ANNAPOLIS – When his community association told Lester David Bauguess he could not build a detached, three-car garage in his backyard, he began parking his cars on the street.
And in the driveway to his existing three-car garage. And in his front yard. And in front of the sales office for the Harford County subdivision.
In all, Bauguess parked as many as 22 vehicles at a time around Edwards Manor, including a limo, a motor home, cars with their hoods up and a truck with a snowplow attached. He put a lighted, flashing sign that said “Say No to Edwards Manor” in the bed of a pickup truck.
A Harford Circuit judge said it was clear Bauguess, a used- car dealer, was acting out of spite and ordered him to stop. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed Wednesday.
“I just think it was an extreme case of a person showing extreme disrespect for the neighborhood in which he lives,” said Michael E. Leaf, attorney for Edwards Manor Limited Partnership and for a local couple, who sued Bauguess.
But Bauguess’ attorney, Timothy R. Streett, called Wednesday’s ruling unfair.
“This is not a private road, it’s a dedicated public county road that the judge has restricted Lester and Debra Bauguess from parking on,” said Streett, adding that the Bauguesses usually keeps only 12 to 15 cars at their home at a time.
Court documents say Bauguess was looking for a place where he could build a detached three-car garage when he bought a two- acre parcel in the subdivision in 1994. He applied for permission to build the garage with the Edwards Manor Community Association, but was turned down by its architectural review committee on Nov. 1, 1994.
“What happened as a result of that disapproval — and I think the evidence is very clear on this — that Mr. Bauguess was unhappy, immediately the cars started appearing on the street,” said Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill.
Whitfill, in an injunction delivered in February 1997, said Bauguess’ behavior was “offensive and noxious and … done as a matter of spite” for being denied permission for his garage. He ruled that the “pattern of spite” violated neighborhood covenants.
The judge also said that, by parking on two sides of Edwards Manor Drive, Bauguess prevented the original owners of the land, Charles and Nora Edwards, from using the road to get farm equipment to their remaining fields. The Edwards, who sued along with the developer, preserved that access to their fields in the original sales agreement.
Whitfill said Bauguess could not have more than four cars at a time in the subdivision. He was also prohibited from parking commercial vehicles, leaving car hoods up or parking any untagged or dealer-tagged cars in his driveway or on Edwards Manor Drive.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld that part of the order, but overturned another part that banned Bauguess from parking any cars that were not registered to him or his family.
The court said that restriction would have made it impossible for the family to ever entertain guests.
The Bauguesses could not be reached for comment on the ruling Wednesday night.