Lake Tishomingo Property Owners Association v. Cronin

679 S.W. 2d 852 (1984)

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Lake Tishomingo Property Owners Association v. Cronin

Missouri Supreme Court
679 S.W. 2d 852 (1984)

Facts

Lake Tishomingo Subdivision was a residential community in Jefferson County, Missouri, with a 120-acre manmade lake surrounded by 900-plus lots. When the lake needed to be dredged of accumulated aquatic weeds that decreased water depth, hindered boating, deteriorated fishing, and polluted the lake, it became clear that the 55-cent-per-front-foot assessments authorized in the subdivision’s original covenants would not cover the $170,000 cost of the dredging. The board of directors (the board) for the Lake Tishomingo Property Owners Association (the association) (plaintiff) proposed and adopted a resolution calling for a special election to amend the covenants to allow a one-time special assessment of $2.60 per front foot to finance the dredging. In proposing this action, the board relied on a provision in a previous consent decree that authorized changes to the subdivision’s original covenants by a simple majority of votes cast by subdivision owners. The board’s proposition was adopted by a majority of votes cast, and the board recorded the amendment and levied the assessment. After 76 property owners failed to pay the special assessment, the association filed suit against the nonpaying property owners (defendants), who challenged the validity of the previous consent decree, contending that the court that entered it was powerless to amend or reform the subdivision’s original covenants. The trial court, finding no fraud or mistake in the previous action, entered judgment for the association, and the nonpaying property owners appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Welliver, J.)

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