Real Estate & Property Law

Lawyer Loses Pro Se Case Over Backyard Swimming Pool Built Without Permit, Could Be Fined $360K


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Representing himself and his wife pro se, an Oregon attorney told a municipal court judge that they had built a $100,000 backyard swimming pool without a required wetlands permit because the mayor of West Linn told them they could do so.

However, that argument was not persuasive to West Linn Municipal Court Judge Heather Karabeika, who on Tuesday found that Troy and Gina Bundy knew they needed to get the municipal permit from the Portland suburb but put in the pool without one, the Oregonian reports.

The mayor had no authority to OK the pool without a permit, the judge wrote in her opinion, and “Mr. Bundy is an experienced attorney and should have been wary of proceeding in this fashion to make modifications on his property without the city’s approval in advance.”

However, there was some good news for the couple: Karabeika found that West Linn police had failed to meet a six-month statute of limitations when the department cited the couple in June over the pool and sought to impose fines of up to $2,000 per day, retroactive to 2009. That means they now face a maximum financial penalty of only $360,000, the newspaper reports.

Both sides will present further arguments for consideration at a Sept. 20 hearing concerning how best to resolve the situation.

An assistant city manager says West Linn is pleased with the Tuesday decision and will wait until the judge decides on a remedy before considering any further steps in the case. The Bundys did not return a call seeking comment from the newspaper. However, Troy Bundy has testified that he couldn’t remove the pool without a permit, the article notes.

An earlier Oregonian article gives additional details about the case.

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