Myers Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized nationally as a premier example of good land use planning. As its name suggests, Myers Park’s designers intended that it have a park-like atmosphere, with large front lawns uninterrupted by walls, fences, and parking areas; homes are set back a good distance from the streets; and ample space is left between houses to ensure green space and privacy. That the neighborhood continues to flourish today is a tribute to the planners’ farsighted design.
The principal keys to Myers Park’s continued good design are the deed restrictions that apply to almost all property in Myers Park. Deed restrictions are the covenants that were originally imposed on lots in Myers Park and, because they “run with the land,” govern the use of property in Myers Park today. Deed restrictions dictate that property in Myers Park will be used for single-family (or residential), multi-family, or commercial purposes. Indeed the neighborhood is comprised of primarily single-family homes but also includes numbers apartments, condominiums, and duplexes as well as commercial properties. The restrictions specify that houses will be built a certain distance from the street (setbacks) and certain distances from lot sidelines (side yards). Some restrictions require, for example, a setback as deep as 60 feet and side yards as wide as 15 feet on each side; other restrictions govern the locations and sizes of house and outbuildings, such as garages, and walls and fences. Most of the the homes in Myers Park were built from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. Where homes have been torn down, and new ones have replaced them, the deed restrictions are still viable.
Although the restrictions differ somewhat from one part of Myers Park to another, most of the restrictions are more demanding than (and override) the regulations contained in the City’s Building and Zoning Code. If building and zoning code regulations and deed restrictions differ, the more restrictive of the two prevails. City representatives are often not aware of and cannot enforce deed restrictions. If a lot owner obtains a building permit, the owner may still be in violation of, and subject to, more demanding deed restrictions.
The Myers Park Homeowners Association is dedicated to seeing that the deed restrictions are observed and enforced. The purpose of this strong enforcement is to maintain the original charter of the Myers Park neighborhood. The Association has a substantial legal fund and will, for example, provide financial backing for strategic lawsuits filed to enforce those restrictions. A major concern is that, if deed restrictions are violated and those violations are not challenged legally, the restrictions in time will become legally unenforceable.
We therefore urge and encourage you to do the following:
1. If you are planning to build an addition to your home or even a house, review the deed restrictions that apply to your property before you begin construction in order to insure that your plans comply with the restrictions. (If you cannot locate the deed restrictions that apply to your property, you can probably obtain them from the lawyer who assisted you in purchasing your home or you can go to the office of the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, who can help you locate those restrictions.)
If you have questions about your restrictions or wish to be sure that you do not violate them, please feel free to contact the President of the MPHA or one of the members of the Board of Directors.
2. If you are asked to sign any document purporting to waive a violation by a neighbor of the restrictions that apply to his or her property, do not sign the waiver until you have spoken about it with a member of the MPHA’s Board. A waiver document eliminates some of your legal rights. When you waive property rights without compensation, it becomes a gift to allow others to benefit at your expense. Property rights, such as deed restrictions are passed on to you when you invest in your home site. You jeopardize this investment if the restrictions protecting this property are weakened. Development by firms and individuals are generally for their benefit—NOT yours!! You should evaluate any request for property waiver to see what effect the waiver could have on you. Simply signing to be a “nice guy” is not a financially smart move.
3. If you are aware of any Myers Park construction that appears to violate the deed restrictions or any proposed building project in Myers Park, contact a member of the MPHA Board right away.
Deed restrictions are very important to the continued beauty, historical character, and stability of Myers Park; the restrictions are valid and enforceable; the MPHA has supported.