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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    10

    Default Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Washington

    First some background:
    The water district was granted a 200'x 200' easment on our property for a water storage tank. They were also granted a roadway easement for the purpose of engree/egress to the storatge tank. This road includes the first 70' of what is now our driveway before it branches off toward their tank.

    Our subdivision was created in 1999. A new easement was written to include utility easement along the 16' road easement. They also have a 20' turnaround area contiguous to Grantee's property.

    We purchased the property in 2004 and were aware of these easements

    The problem:
    The water district has decided to erect a "utility pole" off the edge of the road just after the road branches off of our driveway. Measuring from the pole to the other side of the road is 18' which is beyond the easement width of 16'. This is also before the 20' turnaround.

    I have contacte the water district and they referred me to paragraph 13 which states "The easements provided here in shall at all times be left clear and unblocked, for the use of Grantee for purposes of access to the District's reservoir and use in functioning of the reservoir site"

    Can the water district construct anything along a roadway that is also a utility easement? Does a utility easement give them the freedom to do whatever they want? I also need to figure out where exactly the roadway easement is to see if they are in fact off of the 16' easement.

    Is there anything I can do?

    I will be going before the board of directors to state my case.

    Thanks,

    Larry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    The utility pole is on whose land?

    If yours, what is the exact granting language of the easement?

    If not yours, what does the owner of the land have to say about this situation?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    The utility pole has been installed an my land.

    The Orignal easement was just for ingress/egress only on a 16' wide roadway.

    The easement was mofified when the development was built to include utilities. The exact wording of the latest easement is:

    " These easements are granted and reserved for roadway purposes and for ingress/egress and utilities to and from Grantee's property to Starr Road and West Newman lake Drive."

    "The easements provided here in shall at all times be left clear and unblocked for the use of Grantee for purposes of access to the Districts reservoir site and use in the functioning of the reservoir site"

    There isn't much else to the easement.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,576

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    The easement language you have quoted does not give the utility the right to place anything off the limits of their easement.

    "The easements provided here in shall at all times be left clear and unblocked for the use of Grantee for purposes of access to the Districts reservoir site and use in the functioning of the reservoir site"
    This language simply means that you cannot park, store things on the easement, or place anything that would interfere with their use for the stated purpose.

    It sounds to me as if they are just trying to blow this past you. Of course they can always say that the pole is on the easement, and then a survey will be required to settle that issue.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    Thanks for the quick response.

    If the pole is in fact on the 16' roadway, can they still construct something on the roadway? It doesn't impede my ability to get to my house as it is on the road just as it branches off of my driveway. However it could impede their ability to get to their tank.

    Is there a legal definition of what "utility easement" as it is written in this easement" means? Does it give them rights to install whatever they want as long as it is on the roadway easement? I read it as an easement for them to install water lines or bring in power/gas/etc from the development since the utility easement was added when the development was built. But i am the landowner and of course I would read it as restrictive as possible.

    I am sure the utlilty reads it as something different.

    Thanks,

    Larry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,576

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    If the pole relates to a utility (we are assuming it is a power pole but that is unclear) and it is on the easement, it would be permitted.

    Does it give them rights to install whatever they want as long as it is on the roadway easement?
    Probably not. I doubt that they would be allowed to add, say, a pump station outside of their 200' x 200' easement.

    As the easement does not appear to be "exclusive" you are not prevented from using it for your own purposes as long as you do not interfere with rights of the easement holder.

    As with any contract, courts are going to look at easement documents and look to the plain language in them to determine the intent of the parties. Utility easements have been around for a long time and there are few surprises left. But your mileage may vary. In my years of utility work I have never known a utility in my area of the midwest to take a 200' x 200' easement for a facility. They would invariably take it as a long term leasehold and send you a check once a year. So take my comments with that in mind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    10

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    Quote Quoting LandSurveyor
    View Post
    If the pole relates to a utility (we are assuming it is a power pole but that is unclear) and it is on the easement, it would be permitted. .

    The pole is for an antenna. They are running wiring to the pole from thet storage tank area. So it is not a power pole.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,576

    Default Re: Water District Utility and Roadway Easement Use

    Sounds like utility use to me. If it is on the easement, you can take them to court claiming it is a facility related to the 200' square facility easement and not provided for under the ingress egress and utility access easement. $20,000 or so later you will find out if you win or lose.

    If the pole is off of the easement, well, we have already addressed that situation.

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