U.S. congressman sues neighbors claims their new house will be too big

It’s a neighbor vs. neighbor battle you don’t see every day.

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Sitting U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-North Carolina, and his wife filed a civil lawsuit against one of the wealthiest businessmen in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Doug Lebda is CEO of Charlotte-based Lending Tree. Lebda and his wife are building a beautiful new home next to the exclusive Quail Hollow golf course.

Pittenger and his wife live next door and are suing the Lebdas over the construction project.

The lawsuit says the new construction violates homeowners association building guidelines and suggests that the homeowner's association "knowingly approved" the plans that violate HOA rules.

The suit claims "The Pittengers, and other owners ... will be permanently and irreparably injured if (they) are allowed to construct the planned structures on the property."

The lawsuit asks for a ruling to "demolish or reconfigure the structures."

The lawsuit between the Pittengers and Lebdas boils down to the amount of space between their two homes.

They're each required to have 10 feet of setback or buffer between their property lines and houses. Sources said the Lebdas are over that line by 2 inches, and that the HOA granted them an "unintended overage variance."

The Pittengers say in their lawsuit that "Punitive damages are appropriate in this case to punish Defendants ... for their egregiously wrongful acts."

The Lebdas have not formally responded to the lawsuit but sources close to the case said that they deny doing anything wrong and insist that they have tried to resolve this issue reasonably with the Pittengers.

A person familiar with the Lebdas' efforts said they redesigned a roof overhang and changed windows to address concerns.

That person said the Lebdas even offered to buy 50 square feet of the Pittengers’ property to settle the matter.

Documents reviewed by WSOC-TV show the Pittengers wanted $1.725 million dollars for the 50 square feet of property. That breaks down to more than $34,000 per square foot.

The lawsuit maintains that the "Pittengers are entitled to monetary damages” and also points to "emotional stress suffered" by the Pittengers as a reason for compensation.

Pittenger lost his Republican primary last month. He remains in office, however, until early January 2019.

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