1 As to easements of light, air, etc., in a street in favor of an abutting owner when the fee is in the municipality, see White v. Manhattan Ry. Co., p. 795, supra; Story v. Elevated R.R. Co., 90 N. Y. 122: Kane v. AT. V. Elevated R. R. Co., 125 N. Y. 164. - ED.
2 In some cases the public own the fee in the highway. For special easements of abutting owners in such case, see note 1, supra. - ED.
A right of way also may exist in particular persons holding certain estates. There can, therefore, be no objection to a way limited to the inhabitants of a particular territory, and Chitty, in the page just cited, note w., refers to Lutw. 1507, for a precedent of a right of way by the inhabitants of a town. It is not necessary in pleading to set out the abuttals of such a way, or to state its termini. 1 H. Bl. 351; 8 T. R. 608; 2 Chitty PI. 11 16.
1 New Hampshire, 16. - 1816
Per Curiam. - In highways laid out through the lands of individuals in pursuance of statutes, the public has only an easement, a right of passage; the soil and freehold remain in the individual, whose lands have been taken for that purpose. Perley v. Chandler, 6 Mass. 454. Towns whose duty it is to make roads and keep them in repair have a right to cut trees growing in highways so far as is necessary to the performance of that duty. It is therefore clear, that the defendants are entitled to judgment on the first count in this case. Whether towns have a right to use trees thus cut, in the construction of the road, is a question not necessary to be settled in this case. The plaintiff complains, not that his trees have been thus used, but that they have been converted to the private use of the defendants. This complaint in our opinion is well founded and the plaintiff is entitled to judgment on his second count for the value of the wood.
Judgment for the plaintiff.
b. Rights of the owner of the fee.
5 Allen (Mass.), 308. - 1862.
Chapman, J. - The parties are owners of adjoining lands, and the defendant's house stands on or near the line. The construction of his deed was settled in the former case between the same parties. 1 Allen, 443. He has erected a bay-window which extends beyond the line, over the plaintiff's land, and maintains it there. The justification which he sets up in this action is, that there is a highway over the plaintiff's land, extending to the line, and that his structure does not interfere with the use of the way. But this furnishes no legal defense. Nothing is better settled than that a highway leaves the title of the owner unaffected as to everything except the right of the public to make and repair it and use it as a way, and for some other public purposes, such as drainage and the laying of aqueducts; and that an adjoining proprietor has no more right to erect and maintain a permanent structure over the land than if no highway was there. A mere easement has passed to the public, leaving the fee in the owner. An adjoining proprietor may have occasion to use the way in connection with his lands, in a different manner from other people. In O'Linda v. Lothrop, 21 Pick. 292, it was held that he might swing his gate or door over the way, suffer his horses or carriages to stand upon it, lay building materials upon it designed to be used on his land, and throw earth upon it as he removed the earth from his cellar. But these are all temporary acts, and are connected with the use of the way. He may spread earth upon it to make it more level and his access to it from his premises more convenient; but this is merely fitting it more perfectly to be used as a way. In Underwood v. Carney, 1 Cush. 285, the uses of the way which were held to be legal were of the same character as those in 0'Linda v. Lothrop. They did not constitute permanent occupation; nor do those cases justify any occupation except for a reasonable time, and as connected with its use as a way. Here the occupation has been permanent, and having no connection with the use of the way.
The evidence of the alleged custom was rightly rejected. If there be a custom in Boston to erect bay-windows, balconies and other structures over the streets, provided they do not interfere with the rights of the public, by proprietors who own the soil of the street, such a custom has no application to the case. If it be a custom to erect them over the land of other people, such a custom is illegal; and the defendant cannot justify himself in occupying his neighbor's property as a part of his dwelling-house on the ground that such trespasses are customary in Boston. Homer v. Dorr, 10 Mass. 26; Waters v. Lilley, 4 Pick 145. In some of our ancient highways the fee has always been in the town. Probably this is the case as to many of the streets of Boston. It does not follow from the decision of this case that the public could maintain an action like the present. There are also many cases where land adjoining the highway has been so conveyed that, by our established construction of deeds, the fee of the land from the side line to the center of the highway remains in the grantor, though both parties actually supposed it was conveyed. It is now too late to discuss the question whether it would have been better to hold that all deeds bounding on the highway conveyed all the rights of the grantor as far as the middle of the way, as deeds bounding on streams extend to the thread. But in such cases, where there are no covenants such as are contained in the deed of Amory to Apthorp respecting the way, and defining the rights of the parties (see 1 Allen, 444), and where the grantor has no other land adjoining the highway to be affected by building a structure over the way, and can have no possible use of his fee so long as the highway exists, it does not follow from the decision in this case that he can maintain an action for the erection of such a structure. For in the present case the plaintiff not only has a right to have the whole space occupied by the street open, from the soil upwards, for the free admission of light and air, and the prospect unobstructed from every point, but it is a right of appreciable value in reference to himself and his grantees, who are proprietors of the other land adjoining the way. If the defendant may obstruct the light and air and prospect by means of a bay-window, he may by a much larger structure, and thereby greatly injure the property bounding on the street.