Magothy River View Worth $290K for Arnold Couple

Attorney: Family planted view-obstructing trees out of spite

ARNOLD, Md. -- An Anne Arundel County jury ruled last week that an Arnold family owes their neighbors $290,000 after planting trees that block the view of the Magothy River, the Capital reported.

The jury ruled that the Longs -- Deborah, Charles Jr. and Charles Sr. -- intentionally diminished the value of their neighbors' home by planting tall trees on their waterfront property in 2007.

The verdict only applies because the Longs originally owned their neighbors' property, 909 Burnett Drive, the Capital reported. In 1998, the Longs sold the property to a couple who then sold it to Dan Mastromarco and his wife in 2001, according to the lawsuit.

The Longs had the 30-foot trees planted following a dispute about a utility pole on their property, according to Mastromarco's brother and attorney, Victor Mastromarco. Dan Mastromarco pointed out that the Longs couldn't stop a neighbor from hooking up to the utility pole because of an easement on record and then tried to get the power lines buried to improve his view.

"This is malice," Victor Mastromarco said in his closing arguments. "This is spite. This is totally unneighborly conduct."

The Longs' attorney argued the Mastromarcos had no right to the view and there was nothing in writing entitling them to the view, the Capital reported.

It's unclear if the trees will remain.

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