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To establish title by adverse possession, the claimant must show possession of the claimed property for the statutory period of 20 years. Moreover, such possession must be actual, open, notorious, hostile, under claim of title or ownership, and continuous and uninterrupted. The statutory period is established by Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-103, which requires that within 20 years from the date the cause of action accrues, a landowner must either file an action for recovery of possession of a corporeal freehold or leasehold estate in land, or enter on the land.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County entered in an action arising from a dispute between neighbors, Charles and Cheryl Kirk and Thomas and Nanci Gardner. The circuit court resolved most, but not quite all, of the issues before it, in favor of the Gardners. Neither party is satisfied. The Kirks' first contention is that the trial court erred in granting the Gardners' motion for summary judgment as to the Kirks' claim that Covenant SECOND established an express easement of light and air across the waterfront lots in the subdivision for the benefit of neighboring properties. The second issue the Kirks raise on appeal is the court's grant of the Gardners' motion for summary judgment on their private nuisance claim. In their motion for summary judgment, and at the hearing before the circuit court, the Kirks alleged that the Gardners planted peach trees as well as blueberry and raspberry bushes in close proximity to the Kirks' patio, which interfered with their use and enjoyment of their property. The Kirks' final contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in finding that the Gardners acquired title to the right-of-way through adverse possession.
Did the trial court err in finding that the Gardners acquired title to the right-of-way through adverse possession?
Gardners were properly granted summary judgment on abutters' claim that the Gardners created a private nuisance by planting fruit-bearing vegetation that attracted bees, because this claim was based on one of the abutter's unique sensitivity--a severe allergy to bee stings--and the vegetation would not pose an unreasonable threat to an ordinary person. The trial court properly found that Gardners acquired title to a right-of-way through adverse possession; because the right of way area was adjacent to Gardners’ property and was separated from the abutters' property by a fence, which indicated that the neighbors and their predecessors in title owned the area, the Gardners could tack their possession of the right-of-way to that of their predecessors in order to satisfy the 20-year period of Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-103.