Lawsuit threatens future of Eagle iris garden

Lawsuit threatens iris garden in Eagle.

EAGLE -- For 20 years, visitors have driven down Hesse Lane in Eagle to enjoy blooming season at JoAnn's Iris Garden.

“It’s not about the selling, it’s about the joy of other people coming to the garden,” says owner JoAnn Burrell. “They can sit here for hours and just enjoy the irises.”

But now, Burrell is at odds with her neighbor Kathleen Bozman, who is suing over the use of the private lane, an easement, to run a business.

“It was just a month and a half after they moved in that we started having issues with them,” said Burrell. “[Visitors] have to drive across their lane in order to get to the garden. There’s no other way to get to the garden but to drive down that.”

By definition, an easement is a right to cross or otherwise use someone else's land for a specified purpose. In this case, Bozman says the purpose of the easement was to access private homes, not for Jo Ann to run a business.

"The use of the iris garden for the purposes of the iris garden was outside of the easement," Bozman said.

Bozman claims traffic from the garden causes undue stress to her property, even if it is only the six weeks a year that is blooming season.

"Twenty-five to 50 cars a day, and if 25-50 cars are coming in there's that many coming out," Bozman said.

Rick and Renee Abercrombie also use the easement to access their home at the end of Hesse Lane. 

“The impact to us was minimal - there was maybe three or four cars here on any given day,” said Rick Abercrombie.

“It’s really nice to drive by and see a person with their easel and their paint brushes sitting out painting an iris in the garden,” said Renee Abercrombie, Rick’s wife.

The Abercrombies say they stand with Jo Ann and hope to see this lawsuit dropped for the everyone's sake.

“Beside the garden, we want people to be able to access our home friends and family, whoever wants to come down here and I think the lawsuit puts that in jeopardy,” said Rick.

Bozman, on the other hand, says her intention is not to shut down the garden down but to regain her rights as a property owner.

"Iit's not that we ever wanted to shut the iris garden down - that's not the purpose here - but what we do want is to have consideration as property owners that we're impacted by this," Bozman said.

 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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