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Old 06-02-2008, 06:04 PM
 
23 posts, read 52,438 times
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We recently purchased a house in a brand new subdivision. We knew that there was a sewer easement running diagonally across our backyard but were told it was no big deal because they would only need to access it if the sewer line needed to be repaired or maintained. We totally understand this but have run into a big problem.

Once a month, we come home to ruts & tire tracks (pickup truck width or so) running along the easement through our yard. They are apparently mowing, as the property on either side of the yard have the easement mowed --- clearly they are using our yard as a thruway to mow both parts of the easement. They are not mowing our yard as we keep it mowed anyway below the height of the easement grass, but the repeated driving on our yard has created some big ruts and ruined sod.

Are they really allowed to drive their trucks/mowers through our yard (which does not need mowed or otherwise maintained) to mow sections of the easement not actually on our yard? Do we have any recourse for having them fix the ruts & ruined sod?

Thanks for any and all advice.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:13 PM
 
718 posts, read 2,666,441 times
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I would call the town and ask. Seems like they do have a right since they need to be able to get to the easment. Doesn't hurt to call and ask and get the info straight from the town.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
3,148 posts, read 6,966,747 times
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Yes, call and verify but I know first hand that they do have the right since legally it is their land. Another bummer is you are responsible to fix any damage.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:26 PM
 
836 posts, read 3,098,230 times
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So are the ruts in the easement only, or are they putting ruts in other parts of your yard to get to the easement?

ANd the advice to complain to the City are good. Even if it was allowed, I would think there was some requirement to take "reasonable care" to not do damage to your yard.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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While it may be within their right to drive through the easement area in the middle of your yard, I would think that there has to be a better access point for them to use. Is the easement in your yard the only access point from the road? A sewer easement will have to run to the road at some point where the sewer line connects to the main.

I would call the city and explain the situation. Chances are there is a less intrusive way the city can be dealing with this.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:20 PM
 
7,699 posts, read 12,871,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaNC View Post
So are the ruts in the easement only, or are they putting ruts in other parts of your yard to get to the easement?

.
That is the part I don't get. Are they staying on easement area or cutting across your yard to get to the easement. There must be other ways to
get to the easement. I would think they could not cut through your yard.
I am thinking of other issues like safety for kids and pets that may be in the yard. You should not have to worry that your kids or pets playing
in your yard are going to get run over by trucks and mowers.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:46 PM
 
108 posts, read 493,205 times
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I would think they should only be allowed on the easement, not on your property. A few well placed hazards, or shall we say landscaping, only on your property - not in the easement area - might deter them from wrecking your yard....
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:07 PM
 
23 posts, read 52,438 times
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Thanks for all your replies.

The easement technically runs diagonally from the side yard through the backyard. The vacant property to our side & behind us have the easement as well and the mowers/trucks seem to be riding on the easement area in our yard to get to the "unimproved" easement area on the other properties. The ruts are definitely following the easement, so it's not like they are 4-wheeling all over the yard, but we still have 2 100- foot-long tire ruts running through our lawn that was just sodded.

They really could get to the easement from other locations, I would think. Our yard is really in the middle of it....I think they are doing it out of convenience for not having to go around --- I guess they figure a 100 foot cut-through on someone's yard is totally fine if it means they don't have to go around.

We do worry about the safety of our dog (we don't have kids) and that is a good point to bring up to them above and beyond the ruining of our yard. They did actually run over our croquet set that we had out, so I would assume they would probably do the same to any landscaping, although we could certainly give that a try.

We really didn't think that this easement was going to be a problem. Our last property actually had several easements but we never had a problem (then again, our property was surrounded by other developed property, unlike this one, so there was never any reason for them to have to maintain the actual easement as folks were mowing it for them). If we had known that we were going to have to deal with this every month, we probably would have chosen a different lot!
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
2,408 posts, read 9,674,763 times
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It sounds like there may be some confusion as to the definition of an easement. As a property owner, you own the land where the easement is running. An easement allows another person the right to use your land for a specific purpose. So, while the easement is technically part of your yard, the city does have right to access it.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:42 AM
 
7,699 posts, read 12,871,509 times
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Here is link to a city newsletter with some sewer easement info.
It also has a contact number for questions about the easements.
Apparently you cannot put anything across the easement that would block access. If you have a fence it has to have a gate across the easement.


http://www.raleighnc.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_103789_0_0_18/AtYourService-2007-09_10-Edition2.pdf (broken link)
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