STATUTES Wharves and Weirs ActPosted by BS - 15/07/11 at 02:07 pm
Britton v. Donnell, 2011 ME 16, 12 A.3d 39, Silver, J.
This is the second appeal in this case involving the rights of adjacent landowners in the shoreline. The plaintiffs sued the defendants for violating their riparian rights under the Wharves and Weirs Act for maintaining a wharf in front of their tidal property. In the first appeal, the Law Court held that the statute applied, but, on remand, the trial court found no injury.
The Law Court vacated that judgment. It found that the statute prohibits the maintenance of a wharf in front of the shore or flats of another landowner unless the landowner consents or there is no injury. The Law Court concluded that, as a matter of law, there was an injury because the configuration of the two wharves (the defendants also owned the property on the other side of the plaintiffs) limited the plaintiffs’ access to navigable waters. The Court held that the wharf must be removed where it impinges on the plaintiffs’ frontage. The Court found that there was only a single offense.