A Harmonious Blend of Ordinances

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a master homeowners’ association was required to be established by the controlling ordinances for a planned unit development (“PUD”) and that a swimming pool was within the scope of the association’s responsibilities.

The City of Greenwood adopted a zoning ordinance for planned unit developments which provided “there shall be established a homeowners association to provide for the control and maintenance of all common areas.” A developer submitted the Master Plan for The Pines of Greenwood’s PUD, and it consisted of five communities with two types of homes and densities, the Pines of Greenwood (“POG”) and the Village Pines (“VP”). The Master Plan did not contain any definitions, but was approved by the Greenwood Common Council in an ordinance that amended the city’s zoning ordinance (“Master Plan Ordinance”). Later, covenants and restrictions were recorded establishing two separate homeowners’ associations for the POG and VP communities. However, a master homeowners’ association was never established for The Pines as a whole.

A swimming pool was built in the POG community, but not in the VP community. The POG covenants stated that only POG property owners could use the pool. The VP community filed a complaint seeking to reform the POG covenant because it “mistakenly omitted a provision whereby the residents of VP would be permitted to use the community swimming pool” located in the POG area. The VP community argued that a master homeowners’ association should be established for maintenance and operation of the common areas. The trial court held that the creation of a master homeowners’ association to control the common areas was not expressly stated in the documents reflecting the development of The Pines. VP appealed.

The issue in The Village Pines at the Pines of Greenwood Homeowners’ Assn. Inc. v. The Pines of Greenwood Homeowners’ Assn. Inc., Case No. 41A01-0912-CV-568, was whether the Master Plan Ordinance required a master homeowners’ association, and if required, what areas this association would control. The Court read the PUD zoning ordinance and the Master Plan Ordinance together because they contained the same subject matter and, thus, should be read together to come to a “harmonious statutory scheme.” Both the PUD ordinance and Master Plan Ordinance discussed a master homeowners’ association. Thus, a master homeowners’ association was required for The Pines. Furthermore, when deciding if the master homeowners’ association responsibilities included the swimming pool, it looked at the terms “amenities” and “park area” contained in the ordinances. Although the terms were not defined, it used the plain, ordinary and usual meanings of the words. It held that the swimming pool was within the definition of the terms because a pool is an “amenity or park area available as a recreation area to all residents.” Therefore, it was within the master homeowners association’s responsibilities to properly control, maintain and operate it. The Court reversed the trial court’s holding and ordered the parties to engage in mediation.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s