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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Storm Water Easement and Storm Water Runoff

    My question involves an easement in the state of:New Jersey

    My proposerty has a storm water easement (since 1957 - the first 15' from the side property line) though the storm drain was not installed. Outside of the easement, there is a ditch that runs parallel to the easement. Water is fed to the ditch from a storm water pipe on a neighbors property. The water leaves the ditch at a storm drain in the street in front of my property on town land.

    I am a new owner to the property (~ 1 year). The ditch seems to never have been maintained and shows significant erosion. So much so that a 50 ft oak tree has had its root system undercut and fallen down. This tree is in the ditch but not in the easement.

    I have contacted the town. They say that I am responsible for the removal of the tree but they will fix the erosion issue with the ditch. I would like the town to pay for both the tree removal and the ditch erosion.

    I believe that the towns lack of maintenance of the ditch caused the tree to fall down.

    Any suggestions as a plausible argument to get the town to pay for the tree removal?

    My one idea is that the ditch is the real easment that the town is using for storm water control, not their easement. I think that they should either 1) install a storm water pipe in the easement (not preferred by me) or 2) maintain the ditch including the damage done to the trees since they have been operating this way for 50 years.

    Any alternative ideas?

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

    Default Re: Storm Water Easement and Storm Water Runoff

    Should we assume that this is your tree on your property? I very much doubt you're going to find a way to pass the duty to maintain and, when necessary, remove the tree off on the city. Trying to prove that they didn't fulfill their duties, that the problem with the tree was proximately caused by that neglect, and that they have no sovereign immunity against your claim sounds like it would be a frustrating, uphill process that may end up costing you considerably more in time and legal expenses than tree removal, even if you prevail. You may want to consult a local property lawyer with a survey (if you have one), the easement's granting language, and your evidence (e.g., a statement from an arborist) that the city's lack of maintenance of the ditch caused the problem with the tree.

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