By: Rob Harris
These botanical facts could be important for those of you considering purchasing a home abutting a golf course. If you look forward to enjoying the expanses of green fairways, be sure before you buy to read all the relevant land records. Otherwise, like Betty Stibler, one day you may find your view blocked by newly planted Green Giants and Skip Laurel.
Ms. Stibler so far has failed in her attempt to have the courts require her golf club neighbor to remove the obstructing trees it planted. This week, the Tennessee Court of Appeals held that the club’s rights to its property trump her desire to see the golf course.
After finding that the various subdivision restrictions did not preclude the club from planting the trees, the court turned to Ms. Stibler’s claim that the club “had created a nuisance by planting the trees obstructing Plaintiff’s view of the golf course.” Rejecting this claim, the court explained as follows:
“In the case now before us on appeal it is undisputed that Defendant planted the trees at issue on its own property and that the trees in no way encroach upon Plaintiff’s property. Further, it is undisputed that these trees have caused no physical damage to Plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff does allege economic damage resulting from her loss of the golf course view. The facts that Plaintiff previously had a view of persons golfing on Defendant’s property, that this view has been changed by the planting of the trees, and that Plaintiff is unhappy because she no longer has an unobstructed view of a portion of Defendant’s property are simply insufficient to give rise to a claim for nuisance. Plaintiff has directed us to nothing which would give her a protected legal right entitling her to a view of Defendant’s property.”