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Asbury Park, LLC, An Idaho Limited Liability Company; and v. Greenbriar Estate Homeowners' Association

January 11, 2012

ASBURY PARK, LLC, AN IDAHO LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY; AND
JOHN ESPOSITO, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS-COUNTERDEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
GREENBRIAR ESTATE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION, INC., AN IDAHO NONPROFIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-COUNTERCLAIMANT-APPELLANT, AND DEBRA HOBBS A/K/A DEBBIE HOBBS, AN INDIVIDUAL, D/B/A ACTION ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY, DEFENDANT-COUNTERCLAIMANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Horton, Justice.

2012 Opinion No. 14

Stephen Kenyon, Clerk

The district court order granting partial summary judgment is affirmed.

Greenbriar Estates Homeowner's Association (Greenbriar HOA or the HOA) and developer Asbury Park, LLC assert conflicting interests in a Greenbriar Estates Subdivision (Greenbriar Estates or the subdivision) lot upon which Asbury Park constructed storage facilities. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Asbury Park. Greenbriar HOA appeals and asserts that the district court erred by rejecting the HOA's common law dedication and fraud claims, as well as by refusing to apply the Restatement (Third) of Property-Servitudes. We affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Asbury Park is a limited liability company of which John Esposito is the sole member. In late 2004, Asbury Park initiated the process to develop the Greenbriar Estates Subdivision. The City of Nampa (the City) annexed and rezoned the parcel where Asbury Park intended to construct the subdivision and approved Asbury Park's subdivision application. On February 22, 2005, the City approved the Greenbriar Estates Subdivision final plat. Several months later, on September 23, 2005, Asbury Park recorded the approved final plat. Asbury Park recorded the subdivision's Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) on October 4, 2005, and filed articles of incorporation for the Greenbriar Estates Homeowners' Association on October 5, 2005. Thereafter, Asbury Park conveyed subdivision lots to two builders that in turn sold lots to individual homeowners.

The final plat and the CC&Rs each provided that a storage facility for the use of individual homeowners would be located on subdivision Lot 39. Asbury Park began construction of that facility on June 15, 2006. Pursuant to language in the CC&Rs, the HOA believed that Asbury Park owned Lot 39 and paid rent to Asbury Park for the storage facility units.

In early July 2007, Asbury Park conveyed all common areas to Greenbriar HOA, but reserved to Asbury Park ownership of Lot 39. Later that month, Esposito encouraged the surveyor who had assisted in preparation of the recorded plat to record an affidavit indicating that the original plat had erroneously listed Lot 39 as a common area owned by the HOA. The surveyor recorded an affidavit purporting to correct the error.*fn1

In October 2007, it was discovered that Asbury Park lacked a certificate of occupancy for the storage units. The HOA consequently believed that vacant units could not legally be occupied, and ceased paying rent to Asbury Park for unoccupied storage units. Around the same time, it came to light that the recorded plat, the CC&Rs, and the deeds contained the following conflicting language regarding the ownership of Lot 39:

(1) The Recorded Plat: The recorded plat states that Lot 39 and several other lots were "designated as common area lots and shall be owned and maintained by the homeowner's association as established in the subdivision covenants."

(2) The CC&Rs: One section of the CC&Rs lists Lot 39 as one of several lots that are "common area," defined as "all real property (including the Improvements thereto) owned by the Association for the common use and enjoyment of all Owners, Residents and the Assisted Living Facility Owner." Another section of the CC&Rs states that Lot 39 is the intended location of the "community storage facility," which "shall be privately owned and operated. The Community Storage Facility owner will not by [sic] a Member in the Association and shall not be required to pay Assessments. The Community Storage Facility owner will be entitled to a fair market value rental rate, . . . for the use of storage units . . . . The Community Storage Facility owner shall be solely responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Community Storage Facility."

(3) The Deeds: Those deeds conveying lot ownership from Asbury Park to the builders, as well as those deeds conveying lot ownership from the builders to homeowners, state that the properties conveyed were subject to restrictions and reservations of record.

Citing the recorded plat's language that Lot 39 was designated as a common area to be owned and maintained by the HOA, the HOA began to assert that it was not liable for rent to Asbury Park. The HOA continued to assess storage fees ...


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