Court of Appeals: Div. II - County's exaction necesitates participation in private lawsuit under CR 19
Graziano v. Woodfield Neighborhood Homeowners Assoc. Mr. Graziano bought a lot within the Woodfield Estates Subdivision at a tax foreclosure sale. The neighborhood association blocked his permit application on the grounds that his lot is restricted to recreational and park use. He sued and lost on summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed and remanded because neither party joined a necessary party under CR 19, namely Pierce County.
Although this case is a fairly straightforward application of basic civil procedure, the reasoning has some implications that merit discussion. The court reasoned that Pierce County had an interest in "requiring that Woodfield provide recreational opportunities for the new subdivision's families on site," and as such Mr. Graziano's plea for quiet title could not be resolved without the county. The County's interest began when it demanded, as a condition for plat approval, the dedication of a certain amount of space in the neighborhood for recreation and park facilities. When a County does this, it's called an exaction: where a condition for development is imposed on a parcel of land that requires part of the land to be dedicated to public use.
It is unclear at this point how wide reaching this holding may be. Possibly, it will be exceedingly rare because most people probably don't go around buying deed restricted property in tax foreclosure sales. On the other hand, it's possible that this sort of thing happens all of the time. Further, considering how many deed restrictions stem from public regulation, it is possible that Counties will have to be involved in a significantly larger number of lawsuits dealing with homeowners and homeowners' associations.