Crabapple tree at root of court fight

A no trespassing sign has been placed next to a crabapple tree at the center of a court fight in Candia.

CANDIA — The town is hoping a judge will toss a local couple’s lawsuit over a crabapple tree that selectmen have deemed a “public nuisance.”

Town attorney Michael Courtney filed a response to Dustin and Jennifer Heiberg’s complaint on Tuesday asking a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to dismiss their case.

The Heibergs took legal action in January asking the court to reverse the selectmen’s decision that determined the crabapple tree in the front yard of their home at 14 Jane Drive to be a public nuisance.

The town has threatened to remove it if the Heibergs don’t cut back some of the small branches that have begun to stick out into the road.

The Heibergs claim the tree isn’t a problem and that other larger trees in town pose a bigger hazard.

They also argue that the town never got a deed for the road, which would make it private and would give selectmen no authority to find that it’s a “public nuisance.”

In its response, the town wrote that “it has maintained Jane Drive for decades, including substantial public funds for paving and winter maintenance.”

The town also continued to argue that the tree “encroaches onto Jane Drive and is a public nuisance.”

The Heibergs took legal action after selectmen sent them a letter on Dec. 26 telling them that if the branches weren’t trimmed with 30 days, the town would remove the tree.

Jennifer Heiberg said Thursday that the town’s attorney contacted her this week to see whether the two sides could reach an agreement to avoid further litigation.

Heiberg said she would only agree to drop the case if the selectmen withdraw the public nuisance label and reimburse her legal fees.

Saturday, February 22, 2020
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