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Utilities & Roads

War Stories

Road wars are probably the biggest hassle we've been through, and it was all because of one family!

Here's the rest of the story...

When an extra heavy rain season washed out the only culvert over the creek, one family decided that what the road association was doing wasn't enough for them. They threatened to sue. That's when legal council advised us to disband the road association and we did.  

A couple of years later, when speeding became such an issue (just guess who the worst offenders were??!!!), one family who had the longest straight away installed speed bumps ... with the approval of the majority of homeowners in residence (there are a lot of vacant parcels here). 

Well this now notorious family that decided they didn't care about democratically made decisions, brought in a tractor and scrapped them off. 

Next, they decided the trees along that portion of the road should be cut down because they took some personal vendetta against the property owners (remember, everything was done by majority vote).

Luckily the property owners were there the day the tree service came out to start cutting and they were stopped (no one has the right to remove anything on an easement across your property as long as it doesn't impede their ingress and egress). 

When the next round of floods came, the property owners had to install drainage ditches across the road to protect their property. And again, guess who raised a stink (again, the drainage ditches were approved by the majority of resident owners). 

To make a long story short, these idiots (I'm loathe to say they were proud that he was a "Professor" at one of the local universities -- I kept wondering what kind of rotten values he might be passing on to unsuspecting kids!) made the whole thing end in court at a cost of about $3500 and we still do not have a permanent resolution to the problem ... ugh. 

But, we felt like we had to set a precedence or we'd just get trampled by others of their ilk.      

Roads 

Ah.... my favorite subject! And one that cost us (the authors of this site) over $3500 in legal fees recently... the roads.

Sometimes you get to name your own roads out here like we did with Art & Science. Ric is a fine artist who "paints with pixels". It seemed appropriate.

It seems that many people who move here don't understand what an easement across a property allows them. Since none of us is a lawyer, we've commissioned an area attorney to address these issues.

But before he gets to the legal stuff, we'll clue you in on a few things as well. Speeding on our private roads has been such an issue, that we (this "we" will be addressed in a moment) have stopped maintaining the roads. When pot holes appear -- they stay. When the ditches get clogged and make the water run across the road, we ignore it. When the culvert gets clogged and causes the stream to flood (it's pretty well washed out the road a couple of times) we, unfortunately must clear it because it floods one of our properties as well. When I say "unfortunately", I mean that we'd just as soon let the road get worse... it keeps speeding neighbors and outsiders moving at a reasonable pace.

Why, you might ask, are we so adamant about the speed issue? Well there are several reasons:

one of the neighbor's dogs was hit by a speeding car and it cost $1700 to get it's pelvis screwed back together.

one of their (same neighbor) exotic pheasants they raised to simply add a new "wonder" to the neighborhood for everyone's enjoyment, was hit and killed

children play on their property with more abandon because they're in the country

homes that are close to the roads get filled with dust from speeding vehicles (if you can see dust behind you you're going too fast) 

the road gravel used originally to lay down on many of these roads contains asbestos, a known carcinogen

cars speeding on dirt roads cause more road damage, and no one seems to be willing to help with the repairs

last but not least... it's just plain rude and selfish. It doesn't take into account why the people who have allowed the easement to cross their property, live in the country in the first place, and I can guarantee you, it's not to be harassed by people from the city who don't care!

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Road Maintenance

That gets us back to the "we" I mentioned earlier. Over the years we've found that there are only about four households who help with road maintenance while all the others enjoy the benefits of our hard work. 

Because we're living on private roads, those who share the easement are supposed to share in the burden of cost to keep them in repair. You might wonder why we don't simply "donate them to the county" so they will maintain them. Simply.. that defeats our purpose. Not only would we have to bring them up to county code (a VERY expensive prospect), but it would encourage speeders (because the roads would be wider) and more traffic. 

There used to be a "road association" here but it was disbanded when we were threatened by a lawsuit and found that each separate property owner who was part of the association could be putting their own property in jeopardy. In other words, if we were sued and lost, they could put a lien on each property until a judgment was paid in full.  Read the "road wars" story at the right for more on this subject. 

Now for the legalities from an area attorney.

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Legal Issues

Coming soon.... please check back for the attorney's version, but for now, here's what we know... or think we know. Always check with your own attorney before taking action, however.

If you have a road easement across your property, easement holders have a right to pass ONLY! 

They cannot alter or "improve" the road without the property owners approval. 

They cannot remove trees, shrubs or other vegetation along the road. 

They cannot use the entire easement (it may be wider than the road itself to accommodate power, telephone lines, etc.) but must confine themselves to the road.

Speeders can lose their rights to pass via a restraining order. Document times of their passage, a description of the driver, the license number, and how and when you notify them they're in violation of the speed limit.

You can install speed bumps, ditches, gates, etc. to control speeders, along as the easement holders can still pass. If you install a gate, easement holders have to be able to pass through, but you can leave it closed and make them open it each time they pass.

You should post speed limit signs at every entrance to your private roads to cement your case.

If someone performs a repair or improvement on a private road, they can be held liable if that repair or improvement causes someone to get into an accident.

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