Get Ready For Trial, Judge Tells Chino Hills

()ctober19)  An effort by the city of Chino Hills to have a lawsuit relating to a property line dispute against it dismissed has fallen short.
The city’s attorney’s office had requested that Superior Court Judge Ben Kayashima grant summary judgment in the case lodged by Michael and Kimberly Denton. The Dentons sued the city in 2011 after the city’s code enforcement division informed them in 2010 that the furthest extension of their backyard was encroaching on city-owned open space and that they had to remove their pool and spa along with landscaping that was already extant whey they purchased the home in 1999 from Gloria Vitagliano.
The Dentons, who live on Hunters Gate Circle, offered the city $10,000 for the property, but the city rejected that offer, instead saying it would provide them with a 15-year easement for the continued use of the property for a limited period .  The Dentons then retained the firm of Gresham, Savage, Nolan and Tilden to sue the city.
The Dentons claim the city allowed the Vitagliano/Denton encroachment, which was conspicuous and open, to stand, and did nothing to interfere with Ms. Vitagliano’s or their occupation of the approximately 1,574 square feet of land for more than 15 years. Nor did the city act in a timely manner to prevent them from removing a wrought-iron fence and replacing it with a glass wall and block fence, the Dentons assert.
The Dentons had no knowledge of the encroachment, which the city was obliged to redress in a timely manner, according to the Denton’s lawyer, Theodore Stream.
The city, however, maintains that a document recorded at the time of the sale contains a disclosure statement from Vitagliano to the Dentons stating there is a “possible discrepancy regarding lot size/fence line.” The city maintains that this demonstrates the Dentons were on notice as to the possible encroachment at the time of the sale. The city also maintained in its motion for summary judgment that there were no issues to be tried before the court since the city had offered the Dentons an easement, which the city was not required to offer.
Judge Kayashima rejected deputy city attorney Elizabeth Calciano’s request, and ordered both parties to be ready for trial, which he set to commence on November 13.
The case will conceivably impact other property owners in the city who are alleged to have encroached on open space owned by the city.

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