Fences Make Good Neighbors, But Lawsuits?


Martica R. Sawin, a Resident of 28 St. Lawrence Street, Filed a Lawsuit Against Her Neighbors, Kelly and Walter Williams in June 2018.

Tica Douglas (L) and Maggie Wolff (R) Daughters of the Plaintiff in This Lawsuit, at a Public Meeting on the Controversy.

A lawsuit filed by Martica R. Sawin against Kelly and Walter Williams, her immediate neighbors on Munjoy Hill, has been resolved through mediation according to someone familiar with the situation.  The lawsuit filed in June of 2018.

A controversy erupted when the long-time Munjoy Hill residents, Kelly and Walter Williams, filed  an application with the city to tear down their current old home and replace it with a multi-unit condominium.  Neighbors complained about the construction of a condominium saying it did not fit into the neighborhood, was too large for the location  and  too close to the next door neighbor, Martica Sawin.

As a result a new policy was developed by District 1 Councilor Belinda Ray.  At the last moment, the Williams were informed that because their application had been filed prior to the implementation of the policy, they were exempt from it and could proceed with their application.  Others were not so lucky as to make that cut-off date.

At one of the planning board meetings, Sawin, told the members that if they gave the greenlight to the Williams to  proceed with their plans to construct a condominium, she would sue.  The planning  board gave the greenlight to the couple and Sawin kept her promise.  But the lawsuit was settled through mediation last month.

Sawin’s complaint dated June 11, 2018 claimed she owned the “retaining wall, fence and driveway” according to her attorney Michael Traister, of Murray Plumb & Murray.  The “answer and counterclaim” of the defendants, Williams, dated July 3, 2018, said otherwise.  David A. Soley, of Bernstein Shur and Elizabeth A. Boepple, using her New Hampshire license,  were the defendants’  attorneys. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been made public yet.

Presumably these neighbors won’t be celebrating any of the upcoming holidays together!