MARC STEFFES, MERCEDES STEFFES, LANCE FREED, and JILL FREED, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
TERRACE PARK DOCK AND PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION, TERRACE PARK DOCK AND PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION OFFICERS, TERRACE PARK DOCK AND PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS, and COLONEL F. KRAGE, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, Carl J.
owners appeal the district court order dismissing their
action to enforce their right to membership in the Terrance
Park Dock and Property Owners Association.
Shaw Sackett and Frances Schiro of Sackett Law Firm, PC,
Spencer, for appellants.
R. Postolka and Stephen F. Avery of Cornwall, Avery,
Bjornsatd and Scott, Spencer, for appellees.
by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ. Decided by
Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
and Mercedes Steffes and Lance and Jill Freed (Appellants)
own property in the Terrace Park subdivision of West Okoboji.
Appellants applied for membership in the Terrace Park Dock
and Property Owners Association (Association). The
Association denied Appellants' applications claiming
that, under its bylaws, membership is limited to persons who
own a parcel of land that was platted in either the original
1905 plat of Terrace Park or the 1908 Terrace Park replat.
Specifically, the applicable bylaw states: "Only those
persons . . . owning a parcel or parcels of land in the
following described properties shall be eligible as members
of the Association: All parcels of land in the original plat
of Terrace Park and the Replat of Terrace Park, Dickinson
County, Iowa." Appellants' property boundaries do
not match up with any of the lots shown in either plat.
Appellants brought suit, seeking judgment to allow them to
join the Association "pursuant to their vested property
right." Among other things, Appellants argued that
"they should be granted membership because their Parcels
fall within the Plat and/or Replat and other parcels
similarly situated have in the past and should in the future
be granted membership to the Defendant Association." The
Association countered that since Appellants' "tracts
were not delineated in the Original or amended Plats of
Terrace Park, the [Appellants] are not entitled to membership
in the Association." The district court found the bylaws
unambiguously excluded Appellants from membership in the
Association. Appellants appealed the district court's
ruling. We reverse.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Park is a subdivision in West Okoboji that abuts Green's
Beach on West Lake Okoboji. Terrace Park was first platted in
1905. The original plat included numerous blocks consisting
of some 247 lots. Terrace Park was replatted in 1908. The
replatting combined about 173 original lots into four large
lots-seven lots became Lot A, about 61 lots became Lot B,
about 79 lots became Lot C, and 26 lots became Lot D. About
74 of the originally platted lots remained untouched by the
property relevant to this appeal is located within a
triangular parcel that was originally named Block 7 in the
Terrace Park 1905 plat and consisted of seven lots.
Original Plat, Block 7, Terrace Park
1908 replatting, the seven lots of Block 7 were combined into
one lot, which was renamed Lot A.
Replat, Lot A, Terrace Park
1999, Lot A, was replatted into four lots: Lots 1, 2, and 3
(renamed Terrace Park Curve), and Partial Lot A of replat of
Terrace Park. The replatting also included a small outlot