Landowner brought action against neighbors seeking to establish easement over neighbors’ property to access his landlocked property that abutted a discontinued public highway.
After a bench trial, the Superior Court found that landowner had an easement. Landowner appealed and neighbors cross-appealed.
The Supreme Court held that:
- As matter of first impression, an easement exists over a discontinued highway if abutting landowner demonstrates that easement is reasonably necessary for ingress and egress;
- Width of any private easement for landowner was not controlled by handwritten notes of selectboard’s decision 250 years earlier to lay out highway;
- Trial court was not bound by contemporary design standards for rural subdivision streets in determining width of any easement;
- Court’s limitation of easement to residential and agricultural purposes was reasonable; and
- Highway was not subject to gates and bars via town vote after highway was discontinued.