North Carolina couple asks court to order Rockport neighbor’s trees trimmed

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 27, 2012, at 12:20 p.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — A North Carolina couple has asked the court to enforce what it said is a deeded right to trim the top of trees on its neighbors’ properties to maintain a view of the ocean.

Shirley P. O’Keefe and Edward J. O’Keefe filed the lawsuit Nov. 19 in Knox County Superior Court against neighbors Jason T. Throne, Mary C. Throne, Christopher A. Sailer Jr. and Samuel C. Sailer.

The O’Keefes are residents of Chapel Hill, N.C., and own a home on Pandion Lane off Route 1 in Rockport that overlooks Penobscot Bay. The Thrones are residents of Rockport and the Sailers are residents of San Francisco and both also own property on Pandion Lane.

In the lawsuit, the O’Keefes maintain that the deeds for their property granted the right to maintain the existing view by topping trees on property now owned by the Thrones and Sailers. The three properties were once all part of one lot but later divided with the view easement, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit maintains that the neighbors are to trim the trees so that they do not exceed 50 feet in height.

The O’Keefes state in their lawsuit that they have asked their neighbors to trim the too tall trees, with an acceptable pruning method, but the neighbors have repeatedly refused to allow the work to be done.

Rockport Town Planner Tom Ford said he has had conversations with the parties over the view easement.

“View easements are fairly standard practice,” Ford said.

The town planner said all parties have been told that before cutting could occur that it would require a permit since it is in the shoreland zone which is land within 250 feet of the water. No permits have been sought.

The O’Keefe and Throne properties have homes on them while the Sailer property is undeveloped.

The O’Keefes also claim in their lawsuit that the Thrones have altered their deeded right of access over the O’Keefe property and have posted signs that state “private drive” and “no access without permission” on the O’Keefe property.

The O’Keefes have asked the court to order the Thrones to remove the signs and adhere to the proper right of access over the O’Keefe property.

The O’Keefes are represented by attorney David Soley of Portland.

No response to the lawsuit has yet been filed with the court.

A telephone message was left Tuesday morning at the Thrones home. Contact information for the Sailers could not be found Tuesday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/27/news/midcoast/north-carolina-couple-asks-court-to-order-rockport-neighbors-trees-trimmed/ printed on July 12, 2014