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GLORIA S. PETRY v. TANGLWOOD LAKES (03/11/87)

decided: March 11, 1987.

GLORIA S. PETRY, APPELLANT,
v.
TANGLWOOD LAKES, INC., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Superior Court Entered on March 15, 1985, at No. 3267 Philadelphia, 1983, Affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Civil Action -- Equity -- Entered February 7, 1983, at No. 17-1983. Pa. Superior Ct. , 495 A.2d 620 (1985).

COUNSEL

David C. Eaton, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Steven R. Guccini, William C. Gumble, Paupack, for appellees.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Larsen, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Papadakos

[ 514 Pa. Page 53]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The facts in this case, based on allegations in Appellant's complaint, appear to be as follows: Appellant purchased a lot abutting a proposed, but unconstructed, lake (Lake Briarwood) by deed of November 3, 1970, for $18,000.00. The lot is in "Tanglwood Lakes" in Pike County, a large tract of land under development by Appellee, Tanglwood Lakes, Inc. (developer), since the 1960's. In 1973, Appellant constructed a cottage on the lot, overlooking the projected lake, which she has apparently used up to the present as a regular summer home and as an occasional vacation retreat in other seasons. The proposed Lake Briarwood was shown on maps and plans of "Tanglwood Lakes" which were displayed to potential purchasers of lots, including Appellant, before she purchased. Prior to purchase, Appellant was also supplied with a copy of the registration statement and property reports filed by developer with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These documents included the following representation:

To be completed within three to five years will be a second lake (and other recreational facilities) all at no expense to lot owners other than annual payments of dues to Tanglwood Lakes Community Association to cover maintenance.

[ 514 Pa. Page 54]

That contemplated second lake was the platted Lake Briarwood.

In 1974, developer filed its plans and specifications with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, which issued a permit for construction of Lake Briarwood. The permit was renewed for a number of subsequent years. However, in November of 1975, developer filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. During the course of these proceedings, developer entered into an agreement with the Tanglwood Lakes Community Association, an association of lot owners within the development, to escrow certain funds for the eventual construction of Lake Briarwood. The bankruptcy proceedings terminated in September, 1979. Disputes arose between developer and certain of the lot owners within the development, culminating in the filing of a suit in equity by the Community Association against developer. Settlement negotiations to the suit ensued between those parties, which resulted in an agreement which would, in effect, eliminate Lake Briarwood and substitute a recreational area in its place. Appellant did not intervene in, and was not a party to, that litigation.

On May 12, 1983, Appellant filed an action in equity against developer in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County (Conway, J.). Appellant's complaint sought specific performance of the original "agreement" to construct Lake Briarwood along with money damages related to the failure to build the lake. The complaint also sought to enjoin the execution of the settlement agreement between developer and the Tanglwood Lakes Community Association regarding the elimination of the ...


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