Lawsuit ends with Camden man agreeing to pay for new lights to dim glare from neighbor’s property

The recently constructed home of O. Stillman Rockefeller. Rockefeller filed a lawsuit against his neighbor, claiming her lights are too bright and create a nuisance.
Stephen Betts | BDN
The recently constructed home of O. Stillman Rockefeller. Rockefeller filed a lawsuit against his neighbor, claiming her lights are too bright and create a nuisance. Buy Photo
Posted May 14, 2014, at 10:39 a.m.
Last modified May 14, 2014, at 8:18 p.m.

CAMDEN, Maine — A Camden man who filed a lawsuit last year to force his neighbor to turn down her outside lights has agreed to pay for the installation of new exterior illumination.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm approved an agreement Monday reached between O. Stillman Rockefeller and Cove Cottage LLC concerning lights that he claimed flooded his “peaceful property with intrusive bright and glaring lights, which substantially reduces his ability to enjoy his property.”

The lawsuit was filed in September 2013 by the Bay View Street resident against his neighbor.

Rockefeller agreed to pay an architect and an electrician to design and install exterior lights on the Cove Cottage property owned by Judy Wolf. The new lights must be superior to the current exterior lights and have a standard manufacturer’s one-year warranty, according to the agreement.

Any flood lights also will have to be shielded and directed downward.

The town’s code enforcement officer initially issued a notice of violation to Cove Cottage in November 2012 but withdrew it a few weeks later because the lights had been in place before the municipality’s light pollution ordinance was adopted. The town also indicated that Wolf had taken steps to address her neighbor’s complaint. She discontinued the use of the lights during the winter and replaced the lights with lower-wattage frosted bulbs.

Rockefeller’s lawsuit claims that, despite being grandfathered under the local ordinance and the neighbor’s changes, the outdoor lighting remained a nuisance. The bright lights caused substantial harm to Rockefeller by reducing the value of his property, he argued.

Rockefeller purchased his three-quarter acre waterfront parcel in May 2009 for $1.9 million and has since had a house built on the lot.

Wolf purchased her three-quarter acre property in 1995 and built a two-story home the same year. The town has her property assessed at slightly more than $2 million.

There is a fence and a row of trees separating the properties. The Rockefeller house is located about 20 to 30 feet from where post lights line the driveway of the neighboring home.

 

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story said the lawsuit was filed in 2012. The lawsuit was filed in 2013.

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