Court of Appeals Finds for Developer in Homeowner Uprising

and defamation.

    The circuit court issued an order in October 2007, denying relief to the homeowners on all claims. The circuit court also denied the developer’s counterclaims for damages, but did grant the developer’s request for an injunction allowing them to control the Association and allowing all property owners to use and access the common areas in dispute. Both parties appealed. 

    The court of appeals first addressed the interpretation of the Declarations. Because the Declarations are contractual, the court looked to the intention of the parties as expressed in the plain language of the contract. The circuit court and court of appeals disagreed with the homeowners’ contention that several covenants were ambiguous. Both courts determined that the intent of the parties and the express language of the Declarations were clear and unambiguous.

    The court also rejected arguments that White’s Point Plantation consisted solely of Phase I of the development. The court noted marketing materials which clearly stated that there would be multiple phases to White’s Point. Further, in examining the Declarations in their entirety, the court found it clear that White’s Point is not confined to Phase I.

    Finally, the court addressed the issue of the developer’s control to appoint and remove members of the Board and officers of the Association and the developer’s control of the Architectural Committee. The court again referred to the express language of the Declarations and affirmed the circuit court’s findings. Because lots in the subdivision were not fully developed and the developer had not surrendered his authority, the developer still maintains this control, pursuant to the Declarations.

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