State Supreme Court Permits Continued Development Of Franklin County Subdivision

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Monday upheld a decision of the Chancery Court for Franklin County to permit the continued development of Cooley’s Rift, a 1,400-acre residential development near Monteagle, despite objections from some original homeowners to changes in the development plan.

In 2005, after the president of the original developer of Cooley’s Rift died, New Life Development Corp. purchased the real property and the rights to develop Cooley’s Rift.  Several existing property owners objected to New Life Development’s revised plans for the property and filed suit in the Chancery Court for Franklin County.  The trial court dismissed property owners’ suit, but in 2009, the Court of Appeals instructed the trial court to decide whether the revised plans were contrary to implied restrictions in the subdivision plat or the development documents.

After the case was returned to the trial court, most of the homeowners in Cooley’s Rift approved changes in the restrictive covenants and the charter of the homeowners’ association that resolved the issues raised by the Court of Appeals.  However, the dissatisfied property owners filed a second suit challenging the validity of these changes.  The trial court again upheld the actions of New Life Development and the majority of the property owners.  The property owners who objected to New Life Development’s plans again appealed to the Court of Appeals. 

In 2011, the Court of Appeals decided that New Life Development and the homeowners’ association had followed the correct procedures to amend the restrictive covenants and the charter of the homeowners’ association.  However, the court also decided that the trial court should conduct another hearing to determine whether these amendments were reasonable.  In addition, the court ordered the trial court to determine whether any information on the development’s recorded plats provided a basis for imposing restrictions on the development.  New Life Development appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.

In a unanimous opinion, the court ruled that the homeowners’ association had validly adopted the amendments.  In addition, the court decided that Tennessee law did not require the courts to inquire into the reasonableness of the amendments to the restrictive covenants approved by a super-majority of the property owners.  Instead, the court held that the amendments should be evaluated under an arbitrary and capricious standard and that the Cooley’ s Rift amendments were neither arbitrary nor capricious.  Lastly, the court decided that the recorded plat did not provide a basis for implied restrictions on development. 

To read the R. Douglas Hughes v. New Life Development Corp. opinion, authored by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., visit TNCourts.gov.


Real Estate Transfers For June 8-14

NOTICE: The Hamilton County Register’s Office did not publish this data. All information in the Register’s Office is public information as set out in T.C.A. 10-7-503. For questions regarding this report, please call Chattanoogan.com at 423 266-2325. GI numbers, listed when street addresses are not available, refer to the location of transactions (book number and page number) ... (click for more)

Historic Wren's House At Monteagle Offered In Online Auction

The historic "Wren's Nest" at Monteagle is being offered for sale in an online auction. Auction agent Brad Muse said the home has eight bedrooms and four baths and comes fully furnished. It has a one-acre bluff view lot. He said, "It's a magnificent place to call home or escape to the mountains with family and friends or experience history with million dollar views. "Enjoy ... (click for more)

Mae Beavers Hits New UT President For Reinstating Campus Diversity Office

Republican gubernatorial candidate Senator Mae Beavers expressed disappointment that the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Beverly Davenport, has announced plans to reinstate the Campus Diversity Office and hire a new director of the LGBT Pride Center. She said in May 2016 HB 2248 became law, which defunded the University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Ghost & The Eclipse

So you don’t believe in ghosts, haints or spirits? And you don’t believe that smack in the middle of this August, it is going to be nighttime in the middle of the day? Then put on your seatbelt and sit next to me … First, the ghost. The 6 th Congressional District in the State of Georgia is in the northern part of Atlanta’s suburbs. It includes Roswell, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody ... (click for more)