In Vermont, Ugly Is Still Not A 'Nuisance'

Friday, April 27, 2018 3:18 am
May 2018 - Volume 46 Number 5

Vermont's high court upheld a 120-year-old rule that a private nuisance claim cannot be based solely on aesthetic concerns.

Facts: Peck Electric Company and Solarcommunities, Inc. (defendants) leased land in Vermont for the purpose of building commercial solar arrays. Neighboring landowners sued the defendants for private nuisance, alleging that the solar arrays “negatively affected the surrounding area's rural aesthetic,” which in turn caused property values to decline. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court of Vermont, which affirmed.

Analysis: Like most states, Vermont does not recognize “aesthetic nuisance” as a legally cognizable claim[..]