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Sacramento Small Claims Court has ruled in favor of neighbor Wilbur Haines' lawsuit against the Rancho Murieta Association's interpretation of requirements to grant exclusive uses of common land.

Haines, an attorney, has opposed the RMA's plans to lift a moratorium that halted the RMA process of granting common land use to homeowners in cottage, townhouse and circle lots.

The suit was the subject of a 20-minute hearing Jan. 22 before Commissioner Kenneth Brody. His ruling (available here) awards Haines $500, the amount sought, plus $40 in costs. Enforcement of the judgment is delayed 30 days to give the RMA time to appeal.

Haines said he filed the suit to help the RMA read the legal winds relative to the association's interpretation of a 2006 law. The RMA's interpretation, supported by legal opinion, is that the board is able to vote to approve exclusive uses because 60 percent of the community approved CC&Rs giving them that right a decade ago. Haines argues that the law requires 67 percent approval of the membership to issue new exclusive uses unless the CC&Rs specify a different percentage.

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