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Cianciola v. Johnson's Island Property Owners Assoc.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Ottawa

May 25, 2018

Elizabeth J. Cianciola, et al. Appellants
v.
Johnson's Island Property Owners Assoc. Appellee

          Trial Court No. 10CV232

          George C. Wilber, for appellants.

          John A. Coppeler, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          JENSEN, JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         {¶ 1} Appellants, Elizabeth and Anthony Cianciola, appeal the judgment of the Ottawa Count Court of Common Pleas, denying their motion to show cause and rejecting the Cianciolas' allegations of contemptuous conduct on the part of appellee, Johnson's Island Property Owners Association ("JIPOA").

         A. Facts and Procedural Background

         {¶ 2} The background facts of this case were previously summarized by this court as follows:

Johnson's Island is situated on Sandusky Bay off the southern coast of the Marblehead Peninsula near Lake Erie in Ottawa County. In 1956, Johnson's Island was purchased by Johnson's Island, Inc., a for-profit Ohio corporation.
Thereafter, Johnson's Island, Inc. recorded a plat map which divided the island into building lots and dedicated two roadways. Prior to subdivision and subsequent sale of the lots, Johnson's Island, Inc. recorded a declaration of restrictions restricting the use of lots 26-53, 61-170, and 173-376 on the island.
Appellees are record owners of several lots purportedly restricted by the declaration of restrictions. Appellees purchased their respective lots at various times ranging from as early as 1957 to as recent as 2006. Appellees' deeds include language that subjects the property to, inter alia, "conditions and restrictions of record."
The declaration of restrictions sets forth several terms pertaining to the use of property. However, the declaration of restrictions does not compel membership in any homeowners' association, nor does it include language regarding the formation of a homeowners' association, or any mention of assessment of dues. Further, the declaration of restrictions is silent on the issue of amendment and future revision.
JIPOA is an Ohio not-for-profit corporation that was formed in 1956. When initially formed, the company's name was Johnson's Island Club, Inc. However, in 1983, the name was changed to Johnson's Island Property Owners' Association. Upon formation, JIPOA filed its code of regulations with the Secretary of State. The code of regulations provided, in part, the following purposes for which JIPOA was formed:
To promote the development of the common facilities on Johnson's Island * * * for the use and benefit of all lot owners thereof; to operate and maintain said facilities and to adopt and enforce regulations governing the conditions of use thereof; to provide service on or to the island for the members as required or ...

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