Plaintiff filed its Verified Complaint on August 9, 2011, pursuant to G. L. c. 185 and G. L. c. 231A, seeking a declaratory judgment relative to the ownership of a parcel of land located at 36 Blue Barque Road in Chilmark, Massachusetts (the Disputed Parcel), shown on a plan titled Plan of Land In Chilmark, Mass. Prepared For Sheriffs Meadow Foundation dated October 1, 2011, and prepared by Schofield, Barbini & Hoehn Inc., (the 2011 Plan), as Assessors Map 17, Parcel 65 and containing approximately 12.4 acres. The 2011 Plan depicts the Disputed Parcel as a backwards letter L, bounded by Blue Barque Road to the south, and Quenames Road to the east. To the west and north the 2011 Plan shows the Disputed Parcel abutted by five parcels (Owner Unknown Assessors Parcel 17-50, Robert & Rona Kiley Assessors Parcel 17-64, Paul Pettegrove Assessors Parcel 17-68, Thomas Herget, Trustee Assessors Parcel 17-51 and Bridget Montgomery & Michael Spangler Assessors Parcel 17-20). On the same day Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a motion for lis pendens. A hearing on the motion for TRO was held ex-parte on August 9, 2011, and allowed (Scheier, J), restraining Defendants Benjamin W. Ramsey (Ramsey) and Nisa M. Counter (together, Defendants) from any cutting or construction activity on the Disputed Parcel. A hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction was held on August 18, 2011, and an Order was issued on August 19, 2011 (the 2011 Injunction) allowing the motion for preliminary injunction in part, restraining Defendants from any further cutting, clearing, burning, construction activity or testing on the Disputed Parcel, but allowing Defendants to use the existing tent and parked trailers located on the Disputed Parcel for temporary recreational purposes. Defendants filed their Answer on September 22, 2011. A case management conference was held on October 6, 2011. A pre-trial conference was held on August 8, 2012. The trial scheduled for October 29 - 30, 2012 was postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. A site view and the first day of trial at the Edgartown Town Hall were held on April 25, 2013. The second day of trial at the Edgartown Town Hall was held on April 26, 2013. Plaintiff filed its post-trial memorandum on July 23, 2013. Defendants filed their post-trial brief on July 26, 2013, and at that time the matter was taken under advisement. A decision of todays date (the Decision) has been issued.
In accordance with the Decision, it is:
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Plaintiff is the record owner of the entire Disputed Parcel including the parcel referred to on the Herbert Hancock, Dukes County Probate Inventory as 36 Blue Barque Road, Chilmark, MA: the land located in Chilmark, Massachusetts, more particularly shown as Assessors Map 17, Parcel 65 on file for Fiscal Year 2001 in the Office of the Chilmark Board of Assessors (the Three Acres).
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants use of the Three Acres has not been for the full period of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants have not satisfied the actual use element of a claim for adverse possession of the Three Acres.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants use of the Three Acres of the Disputed Parcel has not been open and notorious for any period of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants use of the Three Acres has not been exclusive for any period of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants use of the Three Acres of the Disputed Parcel has not been adverse for any period of twenty years.
ORDERED and ADJUDGED that Defendants have not established title to the Three Acres by adverse possession.