Brief Fact Summary. Subdivision of development outside of Reno, Nevada contained covenants restricting subdivision to single family dwellings and prohibited commercial development. These lots were subjected to the covenants in 1941 but since substantial changes have occurred affecting the character of the neighborhood since that time. D Homeowners brought suit to enjoin appellant, Western Land Co., from constructing a shopping center on land located within the subdivision.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where changes occurring have not been so great as to
Issue. Had the single-family character of the neighborhood been adversely affected so that the object and purposes of the restrictions had been thwarted, rendering them unenforceable?
Held. Substantial evidence indicated the covenants continued to have real and substantial value to the residents of the subdivision and that there was not sufficient evidence that the object and purpose of the restrictions was thwarted.
Even if the property is more valuable for commercial purposes, substantial benefits still go to the restricted area by enforcing the restriction.
An ordinance could not override the privately-placed restrictions and a zoning change would not invalidate these restrictions.
Any other sporadic violations of the restrictions were distant and did not show a general consensus of the property owners to abandon or waive the restrictions.
Discussion. Even though nearby roadways become heavily traveled, restrictive covenants are still enforceable unless the objects and purposes of the restrictions have been “thwarted.” Court points that in cases where there were many changes outside and within subdivision such that a property had no suitable economic use exception commercial purpose a finding would be supported that the restriction had been thwarted. Here, there was simply not sufficient change within the community and the homeowners would still benefit from the restriction.