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Court of Appeals Finds for Developer in Homeowner Uprising

    The South Carolina Court of Appeals handed down a decision last week against a group of disgruntled homeowners who attempted to create their own property owners’ association. 

    The homeowners live in Phase I of Wright’s Point Plantation, a waterfront community in Beaufort County. Wright’s Point was purchased by the developer in 1997, and in 1998 the Declarations of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Easements (“Declarations”) were recorded. Subsequently, the Wright’s Point Homeowners’ Association was incorporated. In 2003, several property owners from Phase I decided to band together and form a new entity: The Wright’s Point Property Owners’ Association. The Phase I owners disapproved of certain Architectural Committee Requirements and did not wish to share Phase I amenities with owners in future phases of the development. 

    The newly founded Property Owners’ Association held it’s first annual meeting, which the developer attended with his attorney. The developer contested the existence of the new association under the Declarations and stated that only the developer could appoint and remove directors, the meeting was not official, several owners had not been provided with notice of the meeting, and any meetings done without the developers’ knowledge were “not legal.”

    The homeowners then filed suit asking the court to declare, among other things, that the developer’s authority to control appointment of directors and officers had terminated, the Wright’s Point Property Owners’ Association was valid, and only the owners in Phase I had a right of use and access to the common areas owned by the Association. The homeowners also sought an injunction against the developer to prevent him from trying to control the business of the Association. The developer counter claimed for damages in multiple causes of action to include civil conspiracy, breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, tortious interference with contractual relationships,

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