Court goes to Chappy

On the second day of trial, Judge Wilson views sites relative to cell tower.


On the second trial day of Strayton v. MVC Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Paul Wilson went to Chappaquiddick to view property and landscapes relative to the case. 

Joined by several attorneys, clerk George Davis, and a court officer, Judge Wilson took a look at a cell tower at 14 Sampson Ave., a nearby home, a woodland site, and a property on Majane Lane. Attorneys were permitted to point out various aspects of land, buildings, and infrastructure but were forbidden from offering viewpoints on what the judge was looking at. Later Tuesday morning, court reconvened in the Dukes County courthouse. 

The defense called Rhode Island real estate appraiser George Valentine to the stand. Valentine testified about a sales study he’d conducted on Chappaquiddick and elsewhere on the Vineyard that he called a paired sales analysis. Valentine told the court he determined that proximity to a cell tower doesn’t adversely impact the value of a property. Under cross examination by plaintiffs’ attorney Kaitlyn Baptista, Valentine was asked if the data he’d collected was insufficient to conduct a paired sales analysis. Valentine replied “yes”.

The first witness for the plaintiffs was Robert Fynbo, owner of 14 Sampson Ave., the property on which the cell tower in the case is situated. Fynbo testified about the paperwork involved in leasing his property for the tower and the timeline for some of that paperwork. He also testified about various towers previously erected on his property — their scale and type — among other things. The trial broke for lunch at 1pm before Fynbo’s testimony concluded.