Frogtown Road Neighbor Dispute Headed to Trial 


A jury trial has been scheduled for November in the case of a commercial property owner and operator on Frogtown Road long embroiled in a legal dispute with abutting residential neighbors.

It’s been more than three years since Twin Ponds LLC, the owner of 259 Frogtown Road, and Frogtown Nurseries, which operates out of the two-acre parcel, sued the owners of three properties to the south.

At the center of the complaint is the disputed use of an approximately .25-acre parcel that includes part of a pond that the plaintiffs say were created in 1979 by a prior property owner.

Though the plaintiffs say the owners of the nursery property had acquired title to the parcel more than 15 years ago, one of the neighbors “on two separate occasions, has destroyed the fencing and irrigation system and sprinklers which surround the pond and area that allegedly encroaches upon” that neighbor’s property at 313 Frogtown Road, according to an amended complaint filed last April by attorney Bruce Elstein of Trumbull-based Goldman, Gruder & Woods LLC.

“The destruction of said fence and irrigation system has enabled deer and other wildlife to enter the property and destroy the inventory,” according to the complaint. The defendant’s actions “unreasonably interfere with the plaintiff’s exclusive right to use” the property and the plaintiff now is seeking a court order that will prevent him from “destroying any and all personal property allegedly encroaching” on his own property until the court makes a determination regarding title. 

They’re suing for adverse possession, damages, a temporary injunction and easement by prescription and are seeking money damages, interest, costs and injunctive relief.

Last July, the neighbors filed an answer denying wrongdoing, as well as their own counterclaim.

In fact, according to the defendants, Twin Ponds LLC and Frogtown Nurseries “have been using a portion of the [defendant’s] property and have erected a deer fence within the bounds of the [defendant’s] property.”

“Plaintiffs and their predecessors in title have not used the disputed parcel for the statutory period of 15 years in a manner that has been continuous and uninterrupted, exclusive, open and notorious, and against or without the permission or consent of the defendants or defendants’ predecessors in title,” according to the special defenses filed by attorneys  Steve Walko and Jessica Signor of Greenwich-based Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara LLC.

“Plaintiffs fail to state a claim based upon which relief can be granted,” the defendants said.

In their counterclaim, the neighbors are suing for quiet title, trespass and ejectment, and are seeking a finding that the disputed parcel is part of the property at 321 Frogtown Road, as well as monetary damages, costs, expenses and other relief.

A third neighbor initially named as a defendant later withdrew her counterclaim against Frogtown Nurseries and is no longer involved in the case.

A trial management conference has been scheduled for Oct. 23, jury selection Nov. 6 in state Superior Court, according to Connecticut Judicial Branch records.

As the lawsuit progressed, the neighbors in August 2017 said that municipal officials have failed to address their several concerns adequately. The town last March found that Twin Ponds and Frogtown Nurseries violated the terms of a 1984 agreement by storing materials on the site that had been expressly prohibited. 

In November, one of the neighbors told town officials that deer fencing, piles of dirt, irrigation system and trees had remained or been newly placed on their properties. 

“In addition, the nursery recently cut down trees on the non-disputed area of our property and seem not to be held accountable or have any respect for the land that we own and pay taxes on,” Todd Challe wrote in an email undersigned by Peggy Challe as well as Jack and Lucy Baney, obtained by through a Freedom of Information Act request. “We understand that this is a civil matter; however, there is a reasonable expectation that the town will take action when the nursery is clearly in violation. It is not enough to send a violation notice and then not follow up with the outstanding issues.”

Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni met with the neighbors in January, according to other emails obtained through a FOIA request. 

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