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Legal standoff over garage ends

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Warren County filed suit against Steven S. Gordon, of 129 Hickory Tree Road, Lake Front Royal, claiming his garage is taller than his building permit allows. Rich Cooley/Daily

Breezeway between house brings structure into compliance with code

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The county got what it wanted from Steven S. Gordon: a breezeway between his house and detached garage that brings the imposing structure into compliance with county code.

As a result, Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp entered a consent decree Tuesday that ends a legal standoff between Gordon and the county that began years ago.

"We're happy," Assistant County Attorney Dan N. Whitten said Friday. "The breezeway passed inspection. He shouldn't have any problems with it anymore."

Gordon could not be reached for comment Friday. He has previously insisted that he has been trying to comply with building code requirements, but lacked the money to do so.

Gordon said in December that he had been stymied by the difficulty in building a breezeway on the side of a mountain, the site of his home at 129 Hickory Tree Lane.

The legal dispute escalated in September when he was fined $1,000 for failure to meet county code. Gordon had paid off $500 of the $1,000 fine when the county threatened to tear down the garage in December.

The violation stemmed from the height of the garage. It stands 24 feet, twice the height allowable under county code in a residential district. Whitten said neighbors registered numerous complaints with the county about what they considered the unsightly appearance of the garage.

The county demanded that Gordon build a 140-feet breezeway, which would make it an attached garage and therefore bring it into compliance with the code's height limits.
Gordon had contended that a building permit issued to him in 2007 allowed him to continue keeping the garage in its original, detached design as long he could show that he was making an "open and active" effort to build the breezeway.

On Jan. 18, the county filed a motion asking Hupp for a default judgment against Gordon in the lawsuit.

Hupp's consent decree states that Gordon has met the county's demands by "completing a breezeway between the house and the detached garage on his property."

1 Comment

God bless the government. You must build your home and gargage the way they see fit, or they will tear it down. What a joke!

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