By Merrill Bent
Marsh Inter Vivos Trust v. McGillvray et al., 2013 VT 6
Plaintiff in today’s case tried to beat the establishment.
Unfortunately for her, the “establishment” here was the property rights of others, which are protected by another establishment: the SCOV.
The Clash between the parties arises from Plaintiff’s attempt to develop a lot within the Quechee Lakes subdivision in the Town of Hartford. In 1971, the Plaintiff purchased a “farmstead” parcel from the Quechee Lakes Corporation, comprised of two contiguous building lots. The larger of the two lots consisted of 5.73 acres, and the smaller, “saleable” lot consisted of one acre.
The deed conveying the parcel referred to certain restrictive covenants, which, among other things, limited use of the subdivided lots to residential occupancy by a single family. It also prohibited the construction of guest houses on the so-called farmstead parcels which, by definition, already had a separate lot upon which accessory structures might be erected. A separate deed restriction contained setback requirements for both the larger and smaller lots. The Plaintiff’s lots were also subject to the Town of Hartford’s zoning regulations as well as the Town’s “Master Plan.”