Gaskin v. Harris

82 N.M. 336, 481 P.2d 698 (1971)

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Gaskin v. Harris

New Mexico Supreme Court
82 N.M. 336, 481 P.2d 698 (1971)

Facts

Payne and Soliska Harris (defendants) owned a lot in the De Vargas Development Company Subdivision No. 2 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Harrises built a swimming-pool enclosure on their lot. Owners of lots in the same subdivision who could see the enclosure from their properties (the neighbors) (plaintiffs) sued to enjoin the Harrises from building the enclosure on the grounds that it violated a subdivision architectural restriction that required all subdivision buildings to be built in Old Santa Fe or Pueblo-Spanish style architecture. The neighbors alleged that the enclosure did not resemble Old Santa Fe or Pueblo-Spanish style architecture and therefore failed to conform to the architectural requirement. The subdivision’s restrictive covenants were stipulated to run with the land, meaning that they bound subsequent owners of the property and were recorded. The Harrises conceded that the enclosure did not conform to the architectural requirement but argued that the conditions of the architectural style of new buildings in the subdivision had changed. The Harrises’ expert witness testified that a number of houses in the subdivision did not confirm to Old Santa Fe or Pueblo-Spanish style architecture. However, the expert conceded that even the nonconforming buildings still conformed with each other, having a uniform and consistent type of construction. The Harrises also claimed that they had no notice of the architectural restriction when they bought the lot and did not learn of it until they had substantially finished the enclosure. The trial court found that despite the divergences from Old Santa Fe or Pueblo-Spanish style in other buildings in the subdivision, all the changes to buildings in the subdivision substantially conformed with the architectural requirement except for that of the Harrises. The court ordered the Harrises to remove the pool enclosure, and the Harrises appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McManus, J.)

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