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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Virginia

    We recently sold our house (early June closing in mid Aug) in order to purchase a lot to build new house on. The plat drawings with which we designed the house on do not show a utility device within the lotís dimensions. These two separate plat drawings are dated 5 and 28 May. The realty company represents us selling our house and buying the new lot. The realty company is also part of the development company that owns the lot we put a down payment on to purchase.
    We have asked the development company to relocate the utility device at their cost ($15K) and they refused stating that we saw the device on the lot (the utility device will be located approx. three feet from the main stairs to the house, and approx. 10 feet from the front door). There is a major construction phase currently underway all around the lot in question. There have even been changes to the lotís dimensions that are not the same as what we had designed the house plans on. We believed the device would be moved during this phase of construction since it was never identified on any plat drawings provided by our architect and the companyís architect (same person).
    Now that we have sold our house, we cannot just pull the plug on the whole effort and get back our down payment.
    Is there any recourse (even if through litigation) to force the development company to relocate the utility device?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,584

    Default Re: How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    Is there any recourse (even if through litigation) to force the development company to relocate the utility device?
    Certainly. A visit with a local real estate attorney might easily develop any valid solutions.

    We believed the device would be moved during this phase of construction since it was never identified on any plat drawings provided by our architect and the company’s architect (same person).
    Did anyone from the development company lead you to this belief?

    What is the utility device specifically?

    Were the lot dimensions changed after you were in contract for the lot?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,989

    Default Re: How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    Do the plats that you saw show any utility easements on the property? Do you know how far onto your lot the ROW extends from the center of the road and is this utility box within that ROW? How far from the curb is the box?

    Does this new development have underground utilities like phone, power, cable? The utility box may be your connection point for all these utilities and has to be somewhere for you to connect.

    Is your lot on a corner where there is a traffic light? The box may be the control center for the light. Find out exactly what that utility box is.

    Maybe consider saving yourself a lot of heartache and plant some shrubs to hid it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    The device is a backflow preventer. It is not located within the lot on the plat drawings. It is too close to the sidewalk to hide with shrubs (approx 3 inches).
    We had a down payment on the lot, not a contract for the lot. We did have a contract (and sell) f

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry...
    We did have a contract and sold our house. them found out the backflow would not be moved. No one officially said it would be moved, but informal discussions lead us to believe it. The was compounded when the house design drawings didn't show it (or any utilities) on the lot. The backflow device is for the neighborhood irrigation system.
    Hope that answers all.
    Thanks - Sterno

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,989

    Default Re: How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    If the backflow preventer is for the neighborhood irrigation system and it is not in a granted easement or in the ROW and does not specifically service your lot, then it has no place being there.

    You should be talking to your closing attorney or a real estate attorney if you want to get it moved and you want to go ahead with the closing.

    It sounds like way too much money ($15K) to move a backflow preventer on a water line that is for irrigation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,584

    Default Re: How to Get a Utility to Relocate a Utility Box From Our Front Yard

    Do the plats that you saw show any utility easements on the property?
    She said that they were architect plans, probably marked "sketch plan" "site plan" etc and not surveyors plats. Architects are not expected or licensed to be able to research easements or titles. It's unfortunately common, however, for people to assume that a "sketch plan" or whatever which has an architect's seal is equivalent to a surveyor's plat.

    If I were the OP I would contact an irrigation contractor or two and get some estimates for the actual cost of moving the device. That sort of information might be valuable.

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