A Menemsha property owner who accused her neighbors of illegally cutting down more than 100 trees on her land in search of better water views won a $2.5 million settlement earlier this year. 

Martha Cottle sued Beach Plum Inn owners Sarah and Robert Nixon, claiming that the couple directed an associate to clear a wide swath of trees in 2019 on abutting land Ms. Cottle owns in Chilmark. In all, Ms. Cottle said 136 trees were chopped down, including beech, oak and locust trees, some as tall as 100 feet.

The lawsuit, filed in February 2022 in Dukes County Superior Court, contended that Erick Taylor, at the request of the Nixons, cleared the trees in order to improve the view of Menemsha harbor, Menemsha Pond and Menemsha Bight. 

In September, the parties filed an agreement for a settlement with the court. According to the agreement, the Mr. Taylor’s insurance company paid $1 million. The Nixons, through a company they control, Swordfish Enterprises, agreed to pay $1.5 million. The first payment of $100,000 was supposed to be paid to Ms. Cottle by Oct. 5, and the other $1.4 million is supposed to be paid by Dec. 31.

In court filings, the Nixons said Mr. Taylor was staying at the Beach Plum Inn during hunting season and wanted to do the Nixons a favor by cutting down several trees.

According to the Nixons, Mr. Taylor took down a cattle fence and crossed over onto Ms. Cottle’s land, decimating the grove of trees beyond the property line. The Nixons also said their views were already “stunning and needed no improvement.”

Ms. Cottle argued that Mr. Taylor was acting on behalf of the Nixons. She originally estimated that it was going to cost $3.6 million to restore the trees. 

A jury trial was scheduled to take place in June before the parties agreed to a settlement.