City of Olympia v. Palzer, No. 52684-2

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Writing for the CourtGOODLOE; DOLLIVER, C.J., UTTER, BRACHTENBACH, DORE, PEARSON, ANDERSEN and DURHAM, JJ., and CUNNINGHAM
Citation107 Wn.2d 225,728 P.2d 135
PartiesCITY OF OLYMPIA, Respondent, v. Chris PALZER and Cathy Palzer, husband and wife, Respondents, and Olympic Properties, Ltd., a limited partnership; Bertil A. Granberg and Jane Granberg, as general partners of Olympic Properties, Ltd., Petitioners, and Evergreen Park Homeowners Association, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 52684-2
Decision Date13 November 1986

Page 225

107 Wn.2d 225
728 P.2d 135
CITY OF OLYMPIA, Respondent,
v.
Chris PALZER and Cathy Palzer, husband and wife, Respondents,
and
Olympic Properties, Ltd., a limited partnership; Bertil A.
Granberg and Jane Granberg, as general partners of
Olympic Properties, Ltd., Petitioners,
and
Evergreen Park Homeowners Association, Respondent.
No. 52684-2.
Supreme Court of Washington,
En Banc.
Nov. 13, 1986.

Page 226

Bertil A. Granberg, Jane Granberg, pro se.

Chris Palzer, Cathy Palzer, pro se.

Mark O. Erickson, Olympia City Atty., Olympia, for respondent.

GOODLOE, Justice.

This case involves whether a tax foreclosure sale conducted by the Thurston County Treasurer extinguishes restrictive covenants which limit the manner

Page 227

in which a property owner in a planned unit development (PUD) may use his or her land. The trial court and the Court of Appeals held that the restrictive covenants were not extinguished by the tax sale. Olympia v. Palzer, 42 Wash.App. 751, 713 P.2d 1125 (1986). We affirm.

Evergreen Park, an integrated residential-commercial PUD, was initially approved in 1969. It contains a greenbelt [728 P.2d 136] area set aside for the enjoyment and benefit of its inhabitants. Article II of the "Covenants and Dedications Applicable to Evergreen Park", filed October 20, 1969, declared Tracts A, B, C, and D to be greenbelts which must be maintained insofar as is reasonable in their natural condition, for the general beautification of Evergreen Park. The restrictive covenants were to run with the land for a period of 25 years, with automatic extensions for two additional 10-year periods, unless two-thirds of the lot owners agreed to change them by recorded written instrument.

The City of Olympia enacted Ordinance 3776 in 1973. Ordinance 3776 altered the use and ownership provisions of the restrictive covenants pertaining to Evergreen Park. It provides that Tracts A, B, C, and D should be an open space greenbelt area maintained in perpetuity as natural open space areas. The ordinance further provides that these tracts may only be owned by a municipal or state body, or the then present property owners, or a property owners' association.

For several years, property taxes were not paid by Evergreen Park, Inc., the original developer, on Tracts A, B, C, and D. In December 1982, the Thurston County Treasurer put the tracts up for public sale pursuant to RCW 84.64 because of the property tax delinquencies. Chris and Cathy Palzer purchased Tract D and a portion of Tract A for $4,401.19, which included back property taxes and other fees imposed by the Thurston County Treasurer. The Treasurer's sale agenda contained a notation of the limitations in ownership created by Ordinance 3776. On December 22, 1982, the Treasurer executed a "Treasurer's Deed" in favor of Chris Palzer. On February 24, 1983, the

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Palzers sold the tracts they had bought to petitioner Olympic Properties, Ltd., for $135,000.

The City of Olympia brought suit to have rescinded and declared void the sales from Thurston County to the Palzers and from the Palzers to Olympic Properties. The bases of its action are the ownership and land use restrictions set forth in Ordinance 3776.

Both sides moved for summary judgment. After written and oral argument to the court, the trial judge ruled that Ordinance 3776 did not prohibit the sale of the property by the Thurston County Treasurer to the Palzers, but that it did prohibit the transfer of the property by the Palzers to Olympic Properties. The court held that Ordinance 3776 did not prohibit the sale to the Palzers because said ordinance cannot enable the City of Olympia to regulate the manner in which the Thurston County Treasurer conducts a tax sale pursuant to RCW 84.64. The trial court further ruled that Ordinance 3776 and the recorded covenants prohibited use of the property for any purpose other than as a greenbelt.

The Palzers and Olympic Properties appealed. The Court of Appeals held the portions of Ordinance 3776 which purported to restrict ownership and to impose use restrictions in perpetuity were void, but held valid the use restrictions imposed by restrictive covenants. Olympia v. Palzer, supra. The Court of Appeals rejected the contention that the restrictive covenants were extinguished by the tax sale. Olympic Properties appealed to this court which granted discretionary review.

The issue we address is: Whether restrictive covenants which have been...

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46 practice notes
  • Beres v. United States, No. 03-785L
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • April 16, 2019
    .... . .An easement provides the right to use real property of another without owning it. City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986). The recipient of an easement is often called an "easement holder." E.g., State v. Newcomb, 160 Wash. App. 184, 191, 246 P.3d 1286 (201......
  • State v. Pink, No. 36485-9-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • June 3, 2008
    ...not transfer ownership of the land to the State over which the State built and maintains SR 109. Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 ¶ 25 In this case, the State asserts that, because it has "sole responsibility for the highway's construction, maintenance, and repair," the......
  • Weber v. P&D Development, Inc., No. 29295-5-II (WA 7/13/2004), No. 29295-5-II
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 13, 2004
    ...one may use his or her own land. Meresse v. Stelma, 100 Wn. App. 857, 864 n.7, 999 P.2d 1267 (2000) (quoting City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wn.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986)). Interpretation of language contained in a restrictive covenant is a question of law. Meresse, 100 Wn. App. at 864......
  • Kiely v. Graves, No. 84828–9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 1, 2012
    ...Id. An easement provides the right to use real property of another without owning it. City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986). The recipient of an easement is often called an “easement holder.” E.g., State v. Newcomb, 160 Wash.App. 184, 191, 246 P.3d 1286 (2011)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
46 cases
  • Beres v. United States, No. 03-785L
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • April 16, 2019
    .... . .An easement provides the right to use real property of another without owning it. City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986). The recipient of an easement is often called an "easement holder." E.g., State v. Newcomb, 160 Wash. App. 184, 191, 246 P.3d 1286 (201......
  • State v. Pink, No. 36485-9-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • June 3, 2008
    ...not transfer ownership of the land to the State over which the State built and maintains SR 109. Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 ¶ 25 In this case, the State asserts that, because it has "sole responsibility for the highway's construction, maintenance, and repair," the......
  • Weber v. P&D Development, Inc., No. 29295-5-II (WA 7/13/2004), No. 29295-5-II
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • July 13, 2004
    ...one may use his or her own land. Meresse v. Stelma, 100 Wn. App. 857, 864 n.7, 999 P.2d 1267 (2000) (quoting City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wn.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986)). Interpretation of language contained in a restrictive covenant is a question of law. Meresse, 100 Wn. App. at 864......
  • Kiely v. Graves, No. 84828–9.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 1, 2012
    ...Id. An easement provides the right to use real property of another without owning it. City of Olympia v. Palzer, 107 Wash.2d 225, 229, 728 P.2d 135 (1986). The recipient of an easement is often called an “easement holder.” E.g., State v. Newcomb, 160 Wash.App. 184, 191, 246 P.3d 1286 (2011)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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