Kiely v. GravesAnnotate this Case
Respondents William and Sally Chapin Kiely owned real property in Port Townsend next to property owned by Kenneth and Karen Graves. An alley ran the length of the properties, and as long as anyone could remember, a wire fence ran the length of the two properties. The Graves property adjacent to the disputed alley has remained open space where the Graves have planted fruit trees, berry vines, and garlic. Part of the Kielys' cottage encroached upon the disputed alley. In 2008, the Graves filed a petition with the city to vacate the western half of the alley and merge it into their adjoining lands. The city held a public hearing on the application. In February 2009, the Port Townsend City Council passed an ordinance to vacate the alley and convey the vacated alley to the Graves through a lot line adjustment. The Kielys filed an action alleging ownership of the entire alley through adverse possession on June 10, 2009. The trial court entered a judgment and decree in favor of the Kielys. The Supreme Court granted direct review to decide whether the Kielys could assert adverse possession based on events which preceded vacation of the alley. Upon review, the Court found that Port Townsend held an easement interest in the alley until it was vacated by public hearing. Therefore, RCW 7.28.090 prohibited the Kielys from obtaining title to the alley through adverse possession. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court's decision.