Lawsuit Over Hopper Neighbor’s House Continues

GavelTRURO – The lawsuit involving the Town of Truro and a homeowner who constructed a house next door to the home long owned by American artist Edward Hopper continues.

The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled the house was built illegally because the building permit was done incorrectly.

The house is not inhabited and the town has ordered it to be torn down.

The tear down order has been challenged in court by the Klines.

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The matter concerns the original permitting of the Kline House in South Truro. The State Appeals Court ruled the building permit was invalid.

Chairman of the Truro Board of Selectmen Jay Coburn said the town is asking the Land Court to rule on the matter.

“Town counsel has requested a summary judgement in land court to resolve these issues and we’re awaiting that,” he said. “I believe that we have spent over the last 8 years about $140,000 in legal fees.”

Coburn said there is no way of knowing how much the lawsuit will end up costing the town.

“It’s hard to know what your costs are going to be. You can’t predict how much longer the litigation is going to continue,” he said.

But he said it is important the town stays the course on the suit.

“It’s certainly very important for the town to uphold our zoning bylaws and make sure they are enforced. While the cost has been significant over the last years, there have been lots of dimensions to the legal case,” Coburn said. “I can only imagine what the Kline family has been spending on their lawyers, I would gather probably a lot more than the Town of Truro has been spending on ours.”

Neighbors who opposed construction of the house were concerned that it would diminish views of landscapes that may have inspired Hopper.