Two neighbors in Abington, Massachusetts, disagree on whether the landscaping and tree removal of one neighbor involves protected wetlands, or not. Now, the Department of Environmental Protection is looking into the matter to determine if the removal of trees and other landscaping upgrades on the land are in violation of the law. Neighbors abutting the property where the changes are being made filed a complaint with Abington's Conservation Commission claiming the neighbor's land is protected wetlands.
This complaint was made after the couple's neighbors cut down trees, removed the stumps and began renovating the patio area on their property. The Conservation Commission initially ruled that homeowners were not required to seek approval before performing such work on their property. The neighbors appealed that decision to the state's Department of Environmental Protection, which visited the property in question late last month.
Since the DEP has been involved, the couple stopped work on their property until the Department can determine if any violations have occurred. The DEP is expected to make a determination that will amend, uphold or overturn the Commission's ruling, according to a DEP spokesperson. The complaint by the neighbors claims the removal of the trees will cause additional flooding on their property as the trees will not be there to absorb groundwater.
The two properties are separated by a fence and a brook, which flows on the side of the neighbor who lodged the complaints. A land use dispute between two neighbors such as this one can become quite costly in a hurry as both sides argue their property rights. One neighbor is claiming they have every right to make changes to their property while the other is arguing their property rights are threatened by such changes.
There was no report on whether either party has engaged the services of a real estate attorney however; one well-versed in the intricacies of land use and environmental issues could be beneficial in such a case as this. It was not known if the property in question has been determined to be protected wetland area or not, however a ruling is expected soon in this highly contentious property rights case.
Source: Enterprise News, "Abington neighbors in dispute over tree removal, wetlands work," Erin Shannon, July 27, 2012
Our law firm is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and handles a wide variety of real estate issues, including environmental restrictions on land use, similar to the case depicted in today's post.