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  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    My question involves an easement in the state of:Pennsylvania
    I own property abutting an abandoned township road which passes through two other parcels whose owners claim it is theirs because they have an easement in their deed and I don't. The township couldn't give me information if the road was vacated. Does the adjacent and abutting properties have use of this road? A recent survey showed it to be a 50' common right of way. Could this survey be enough evidence in court that I also have the right to use this road along with them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    On the recent survey you mentioned it should show which lots own the land under the ROW. Either it's you and your neighbors have an easement across it or it belongs to them and the easement they mentioned is for someone else to use the ROW(you?).

    What does the survey as far as the lot lines in relation to the road?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    The R of W clearly passes through their lot lines. I have County, State Highway, & US Army Corps of Engineer maps showing the road, one back as far as 1860. It seems to me it is an abandond township road since they do not maintain it. Does this mean it is theirs even though it is listed as a 50' Common R of W? Does the right to use an abandond township road revert to adjacent and abutting land owners not just those through which it passes? I've been searching the statutes and can't seem to locate the law on this matter. Any help will be appreciated.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    they own what their deed says they own. You own what your deed says you own.


    You have two things going on here the you need to describe:

    you stated other property owners have an easement

    there is a public ROW.

    who owns the land under the ROW

    the other's easement is for what? are they the servient or dominant tenants of the easement? If dominant, who is the servient tenant? If they are the servient, who is the dominant tenant,



    and just because there is a ROW for a road, it doesn't mean the municipality is or has exercised their rights granted by that ROW. If they haven't, then it is not open to the public. Just because it is on a map doesn't mean it is claimed as an actual road by the municipality involved.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    1.
    who owns the land under the ROW
    I assume the twp did and since they have abandond it, the public does. I don't really know. Since it is a common R of W doesn't it run with the land no matter who owns it?

    2.
    Just because it is on a map doesn't mean it is claimed as an actual road by the municipality involved.
    I know at one time it was an actual twp. road so doesn't the adjacent owners have the right to use it once the county abandons it no matter who owns it?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    j404ski;657177]1.I assume the twp did and since they have abandond it, the public does. I don't really know. Since it is a common R of W doesn't it run with the land no matter who owns it?
    If it was a ROW, the township didn't own the property to begin with and as such, if and when it is abandoned, it does not become public property. A ROW is basically an easement held by the municipality over private land to provide for the creation and use of a road. If the municipality abandons a ROW over private land, the control of the land reverts back to the actual owner of the land.

    and there is no assuming anything in these situations. Land records are available to show and prove who owns the land.

    2.
    I know at one time it was an actual twp. road so doesn't the adjacent owners have the right to use it once the county abandons it no matter who owns it?
    no. There are several situations concerning roads and perceived abandonment and actual abandonment.


    It sounds like you need to research the situation much more so you know the facts of the situation. THen you can figure out if you have any rights to use the roadway or not.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    I looked up the deed to the adjacent property of mine which states "Subject to the rights of others to the use of a 50' wide common right of way through the above described parcel" . Also in another section it states "Also granting a ROW 50' in width for the purpose of ingress and egress to be used in common with others". Even if they own the land under the ROW don't I have use under these clauses and if not why are they repeated in the chain of title?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    Even if they own the land under the ROW don't I have use under these clauses and if not why are they repeated in the chain of title?
    Others is simply a non-descriptive term meaning to refer to any other that has been granted rights by a grant of easement. Does your deed specify you have rights to use the easement?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    Others is simply a non-descriptive term meaning to refer to any other that has been granted rights by a grant of easement.
    Is this the generally accepted legal definition or your own interpretation? If these clauses don't pertain to me as an "other" than I guess I will have to sell the property since this is the only currently available access I have.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Who Owns an Abandoned Township Road

    Quote Quoting j404ski
    View Post
    Is this the generally accepted legal definition or your own interpretation? If these clauses don't pertain to me as an "other" than I guess I will have to sell the property since this is the only currently available access I have.
    It is a fact whether you want to consider it a legal definition or my own interpretation. Unless you have been granted rights to use an easement, you simply have no rights to use the easement.


    Before giving up, I would research this further. Since there is definitely an easement, how do you know you aren't one of the others? Especially since you state there is no other access, there is often a possibility of forcing an easement upon another property. If that is possible and who might be subject to such an action would vary on why the property does not have access to a public roadway.


    the only currently available access I have
    what does "currently available" access mean? Is there another way to get to your property from a public roadway or not?

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