Jeffrey Labrenz v. Shane Burnett and Jill Burnett, WL 3320468 (October 16,2009) [THIS CASE HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE LAW REPORTER]

This case involves a dispute between neighbors regarding the use of land described in an easement. Labrenz has a drive way easement over the Burnetts’ land, and in building his driveway, he installed decorative rocks, shrubs, trees, a fence, and a gate on the Burnetts’ property. The Superior Court agreed with Labrenz that the slope of the Burnetts’ land necessitated certain efforts to control erosion, but found that many of Labrenz’s improvements to the driveway easement were cosmetic in nature and ordered that they be removed. In addition, the court ordered Labrenz to move the fence and gate onto his own property. The Superior Court also permitted the Burnetts to use the easement to build a driveway to access the lower portion of their lot.

This case probably doesn’t tell us much except the possibility for unpleasant relationships between neighbors. The Superior Court singles out Labrenz for taking an “unreasonable stance” and choosing ‘to continue flogging the poor expired beast before this court.” It does affirm that improvements within the easement area must be reasonably related to the easement’s purpose, and that the owner of the servient estate may utilize the easement area in any manner and for any purpose that does not unreasonably interfere with the rights of the easement holder.

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