WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The dispute continues for neighbors on Campbell Street, who say part of their property is being taken over by developers. But the developer himself says that land does not belong to them.
Christine Mitchell and her husband Chance Harrison are not backing down, after standing guard against encroaching backhoes and bulldozers for days.
But Wednesday, they lost even more ground in the property dispute. Mitchell heard a loud noise and ran out to find a tree and part of her fence being ripped up.
“The tree came down and I’m still screaming for him to stop,” she said. “The claw just dug into the root of the tree and drug it 50 or 60 feet away from our house.”
The dispute started over an easement behind their home and several others on Campbell St.
The couple contends they have paperwork that shows the easement behind their home is just for the four homes in their row.
“Our house and three other houses are listed to be the only sole users of this easement,” Harrison said. “This deed was recorded in 2008.”
But developer Dave Spetrino, who also built the couples’ house, says the easement was put in place in 2002 and is for any property adjacent to it, including the neighbors of the new complex on the other side of the easement.
But the couple says their paperwork says otherwise.
“It’s very cut and dry,” Harrison said. “It lists the parcels by address basically, and we are one of them out of the four.”
Spetrino says he has an obligation to neighbors on all sides, to allow them access to the easement. He says the couple’s fence was technically an illegal barricade on the easement, so the demolition was necessary.
Harrison and Mitchell are at a loss for what to do now.
“It’s a very frustrating process and I don’t see how it fixes itself now,” Harrison said. “The damage is too severe.”
The couple says they plan to keep talking with their lawyers.
Spetrino says he has to think of the whole neighborhood, not just these four homes, and that’s why he’s been working for more than a decade to revitalize the whole area.