ROCKPORT, Maine — Neighbors have reached a deal in a dispute over whether a North Carolina couple have a right to require trees on their neighbors’ properties to be trimmed so that they see the ocean.
A final consent judgment was approved April 3 by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm in Knox County Superior Court.
The order confirms a view easement by Shirley P. O’Keefe and Edward J. O’Keefe over the properties of 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. Both the Thrones and Sailers also own property on Pandion Lane.
The O’Keefes filed a lawsuit in November, arguing that the deeds to their property granted them the right to maintain their view of Penobscot Bay by topping trees on the land owned by the Thrones and Sailers. The consent judgment confirms that the three properties were once all part of one lot but later were divided with the condition that the lot purchased by the O’Keefes had a view easement.
The judgment creates varying height restrictions on trees and structures, including chimneys on homes, on the Throne and Sailer properties, ranging from 50 feet to 127 feet. The order gives the O’Keefes the right to go onto their neighbors properties, measure trees, and trim them to bring them down to the height limit approved in the court agreement.
The O’Keefes stated in their lawsuit that they had 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.
The O’Keefe and Throne properties have homes on them while the Sailer property is undeveloped.