Court case by Today Newspaper
GREAT BAY – Alegria Real Estate has to place a sign at the entrance of its property in Beacon Hill, that reads in capital letters ‘free parking Dunes Casino’ and International Financial Planning Services (IFPS), the company that owns the Dunes-building, has to pay Alegria a monthly compensation of $1,000 for the use of its parking lot. The Court in First Instance ruled yesterday on the dispute between the two parties.
IFPS took Alegria to court after the resort owner closed off the parking lot with a barrier. Casino-visitors and staff members get a ticket from a security officer and are able to park for free after the ticket has been signed by Dunes. IFPS claims that its turnover has dropped by 20 percent after Alegria placed the barrier.
IFPS holds the right of long lease on a parcel of land at the Alegria resort. The Dunes Casino is located on this land and Dunes leases the land and the building from IFPS.
Customers and staff have to cross Alegria’s parking lot to reach the casino. IFPS has an easement that entitles it to cross the parking lot. Alegria invited IFPS to discuss the retribution for its use, but the company did not accept that invitation.
In court, IFPS demanded that Alegria removes the barrier and asked the court to impose a penalty of $1,000 for every time the barrier is closed. Alegria demanded an advance of $1,200 per month for the retribution until the definitive amount has been established in a regular court procedure.
IFPS argued that the parking lot is part of the public road and that Dunes has a permanent right to use it. The court did not follow these arguments because it is not possible to establish in summary proceedings that the parking lot is part of the public road. The court noted that in the period 2012-2014 the parking lot was also closed off with a barrier.
IFPS’s argument that Alegria violated the easement conditions failed as well. “The owner of the property is allowed to close off the terrain as long as is does not hinder the easement of the road and the parking lot.”
Alegria said during the court hearing that it is prepared to place a sign at the entrance that parking for Dunes-visitors is free. The court has nevertheless made the placement of this sign mandatory in its ruling.