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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Question Gates To Be Placed Across Existing Easement

    I live in WA. state, Spokane County. for the past 35yrs. we have had unrestricted ingress and egress to our home. A new person moved in up the road and sent a notice he intends to place an access gate on each end of his property. These gates will cross the existing road easment. This would require 3 handicapped people to exit thier vehicle 4 times upon coming or going. In addition he intends to provide everyone that lives along the easment keys to locks he intends to install. This would be physically impossible in the winter and early spring when the road is muddy. My question is whether he has a right to gate an existing easment? If he does gate it does that not make him responsible for any person that may become injured from stopping to open or close such a gate? How are we to provide keys to lets say UPS, The Postal Service, The fuel delivery truck, friends and family? Can you tell me if it is legal to fence an easment? The verbage on the easment does not say you can't fence it, nor does it say you can. It does say the property is to be used for normal ingress and egress. thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    My opinion is that in this instance a gate would unreasonably interfere with your and others rights to use the easement. I'd feel pretty comfortable that you would prevail in court. Generally, the land owner(servient tenement) cannot fence or interfere with the easement.

    Unfortunately though, you may have to get a lawyer to help enforce your rights if he installs or tries to install the gate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    Thankyou for the reply so quickly, my name is Jack, can you tell me this, would I get in any trouble by taking down the gate? I am asking because the person does not live on the property yet, so far he has managed to cut our phone lines, put a fence line down my sister in law's piece of ground and generally make a once nice ingress and egress road a mud wallow. He has yet to pound one piece of wood for a house or try to bring one in, which I think is an impossibility due to the narrowness of the road. By the way, if an easment has a 15ft. setback fromt he center of the road, he has no where to put a post for a gate, unless you can hang it in mid air. It is my understanding you cannot dig up an easment to install a post.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    I ccouldn't honestly say if you'd get in any trouble or not. I know in my neck of the woods that if someone blocked someones ROW with a gate they'd probably rip it out with a truck and chain and leave it in a pile on the guy's doorstep. But my area, northern NH, isn't civilized by most people's standards.

    How did he turn the ROW into a mud pit?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    Hey Buzz, we have half of a sippy-hole here right now, it would not take much for the old snow plow to knock something down when the brakes failed, not my fault it would be close to a gate.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    Gate? What gate?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Smile Re: Gates To Be Placed Accross Existing Easment

    Gotta go, thank you so much for your help. I will let you know the outcome, my sisterin-law is going in to the Gate persons attorney in the am to show what a feeble idea they have, complete with 6ft. high snow that had to be plowed all winter to the point that only a car could get through, nothing like a pick up or anything with duals, hell, he wants to place a gate at the top of the steepest hill on this road, I cannot imagine a person being able to get out on the ice, open the gate, hope for any traction to drive through it then get out and close it, I am sure someone would get hurt and whoever put up the gate would be liable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Across Existing Easement

    Quote Quoting Jack Burns
    View Post
    Gotta go, thank you so much for your help. I will let you know the outcome, my sisterin-law is going in to the Gate persons attorney in the am to show what a feeble idea they have, complete with 6ft. high snow that had to be plowed all winter to the point that only a car could get through, nothing like a pick up or anything with duals, hell, he wants to place a gate at the top of the steepest hill on this road, I cannot imagine a person being able to get out on the ice, open the gate, hope for any traction to drive through it then get out and close it, I am sure someone would get hurt and whoever put up the gate would be liable.
    We are going to attorney that sent letter about gates, you would think she would send map showing where gates would go, no such luck, I found old recorded easment, says 30ft. wide with 15ft. on either side, to be used for ingress, egress and utility easment. Guess someone did not notice utility part, how would a utility company get a key for a gate? Gate? what gate? see ya buzz

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Across Existing Easement

    Given that the easement is shared/used by many residences on a daily basis I doubt you'll have a problem prevailing in this matter. Unreasonable interference would be a very strong legal argument in this situation - that residents and others such as police, fire, first aid, USPS, utility company, guests, etc, rightfully entitled to use the easement would have to, with no express or historical basis, both possess keys and exit their vehicles to operate gates is pretty absurd.

    Given that he has sent you written notice, I think I might take a trip to the local courthouse with that letter (along with those received by other affected resident), along with a copy of the easement/deed(s), and see if you can petition to get a preliminary injunction / TRO issued. The court clerk should be able to help you with the paper work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Gates To Be Placed Across Existing Easement

    Did I mention that both myself and my wife have permanent disability stickers from the state and would have no problem getting a letter from a dr. My sister in law is going into the attorney's office with this information this am and instructing them that we will not allow any sort of gate to be placed on the easment. I looked at his property, there is no where he can place a post that would not be on the easment itself. I don;t think he can do that. He is just a north end of a south bound horse, for what reason I do not know. I can tell you this, from now on he had better have a permit for everything he does and explain why he has not fixed the easment where it goes into his property, the sippy-hole if you will, was caused by him bringing in tuck loads of gravel for his private drive.

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