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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Closing Off a Private Road

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Michigan

    I live in subdivision on a privately maintained road that was surveyed for a 66 feet easement for all individuals for access to their property. One neighbor that lives on this access and their property also along the access to the Court (with is also surveyed at 66 feet for an easement to three of the properties) of the main easement is calling the police constantly on the other neighbors for trespassing across their access along the Court. They are telling the police that they have grass planted along their section of the Court and that it is being torn up by people using that road.

    Just lately one of the neighbors was picking berries (with permission of the landowner) along the Court and they came out yelling that they were calling the police that he was trespassing on their road.

    It seems that they are attempting to close of the three properties located along the Court. They have put up stakes and state that it is to protect the grass they are growing and that this area along the road is part of their yard.

    Can they close off or claim that portion of the Court (road)?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Closing Off a Private Road

    It's a little hard to visualize exactly what you are saying, but, in general terms, no, they can not take over an access easement. It is for the benefit of all property owners, and no one owner can prevent any of the others from using it.

    If there is a designated area for driving, such as an obvious dirt or gravel road, and then a grass area flanking it on both sides, then driving on the grass might be a different story. Maybe, maybe not. It would certainly be a non-neighborly thing to do.

    Stephen Calder Land Surveyor, not a Lawyer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Closing Off a Private Road

    I would appreciate it if you would answer the following questions:

    1. Is there a physical road (i.e. asphalt or gravel, etc.) located in the easement? Or is there merely the easement itself with no road?

    2. Where exactly is this grass you are referring to? Is it on the edge or slightly into the easement, or is it in the middle of the road?

    3. Does the presence of the grass prevent people from driving to or otherwise accessing their parcel(s)?

    No offense, but your post is poorly written and difficult to completely understand.

    My assumption based upon what you have written is that the neighbors recently had new loam and seed or turf installed, possibly inside the easement. They appear to be attempting to protect it so it can have a chance to take hold. In this case, I would side with the neighbors on this one, since it appears the stakes are merely temporary. Planting grass can get expensive, so if it were me I'd have a big problem with people walking over it before it firmed up.

    Easement law, especially in the case of private easements, can get tricky. More information is needed before I can comment on that, so I'd appreciate it if you could answer questions 1-3

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Closing Off a Private Road

    1. There is a road with gravel. It is listed by the county as a privately maintained road. Anyone can see the lay out of the road edges.

    2. The grass was planted within those road edges. Since the planting the grass has taken hold on both edges of the road and a few spots in the center. Be advised that the neighbors affected by this come up only a couple times a year.

    3. Does the grass prevent them from driving on it. No, but if they do, the police are called out on a trespass complaint. The police have told them that it is part of the road. But, they still call and complaint every time someone crosses the grass or tries to cut down overhanging tree limbs that hang over the road.

    This is a private road with gravel and snow removal. Not just an easement to someones property.

    Thanks for your time (both) for answering.

    You should note that according to the county surveyor, each property owner gives up 33 feet of road frontage (both side) for this road.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Closing Off a Private Road

    you can't stop them from calling the police. Hopefully the police will grow tired and quit responding. Other than that, use the easement as legally allowed and try to ignore the people trying to close it off.

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