AUGUSTA — A right-of-way dispute between neighboring property owners in Rome was before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court a second time Tuesday in oral arguments.

Ricky and Monica Conant, of Winthrop, represented by attorney Catherine Connors, want the justices to vacate a superior court decision granting neighbor Peter M. Beckerman a right of way across their land to access South Crane Lane, and via that, Jamaica Point Road in Rome.

The properties in dispute have frontage on Great Pond.

Beckerman, who lives in Sidney, wants the decision to stand. He was at Tuesday’s hearing at the Capital Judicial Center, sitting at a table with his attorney, Alton Stevens.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court, weighed in on a previous appeal involving the parties in a decision issued in July 2015.

“It’s fairly clear the parties in the area are unable to resolve the disputes that come up without judicial assistance,” Saufley told Stevens at one point. “Will the lack of a final description (of the location of any second right of way) create further problems for the parties?”

Stevens said he had concerns about the future, which is why he asked that if the ruling is overturned, the Law Court sends the case back to the superior court to determine whether Beckerman has a right of way by prescription, essentially because of prior continuous use.

Connors told the justices to look at several paragraphs in a 1978 deed that she maintains refer to one right of way, the one held in common with neighbors.

She said the trial court made three errors in an April 29, 2016, ruling granting Beckerman a second right of way.

Connors told the judges that there is no ambiguity in the deed, the property is not landlocked, and that the judge erred in locating a second right of way.

“It’s not easy to follow, but that doesn’t mean it’s ambiguous,” Connors said.

Stevens countered by saying, “Nowhere in deed is there any indication that they meant for that 10-foot strip (which runs the length of the Conant’s property) to be a right of way.”

Stevens several times used a large diagram of the properties to show the judges the areas he was discussing.

Associate Justice Donald Alexander repeatedly asked what the properties looked like in 1978, and told Stevens he had the legal burden to show where the right of way was.

Connors said the right of way describes South Crane Lane and it can’t be describing a second right of way.

“He’s saying he’s got a private right of way to go through the Beckermans’ lot through the Conants’ lot,” Connors argued. “It only describes a right of way held in common.”

All the property owners have access to launch their boats at the boat ramp.

The Conants maintain that a “1978 deed does not create a right of way across the Conants Lot.”

Beckerman bought the lot, which borders Great Pond, in 1988. Beckerman maintains his deed “is unambiguous and clearly grants him a right of way from Jamaica Point Road all the way to his property.”

The Law Court considers the oral arguments and the briefs before issuing decisions in writing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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