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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    4

    Default Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    I've been having a problem with dog owners (of the inconsiderate calling card kind) and kids using the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street for less than friendly activities. I have to maintain it per the city. The closing paperwork shows a city and utility easement versus right of way. I work hard to maintain it in top condition which helps the area look nice and show pride of ownership of the property.

    The city mgr says the following:

    The strip of grass/land between the sidewalk and the street is part of the public right of way dedicated to the City of Mustang as the addition is planned and developed. In addition we require that area to be maintained under our ordinances. Public space is a necessary component to orderly community growth, and the police officer(s) were correct when they told you a trespass violation was not in committed. I understand your frustration with certain pet owners, but other than leash laws our ordinances do not currently govern this issue.
    I don't quite understand how the use of the property by any Tom, Dick, or Harriet in the neighborhood walking a dog could or should have the right to use the area as their dog's toilet or how the city would or could see it (in a planned and platted community) as a public space component to orderly community growth. What growth? The strip is of little use to any other residents other than to use for their dogs and/or as a short cut to cross the street. Public parks and/or open space should be designated for that kind of use not what is included in a homeowners property by deed (still researching that one). There are sufficient sidewalks, ramps, and driveways available to avoid using the strip of grass for the purpose of a shortcut.

    Any suggestions, thoughts, or advice??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    You say its a strip "you have to maintain", but you don't indicate whether or not it is part of your property. Is it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    You say its a strip "you have to maintain", but you don't indicate whether or not it is part of your property. Is it?
    according to the deed and drawing provided me at closing it shows the strip as part of the parcel but that a utility easement is granted.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    Then they're asking you to maintain it because it is your land.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    Then they're asking you to maintain it because it is your land.
    I spoke with several departments in our city (police/code enforcement) and they say there is a 25 ft "public" easement extending from the middle of the street. My recorded deed says it's oil, gas, and utility easements which I wouldn't think would transfer to the general public at large. The code enforcement office rep says that there is nothing written about it in the ordinances either allowing or preventing any of the neighbors from using/walking on the strip area (grass area between the sidewalk and curb) at their leisure and that it's a civil matter. They will only act upon a complaint if they are in my yard past the supposed 25ft public easement.
    I have no problem with the general public using the sidewalk through what the deed shows as my property, I do indeed have a problem with them on the areas of the property I must maintain. What are my options here?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,376

    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    You live on a 50' street. It's all dedicated public right of way and the dedication is probably on your recorded subdivision plat. Other easements for other purposes may exist in it. In theory, you own to the middle of the street but you are subject to a public right of way in that entire 25 feet.

    The street would have to abandoned and legally vacated in order for the right of way to go away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    4

    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    My city manager called and he said that there is nothing written other than general law that grants it so I guess as far as the strip goes it's fair game for any of the neighbors to do as they please and I would have to proceed with civil litigation if they cause damage. I guess I should have bought a place in the country...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,376

    Default Re: Public Usage of a Utility Easement in Oklahoma

    On my street, we deal with it as a littering issue. Littering is not a civil issue here but is illegal by city ordinance. All of the dog walkers here now carry a bag.

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