Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pane v. Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, Inc. of Ledgedale

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

July 19, 2017

Michaelene H. Pane, Michael F. Pane, and Christina Pane
v.
Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, Inc. of Ledgedale, Appellant Michaelene H. Pane, Michael F. Pane and Christina Pane, Appellants
v.
Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, Inc. of Ledgedale

          Argued: June 5, 2017

          BEFORE: HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge HONORABLE JULIA K. HEARTHWAY, Judge HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge

          OPINION

          JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge

         Before this Court are the cross appeals of Michaelene H. Pane, Michael F. Pane and Christina Pane (the Panes) and the Indian Rocks Property Owners Association, Inc. of Ledgedale (Association) from the April 18, 2016 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County (Trial Court). The Association appeals from the order of the Trial Court to the extent it granted the summary judgment motion filed by the Panes, denied the Association's summary judgment motion and directed the Association to issue an approval for the construction of a swimming pool on property owned by the Panes in the Indian Rocks development (Property). The Panes appeal from the Trial Court's denial of their motion for sanctions against the Association. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the order of the Trial Court.

         The following facts are taken from the Panes' Amended Complaint and were admitted as true by the Association. The Property consists of three parcels located at 3 Bear Rock Road within the Bear Tract section of the Indian Rocks development in Lake Ariel, Wayne County, Pennsylvania. (Amended Complaint ¶¶1, 2, 6, 8, Reproduced Record (R.R.) 55a-56a.) A single-family residence is situated on the Property. (Id. ¶3, R.R. 56a.) Francis Pane and Michaelene Pane purchased the Property by a recorded deed on June 6, 1978 from Sophie and Paul Woods. (Id. ¶¶10, 14, Ex. A, R.R. 56a-57a, 65a-68a.) This deed states as follows:

In addition to the restrictions, covenants, conditions, and rights as set forth in previous deeds, the grantees, for themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns agree to the following: All property owners in this development are required to be members of a property owners association which is organized in the section of the subdivision in which a property owner's lot(s) is located. Property owners are required to follow the rules and regulations promulgated by their property owners association.

(Id. Ex. A, R.R. 66a (emphasis added).) Francis Pane died in 1981 and sole ownership of the Property passed by operation of law to Michaelene Pane as the surviving spouse. (Id. ¶¶1, 11, R.R. 55a, 57a.) Michaelene Pane remains the record owner of the Property, and Michael Pane, Michaelene's son, and his wife, Christina Pane, currently live on the Property. (Id. ¶¶3, 4, R.R. 56a.)

          At the time that Francis and Michaelene Pane purchased the Property in 1978, the Property was subject to various restrictive covenants recorded on June 1, 1956 by the developer of the Bear Tract section of the Indian Rocks development. (Id. ¶12, Ex. B, R.R. 57a, 70a-73a.) In 2003, the Board of Directors of the Association adopted Resolution 2003-12 setting forth rules and regulations concerning the installation of swimming pools on individual lots. (Id. ¶28, Ex. F, R.R. 59a, 85a.) The following year, the Board adopted Resolution 2004-8 revising and amending the rules and regulations concerning pools and specifically prohibiting in-ground pools. (Id. ¶28, Ex. F, R.R. 59a, 86a-87a.) In 2009, the Board adopted Resolution 2009-7 repealing Resolutions 2003-12 and 2004-8. (Id. ¶29, R.R. 59a.)

         On June 19, 2015, Michael and Christina Pane, with the authorization of Michaelene Pane, wrote to the Architectural Control Commission of the Association stating that they intended to begin construction on an in-ground fiberglass swimming pool the following month. (Id. ¶18, Ex. D, R.R. 58a, 81a.) The Association, through its Community Manager, responded on June 24, 2015 stating that the request to build the pool was refused because Association rules and regulations prohibit the construction of pools on individual lots within the Indian Rocks development. (Id. ¶¶19, 30, Ex. E, R.R. 58a-59a, 83a.)

         On August 5, 2015, the Panes filed a complaint in the nature of mandamus in the Trial Court against the Association seeking an order compelling the Association to approve the construction of the proposed in-ground swimming pool on the Property. Following preliminary objections, the Panes filed an amended complaint omitting the request for mandamus relief and instead requesting declaratory judgment that the Association was not entitled to prohibit the Panes from building a swimming pool and equitable relief in the form of an order directing the Association to issue an approval to build the pool.

         On August 11, 2015, the Association filed a complaint in the Trial Court under a separate docket number; in that complaint, the Association requested a preliminary injunction against Michaelene Pane in order to prevent the completion of construction of, or use of, the pool. On that same day, the Trial Court entered an order issuing the preliminary injunction.

         Following discovery in the case brought by the Panes, the Panes and the Association filed cross motions for summary judgment. In their motion, the Panes asserted that there was no language in the deed or restrictive covenants that would prohibit the Panes from building a swimming pool on their Property and that there was no resolution banning swimming pools in Indian Rocks that was in effect in 2015 when the Panes began construction of their pool. The Panes argued that their use and enjoyment of the Property, including the installation of an in-ground pool, could not be limited absent a resolution passed in accordance with the Association's bylaws.

         The Association argued that the Panes were bound to comply with the rules and regulations of the Association which act as restrictive covenants running with the land and that pools were expressly forbidden as of the date the Panes began construction. As evidence of this pool prohibition, the Association attached a document to their summary judgment motion entitled "Rules and Regulations" that states that "[p]ools are prohibited on individual lots." (Association Summary Judgment Motion ¶¶11, 13, Ex. A, R.R. 181a, 193a.) This document states that it was last revised on February 22, 2014 and appears to be a part of the Association's handbook. (Id. Ex. A, R.R. 184a.) In addition, the Association introduced an undated copy of the Rules and Regulations of the Association's Architectural Control Commission stating that "[i]n ground and above ground pools are NOT ALLOWED." (Association Answer to Panes' Summary Judgment Motion ¶45, Ex. B, R.R. 299a, 309a.) While the Association admitted that the 2004 resolution banning in-ground pools was repealed in 2009 and no written resolution banning pools was in effect in 2015, it asserted that it was the "clear understanding and intention" of the Board to prohibit pools within Indian Rocks from 2009 forward. (Id. ¶¶36, 38, 39, R.R. 298a-299a.) In support of this assertion, the Association submitted affidavits by three Board members who were present at the January 24, 2009 Board of Directors Meeting in which the 2003 and 2004 resolutions setting forth regulations on pools were repealed; in those affidavits, the Board members stated that "[i]t was the Boards [sic] clear understanding and intention that once these resolutions were repealed, there would be no pools allowed in Indian Rocks." (Id. Ex. A, R.R. 303a-305a.)

         On April 18, 2016, President Judge Raymond L. Hamill of the Trial Court entered an opinion and order granting the Panes' motion for summary judgment, denying the Association's motion for summary judgment, directing the Association to issue an approval for the swimming pool and denying a motion for sanctions by the Panes. In the opinion, the Trial Court stated that, while Resolutions 2003-12 and 2004-8 created rules for installations of pools on property within the Indian Rocks development, these resolutions were repealed by Resolution 2009-7. Further, the Trial Court noted that the Association admitted that there was now no written resolution prohibiting swimming pools on individual lots. Therefore, the Trial Court concluded that the Association had failed to demonstrate that swimming pools were prohibited on individual lots in the development and held that there was no genuine issue of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.