ATHENS, GA – April 25, 2019 – A lawsuit was filed on April 18 by Athens residents Carter and Shelley Dodd in an effort to ensure the future success of their farm. The Dodds are also looking to recover money damages. Diamond Hill Farm has suffered losses due to the delays caused by the current Board’s resistance to the farm. The couple is represented by Rob Huestis and Haley Robison of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. The suit was filed against Shoal Creek Farms Homeowners Association, Inc.
In September 2018, the Dodds purchased a home and approximately eight acres of land in the Shoal Creek Farms subdivision in Athens. Prior to purchasing the property, the Dodds sought approval from the Shoal Creek Farms Homeowners Association to operate a small commercial organic vegetable farm on the property. The Board voted 4-1 in favor of the farm.
After the Dodds moved in to the Shoal Creek Farms subdivision, the composition of the Homeowners Association’s Board of Directors changed, and the current Board is now demanding that the Dodds cease operating the farm. The Dodds’ livelihood is dependent on their farm operation. Accordingly, the Dodds have been forced to take legal action to ensure the future success of their farm.
“The HOA’s Covenants control this case. The Dodds followed the Covenants by submitting a proposal for a small commercial organic vegetable farm on the property and there is no question the HOA Board approved this use,” BBGA shareholder Rob Huestis said. “The current Board wants to undo the prior approval of the farm or place unnecessary restrictions, but the Board is not permitted to do that under the Covenants. The Dodds are therefore seeking money damages. They have suffered losses due to the delays caused by the current Board’s attempts to prevent them from operating the farm. At the very least, the Dodds seek a judicial confirmation that they may operate the farm and continue to provide fresh organic vegetables to this community.”
The Dodds have been growing organic vegetables for the Athens Farmers Market since 2012 and co-founded the Collective Harvest CSA in 2015. Carter Dodd is the current president of the Athens Farmers Market’s Board of Directors. The Dodds’ farm also supplies many local restaurants with fresh organic produce. To learn more about the Dodds and Diamond Hill Farm please visit https://www.facebook.com/DiamondHillFarmGA/.