What Is a “Successor Declarant” and Why Can’t a Golf Course Be One?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on January 30, 2014

In this case, this particular golf course – one Golf Club at Black Rock, LLC – can’t. And here’s why:

Understand that a “successor declarant” is nothing more than an entity with invested interest among all parties surrounding it. In this case, Sky Canyon Properties, LLC. owned the community surrounding the golf club, which was golf coursebuilt by Black Rock Development, a completely separate corporation. That’s where we get to a bit of a problem here. Everything was kosher during the development: we had covenants, conditions, restrictions (CC&Rs), the whole nine and ten yards.  Upon completion of the golf club and course, the CC&Rs named Black Rock Development as the “Declarant,” stating the rights of that Declarant and also establishing the specific time period with regard to that Declarant and rights with entitlement to enforce.

Plaintiffs – owners of at least one lot in Black Rock – raised their hands. This is where it gets interesting. They filed an action, declaring that Black Rock Development, specifically the golf club is not qualified to be a successor declarant. The district court found favor with the golf club, though, until the plaintiffs then approached the Supreme Court over it, demanding a review of the trial case. Here’s the skinny on that: it was revealed that the title to property wasn’t intended for sale and development. In other words, the community didn’t ask for it. They, therefore, shouldn’t have to recognize it as a successor declarant with all the necessary rights associated with that title.

The Supreme Court obviously reversed the district court’s decision on the matter, reversing awards of costs and attorney fees given to the golf club. A sad ending for the greens, sand traps, tees and 18 flags and holes.

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