Homeowners file suit in water dispute

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SANDPOINT — The Idaho Club Homeowner’s Association is suing to keep water flowing their homes’ taps.

The nonprofit homeowners group is seeking a judicial declaration that VP Inc. must honor its water service contracts with homeowners and cannot unilaterally terminate the service.

The suit also holds that abruptly terminating the service is contrary to the Idaho Constitution.

The suit was filed in 1st District Court on April 18. Water service to parts of the upscale golf development was stopped on April 12. The owner of the development, Valiant Idaho, obtained a temporary restraining order on April 13 to prevent VP from halting water service.

Judge Barbara Buchanan said last week that the order would remaining in place until a permanent order is drafted which ensures residents of the Idaho Club are not left in the lurch.

The homeowners association suit contends that its members have contracts with VP for water service and the group’s articles include pledge to any and all things necessary to maintain the peace, health, safety and general welfare of its members.

“The lack of water to properties within the Idaho Club constitutes a substantial and immediate health and safety hazard to properties within the Idaho Club, as well as the association’s owners/members, and to the association,” Sandpoint attorney Toby McLaughlin said in civil complaint.

McLaughlin said the lack access to water effectively renders the homes inhabitable and places VP in breach of contract.

The club’s utility infrastructure is the current flashpoint in lengthy and complex litigation involving the foreclosure of the resort in 2009. Valiant ultimately acquired the resort and more than a hundred undeveloped parcels. VP Inc. was evicted from two parcels which held the resort’s water and septic systems.

Counsel for VP argued that it vacated the parcels in light of the eviction order and contends an earlier order in the case provided utilities for the undeveloped parcels even though there is no agreement to service those lots.

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