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Old 01-20-2010, 05:38 PM
12 posts, read 88,411 times
Reputation: 22


Howdy all,

I live in rural Lee county AL and have a question about the right of way. The location is the area between the front of my/neighbors property and extends to HWY 29. The area the ditch is located.

Story: My neighbor called me the other day asking if I knew who tore up their grass near a tree of theirs. I did not understand what she was talking about. She stated that she put some rocks by the damaged grass to prevent it from happening again. Well, the next day going to work, I seen a line of rocks about the size of softballs extending from their property line to the ditch. I then realized what she was talking about. Now they have put up a metal pole(fence post) to try to deter people from tearing up the grass.

What has happened is that my son has some friends who live about a city blcok away and they, including my son ride their 4 wheelers to each others houses so they can ride on ours/their property and has wore some of the grass away.

My questions are...Is my neighbor legally able to block the right of way from anyone using it? and...what does the state of Alabama say about the usage, such as my son using it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:03 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
15,552 posts, read 47,057,783 times
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Right of way typically extends 30' from the centerline of a road. That is an easement that allows the state to use the land for public roads. It precludes people from building permanent structures, especially on certain routes used for oversized loads. However, the landowner still owns and pays taxes on the land. Any area not used by the road is theirs to landscape as they see fit (within certain bounds) and erect a mailbox, and so on. It is illegal to stop on the road or side of the road in the state, so as long as what the neighbor is doing does not impede traffic or present a danger to motorists or bicyclists or pedestrians, they can do as they please. Roadways do NOT have an automatic side of the road path for ATVs (which are illegal on roads). On our property, they would have to ride on a 60 degree embankment anyway (LOL).

As long as the neighbor didn't put up spike strips, they are pretty much within their rights.

You might go over to the neighbor with a batch of food, apologize for the damage the kids did, and suggest that in return for the kids seeding and maintaining the grass in good condition (including mowing once a week in the summer) and holding the landowner harmless to accidents, they be allowed to use it to get from place to place during reasonable hours. You still might get turned down, but most folks are reasonable if treated with respect.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:24 PM
12 posts, read 88,411 times
Reputation: 22
These people are the strangest people I have met. Ever since I have lived here, they have problems with what I do on my land. If I do not cut my pasture, which is in front of their house, then they have a fit. LOL.

SO, you are saying, even though their property marker sets back about 30 feet from the road, they can put the pole and rocks on the county/state land? I wouldn't think the state would like that since they(the state/county) cuts the grass along the hwy.

I think I am gonna call the hwy dept and get a definitive answer. Being that the it is state/county property, I would think all taxpayers would be able to use that area. Below is a diagram of where I am talking about...

_________property line____________

My son uses the right of way area between the property line and hwy.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:15 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
15,552 posts, read 47,057,783 times
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LOL, yeah, there are some strange folk. Seriously though, the road is an easement. IF the state OWNED the property, you would be correct.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:29 PM
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Are you sure?

Maybe state laws differ, but my Minnesota farm runs for a half mile along a state highway. I can cut the hay from the right of way, but I can't put anything ( posts, fences) within that right of way.

It is even illegal to plow snow from my driveway and deposit it in the dich across the road.

To the OP---------to be safe, read the Alabama laws regarding right of ways and the laws pretaining to 4-wheelers.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:40 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
15,552 posts, read 47,057,783 times
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Pretty sure, Marmac. A fence post is pushing it, but the rocks would be legal. The state can come in and remove the fencepost, they can and will spray weedkiller on overgrown grass or weeds, and cut down trees, but softball sized rocks are about as common as beer cans on the side of the road around here. The right-of-way is bigger than the roadway to allow for building up the roadbed or making cuts. Travel is allowed on the road itself.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:40 AM
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Sure most right of ways extend to some degree into what many people consider their property...most typically people's front yards. Most of those right of ways are for highway usage and utilities, not public egress. Most people still tend and care for the areas on the right of ways--plant shrubs, mow the grass, etc.

To me, legalities aside, it's a matter of consideration for other people. If this is an area that a person is taking care of, is an area that for all intents and purposes appears to be part of a yard, I would consider it rude and thoughtless if someone was ripping their 4 wheelers across mine, or if my kid was doing it to someone else. There's lots of things that one can do legally, but maybe shouldn't out of consideration for others. That, unfortunately is a concept that is becoming more rare in our society.

You obviously have a neighbor that cares about appearances...maybe too much (citing her concern about YOUR pasture)--count your blessings. If relations are strained, the neighbor knowing that your kid is one of the ones tearing up "her" yard (in her mind, and for all intents and purposes it may seem so) isn't going to help.

Just one man's opinion.

Good luck. Poor neighbor relations can be tough.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:35 PM
12 posts, read 88,411 times
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This is what I found out... Per the Lee county appraisals and mapping office, the property belongs to the state and what my son and his friends are using it for is perfectly legal. There is an 80' easment (40' to each side of the road from center to our property pins).

The neighbors who actually live behind me have a 30' wide drive basically between my property and a hay field on the other side of the driveway.

No, they do not take care of the area in consideration nor cutting of their drive that runs along my house. The state mows the front along the HWY.

My consideration flew the coup years ago when I found out how anal these people were. I do not go out of my way to talk to these people or try to cause any problems such as this. My property is well taken care of. I pretty much have a nosy neighbor who keeps "suggesting" how I should live on my property. I should do this more often, or I should do that, or do you really want that on your property. They really got upset when I started putting livestock(mini horses/chickens/goats) on the property. Sheesh, I live in the country. That is why I bought the land to use it and get away from people! LOL

This guy is so weird, he asked me why I did not buy his house/property when I bought my property. I told him there was no for sale sign up and I did not know it was for sale. His reply...well you should have asked!

Anyway, my son and his friends do not travel through that area all that much anyway. So no big deal. I just have piece of mind knowing what is right and wrong.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:56 PM
1,351 posts, read 2,783,724 times
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Originally Posted by Cowboy67 View Post
I just have piece of mind knowing what is right and wrong.
Make sure your neighbor knows what's right and wrong, too.
When I read your story, I immediately remembered this on Dateline NBC, took me a while to rummage thru the archives
Trouble on the hill: The danger next door - Crime reports- msnbc.com
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:59 PM
1 posts, read 10,256 times
Reputation: 10
Default right of way of property

Hello folks, I have a simular situation concerning a right of way that goes down my drive and continue to property behind me. We traded the property behind us for property beside us. We agreed to give that person a right of way. Since then he has sold property behind the property we swapped with him
Our new land owners are non American and it is difficult to speak to them at all. About 4 nights ago we heard loud gun shot, and like 5 seconds later another at which point I jumped up and looked out the door to see these people going down my drive, which is also right of way, I jumped in my truck and stopped them they said no they didn't shoot, the most I could understand was that and 2 first names. The next morning my neighbor had a strange dog at her house . We thought that these non Americans probably threw him away. He was a very sweet dog and aside from being hungry was a great dog. We had found several good homes that were going to take him if we could not find the owner. Yesterday was those people go back to their. Property and not long after the dog went that way also. We heard 2 gun shots from them and have not been able to find the dog since. Anyway what I need to know is if I still have control over my drive way since we have the right of way to a different person. And no I'm not going to put up with shooting on my drive nor the killing of a dog. They just don't know me yet. What are the laws about this, they seem to think they can do what they want. Help, anybody.
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