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Windham Land Trust v. Jeffords

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Windham Land Trust sued Jeffords and Poulin to stop commercial residents from using the conservation easement land that was to be used solely for residential recreational purposes.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An easement that dictates for land to be used solely for residential recreational purposes prohibits land being used for commercial purposes.

    Facts.

    Jeffords and Poulin (Jeffords) owned 100 acres of land that had a conservation easement on 85 acres of that land established by the previous owner, Windham Land Trust. The conservation easement allowed the land to be used for residential recreational purposes only. Jeffords agreed to be bound by easement, and planned to use the restricted 15 acres of the land for fishing and ice skating, for paying guests who were staying on the unrestricted portion of the land. Windham Land Trust sued Jeffords and Poulin to stop commercial residents from using the conservation easement land. The trial court granted summary judgment to Windham Land Trust.

    Issue.

    Whether an easement that dictates for land to be used solely for residential recreational purposes prohibits land being used for commercial purposes?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The deed makes clear that the restricted land was to be used by the residents of the unrestricted 15 acres of the land for recreational purposes only. The commercial easement prevents any use for commercial or income-producing purposes.

    Discussion.

    An easement that dictates for land to be used solely for residential recreational purposes prohibits land being used for commercial purposes. The language in a deed controls an agreement if each party’s language was clear in the deed. Outside evidence is not permitted to argue the meaning of a deed.


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