from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Dustria A.
appeal district court orders enjoining use of and ordering
removal of structures on residential property and an award of
P. Wandro and Kara M. Simons of Wandro & Associates,
P.C., Des Moines, for appellants.
Patrick B. White of White Law, P.C., Des Moines, for
by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.
Barton Goplerud and Leslie Clemenson ("Gopleruds")
appeal district court orders enjoining Lyle and Dorothy Hale
("Hales") from using an outbuilding on the
Gopleruds' property as a residential dwelling; ordering
removal of a shed, bridge, and concrete slab and restoration
of the lot to pre-construction condition; and awarding
attorney fees and costs to the Napa Valley Owner's
Association ("Association"). The Gopleruds argue
the district court erred in: (1) concluding they violated
restrictive covenants because the Association (a) lacked
authority to enforce the covenants and (b) unreasonably
enforced the covenants, (2) ordering injunctive relief, and
(3) awarding attorney fees to the Association.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Valley Estates is a residential housing development. In 1988,
a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions was
recorded concerning the development. The declaration provided
for the creation of the Association for the benefit of the
owners and provided for a board of directors
("Board") to manage the affairs of the Association.
The document also made provision for an architectural control
committee ("ACC"), approval from which would be
required before any owner would be allowed to erect or
construct certain additions on any lot. All voting rights of
the Association were retained by William Knapp. The
Association was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in
1989. The Association established corporate bylaws in 1990.
2009, the declaration was restated and amended. The restated
declaration included the following provision:
Section 6. No building or structure of a temporary
character and no trailer, basement, tent, shack, garage, or
Outbuilding shall be used at any time as a residential
dwelling on any Lot, either temporarily or permanently.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section 6 to the
contrary, guest houses may be permitted in Outbuildings
subject to rules and regulations of the Association and the
approval of plans of such Outbuildings. No guest house
shall be used for permanent living quarters, nor shall
any guest house be allowed on a Lot which does not have a
(Emphasis added.) That same year, Knapp transitioned
government of the Association to the Board, which is
comprised of members elected by lot owners.
Gopleruds are both experienced attorneys. The Gopleruds
purchased the home in Napa Valley Estates in 2003, with the
understanding they were bound to keep the property in
accordance with the development's covenants and that the
development was governed by the Association. In May 2014, the
Gopleruds submitted an ACC application to build an
outbuilding. The outbuilding would function in part as a
garage, and in part as a retirement residence for
Clemenson's parents, the Hales. As a part of the
application through the Association's website, Clemenson
was required to check a box stating she read and agreed to
the declaration of covenants. Clemenson also submitted
general blueprints for the outbuilding and plans for a deck
but did not include interior plans, nor did she indicate the
building would be used as a permanent residence for the
Hales. The ACC approved the construction of the outbuilding.
At the time of application and approval, neither the ACC nor
the Association were aware of the intended residential use.
The Hales consistently used the outbuilding as their
residence by the end of January 2015.
2015, the Association began to receive complaints about the
Hales' residence in the outbuilding and the sloppy
appearance of the Goplerud lot in general. Following the
August Board meeting, a letter was sent to the Gopleruds. The
August 13, 2015 letter asked for an appointment to allow
the ACC to inspect the outbuilding. An email sent to the
Gopleruds on August 19 followed a second complaint about the
property. This complaint prompted Board member Mike Dennis to
drive by the Goplerud property, where he observed a shed
meeting took place on August 20, attended by Clemenson and
Board members Dennis, Tom Walton, and Mike Richmond. Richmond
was an employee of Knapp Properties, an entity the
Association hired for property management. Observations
included issues with the outbuilding deck, installation of a
second septic system, and landscaping and shed construction.
Clemenson also admitted her parents used the outbuilding as a
residence and indicated that use would continue
and third letters, dated August 28 and September 1, were sent
to the Gopleruds following the meeting. The letters addressed
compliance with the covenants in reference to the Hales'
permanent residence in the outbuilding; the size of the deck
attached to the outbuilding; construction of a shed, concrete
slab, and second septic system; and landscaping that had not
been submitted to or approved by the ACC. The letters
prompted a second meeting, which took place on September 2.
The Gopleruds, Walton, Dennis, and Richmond were present. The
landscaping issue was resolved when Clemenson indicated much
more rock had mistakenly been installed than originally
intended and was scheduled to be removed immediately. The
Gopleruds agreed to submit ACC applications for the modified
rock landscaping, shed, second septic system, enlarged deck,
and a second shed that would be built on the concrete
slab. Applications for the deck and landscaping
were approved, the application for the existing shed was
denied.In September 2015, it was discovered a
large bridge was being built on the Goplerud property. No ACC
application had been submitted prior to construction, nor had
one been submitted at the time of trial.
the October Board meeting, another letter was sent to the
Gopleruds that explained the ACC application denials,
addressed the new bridge construction, requested an
application for the concrete slab, and again asked for
written confirmation of compliance with the covenants
regarding the use of the outbuilding. This letter requested
compliance to "avoid any further proceedings."
Gopleruds did not reply, and this lawsuit was filed following
a special Board meeting held on October 27.
was held over eight days in September 2016 and May and June
2017. The trial transcript and record show the district court
was presented with thousands of pages of exhibits from the
parties. Presentation of the Gopleruds' case-in-chief
took five and one-half days, and the Association's took
one and one-half days. The district court order was entered
April 27, 2018, granting the Association the requested
injunctive relief, ordering removal of unapproved structures,
and concluding the Association was entitled to recover
reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in the
litigation. The Goplerud's appealed. Hearing on the
attorney-fee issue was held in August. The district court
awarded costs totaling $4140.05 and attorney fees in the