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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    2

    Default Does the General Public Have Right to Access My Private Easement

    My question involves an easement in the state of:Minnesota

    I live at the end of a long Township road with only one access. My neighbor and I share an access easement 30' on either side of our adjoining property (totaling 60'). The Deed to the property states the 'Grantor', in this case the Township, has access to the easement. The initial intent of the easement was to provide a seconday vehicular road in case of emergencies for fire/ambulance service. Currently, there is no road, and the property sits partially wooded, and I have grown grass on my side.

    Ever since I moved in in 2009 the nieghbors have been cutting through my property. After initial attempts to ask the neighbors to not enter my property, I said enough with the overflow of traffic and blocked the trail. After continued use and ignoring my requests, I posted "No Trespassing" signs. The other neighbors petitioned the Town Board to build a public walking/biking/fourwheeling trail through the easement.

    Does the Township have the right to allow the general public access to my private property and use the easement? The Deed specifically states access is granted for the Township, no where does it say the general public.

    Am I liable to personal injury lawsuit if the trail if built and a neighbor breaks an ankle? Since the trail is legally my private property?

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,583

    Default Re: Does the General Public Have Right to Access My Private Easement

    I live at the end of a long Township road with only one access.
    That sounds like a public right of way.

    The initial intent of the easement was to provide a secondary vehicular road in case of emergencies for fire/ambulance service.
    Is that in writing somewhere? If not, how will a court infer intent?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    165

    Default Re: Does the General Public Have Right to Access My Private Easement

    Right, what LandSurveyor said. When the easement was granted, what was the language? Does it specifically say for emergency access or was it an easement for public use?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    2

    Default Re: Does the General Public Have Right to Access My Private Easement

    The exact wording on the deed to the property is as follows: "Subject to an access easement affecting the westerly 30' of premises being reserved by the Grantor for itself and assigns." The Grantor in this case is the Township.

    No where does it say emergency access, public use, road, etc. The Town Board verbally told me their intent when plotting the subdivision was a future road if the situation arises, but I do not see any language that supports that in the legal description.

    I've had a few neighbors tell me it is a Right of Way owned by the Township and they can walk on it if they want to. Which it is not! Right of Way is no where listed on the deed. Under the easement, am I correct in saying the only access permitted is by the Township as an entity? Not the general public? I even went to the extent of calling the County Attorney, and he
    affirmed it is legally my property, but the Township has access to it.

    If I wanted to, could I legally build a fence enclosing my yard with a locked gate and give the "Township" a key for access and exclude the general public? Does the Township as the grantor have the right to give access to the general public?

    Thank you for your time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,583

    Default Re: Does the General Public Have Right to Access My Private Easement

    "Subject to an access easement affecting the westerly 30' of premises being reserved by the Grantor for itself and assigns."
    I'm not seeing any language limiting it in the way you interpret. The township has reserved all access easement rights whatever to itself. It's going to be up to you to get it released back to you or changed. Understand that "Township" = "public" and that is likely the entity.

    The Town Board verbally told me their intent when plotting the subdivision was a future road if the situation arises, but I do not see any language that supports that in the legal description.
    Whatever they told you verbally is possibly of no consequence. In real estate matters, rights granted must almost invariably be in writing. What has been granted (reserved) in writing by the township provides no real limits on what they want to do regarding the access easement, including opening it up as a roadway. If you want to gate it and lock it, you should get township permission first, in writing, otherwise you might be faced with a charge of trespass on the easement.

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