My question involves an easement in the state of: ARKANSAS
My purpose here is preliminary information-gathering. The property in question belongs to my parents, who reside only a few miles away from its location. Anticipating retirement in the mid-1980s, my Dad purchased this 46 acre block in Independence County. It is undeveloped, rural land. His intent was to one day build a nice cabin there, a getaway in the woods, for the two of them. Those plans were derailed due to health issues. He has since sold some timber off it, but otherwise it is undisturbed.
The information I have is based on conversations with my Mom & Dad. The only "legal" document I have personally seen is the publicly produced plat map. The parcel is surrounded on three sides (North, West, & South) by one owner, and on the remaining side (East) by another owner. The neighbor to the East is a single family. The neighbor to the North, West, & South is an institution - approximately 1500 acres that is owned and managed by a nearby College [university] as a Camp - a lovely spot beneath the bluffs there. I'm not sure exactly how far back this College/Camp situation goes, but I can tell you that I was a camper there as a kid some 45 years ago, and it had already been there quite awhile before that.
The closest county road access point, and by far the easiest way in, is approximately one mile South. My Dad knew [of course] it was landlocked when he purchased it, but felt certain he would be able to work something out for access/right of way. According to him, there is no easement or right-of-way language in his deed or sales contract. Several years ago, he contacted County officials, and they agreed to build an access road from the nearest county road to the South mentioned above. He then met with representatives from the College to work out the right of way, since the road would run across their property. They agreed to allow the county to build the road, but they added stipulations on my Dad which were cost-prohibitive. The stipulations included a locked gate at each end, plus fence along both sides of the road (roughly 2 miles of fencing). My Dad asked for their reasoning or justification, but the College did not elaborate. My Dad refused to sign off on these stipulations, ending the process. As far as I know, there has been no other contact with the College on this issue in the years since.
My question to experienced legal minds on this matter concerns the stipulations imposed on my Dad. The county agreeing to build the road was huge, and was in fact the obstacle my Dad figured would be the most difficult. When they agreed to do it, he thought it would be relatively simple to gain permission from the College, never anticipating their added requirements. There has never been, at least since the time my Dad purchased his land, any fencing along this route across the College property. There is no livestock nor farming-related activity, other than a large meadow which may be cut for hay.
Is it reasonable for the College to impose/require such a thing when they have obviously not deemed it necessary for themselves? If my Dad were interested in challenging such a requirement, say agreeing to build the locked gates at each end, but not the lengthy fence, do you think a judge would support that?
Thanks for any general advice,