FIGHTING WITH STICKS

Milwaukee Magazine - - Insider -

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.”

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