FIGHTING WITH STICKS
Beach Court, a dead-end street that meets Beach Drive at a T intersection, has become something of an arboreal battleground, in a story that first begs a brief topographical note: The court rests on flat land and is arranged perpendicular to the lake, so that each house has a view of the water. In early 2016, residents Scott and Laura Mullins attempted to expand on their vantage by trimming back 13 shaggy trees that were growing on the property of their eastern neighbor, Kathe Lake, without first getting her permission.
Soon after, Mullins and her husband thought better of their actions and wrote a letter to Lake apologizing, but she was not appeased and responded on two fronts. First, she filed a lawsuit, and second, she donated money to the village of Fox Point to plant two trees in front of the lakeshore, partially blocking the views of the Mullinses and others.
Scott Brandmeier, the Fox Point public works director, defended the trees, noting that Beach Drive has many such plantings: “One person’s perception on a view being blocked may be another person’s perception of a view being enhanced.”
After Lake’s lawsuit was dismissed in May, she planted 21 more trees on her lawn, further blocking the Mullinses’ views. In an interview, Laura Mullins called the new trees “a spite fence.”