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Md. Homeowners Challenge County-Imposed Easement

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Michael Sandler surveys his property, most of which he is not allowed to maintain by Montgomery County law.
Elliott Francis
Michael Sandler surveys his property, most of which he is not allowed to maintain by Montgomery County law.

The easement on the property located in Silver Spring prohibits the owners of four homes from digging, erecting fences, mowing grass, or even pulling weeds in portions of their backyards.

Michael and Linda Sandler own one of the homes. Although Michael Sandler admits they overlooked documentation of the easement in their closing docs, he believes it should have been formerly disclosed to them before they purchased the home.

"You would hope that they would pass that information along to you but they're not going to because they want to sell the house," he says.

The Sandlers three other neighbors are also caught in the same bind -- all unaware of the conservation requirement until county officials notified them of the violation. They're part of approximately 78 home owners in the county cited for similar easement infractions in the past year.

Michael Sandler says he just wants the county to be fair.

"If I honestly thought I was doing something wrong, I wouldn't be talking to you today," he says.

The Sandlers have been fined $2,500 by the county. Calls to the Montgomery County Planning Department have not been returned.

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