bruno.

Case no. 2014-06920.

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