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  1. #1

    Default How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Ohio

    My house was built in 1950. Beside my house is a dead end street that was never put through to the street behind me. The owner that used to live behind me bought their part of the street, because he never wanted the street to go through. We have lived here for 25 years and have taken care of the street. Repaired it when needed and sealed it every other year. We use the street as our drive way. It has never been an issue until our new neighbor moved in.

    This neighbor thinks he should be allowed to drive his car through the grass at the end of the dead end street into his back yard. I've asked him several times not to drive through the grass area. My husband and I have taken care of the grass area for the entire time that we have lived here. Mowing it and keeping it nicely landscaped. The grass area at the end of the dead end street that the neighbor is driving in, is a utility easement/alley across our back yards.

    Out of spite for my family, this neighbor has decided to build a garage facing our dead end street. The Village has granted him a permit to build this garage with the door facing our property. The neighbor has a huge lot with plenty of room to access his garage from the front part of his house. He told the council that he is only building the garage to face our property out of spite for us, because he does not like being told what he can and cannot do.

    We attended a village council meeting where we petitioned for the dead end street that runs along our property to be vacationed to us and the neighbor to our side that abuts up to the street. I was told by the recorders office that the neighbor behind me (the one giving us grief) is not included in the petition because his property does no directly abut against the street in question. It is separated by the utility easement/alley behind us.

    My question is, can I claim the utility easement/alley as adverse possession since we have taken care of it for 25 years? Also if the village decides not to sign over the street to us, can we go to court to get it or is their decision final?

    If they allow the neighbor behind me to use the dead end street as a driveway, can I argue that it will diminish our property value? They will be taking away several areas that we use for parking.

    The neighbor has already told me that he has "disposable income" and if court is where I want to go with it, then he will. At the time his garage has not been started. The village did grant him a permit, but the weather has been terrible in our area. Lucky for me!! Once the garage is started and if the village decides to vacation the street to me, can the neighbor sue me for an easement into his property? Even though he was told there is a chance they may decide in our favor and he may not be able to access his garage from our street?

    Also we had a lilac bush that we planted 23 years ago. It was planted partially on our property and partially on the utility easement/alley. This neighbor tore it out. The Village said that I should not have planted it in the alley. There are several of my neighbors that have gardens in the alley and nothing has been done to them. This neighbor is a bully and has victimized several people in our small village. For some reason he has made my husband and I his current target for his anger. I was just curious to hear any suggestions any of you may have for our situation.

    Unfortunately, my husband and I do not have "disposable income" and have already considered we may end up having to move.

    Thanks for your help. We will be attending a second village council meeting next Monday.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    Even if we were to assume that the village is willing to vacate the street, and even if we further assume that the village is the owner of the "utility easement/alley" such that it could abandon its rights to the alley, its decision to vacate the road and alley would not eliminate your neighbor's rights to use them.
    Quote Quoting O.R.C. Sec. 723.08. Effect of order of vacation.
    The order of a legislative authority of a municipal corporation vacating or narrowing a street or alley which has been dedicated to public use by the proprietor thereof, shall, to the extent to which it is vacated or narrowed, operate as a revocation of the acceptance thereof by the legislative authority, but the right of way and easement therein of any lot owner shall not be impaired by such order.
    When you buy a home that is the servient estate for a public right-of-way or alley, you accept the the risk that somebody is going to use the road or alley for access to their property.

    If this person is bothering multiple neighbors, and they're also concerned about the road and alley, perhaps it's time to pool your resources and consult a lawyer about your options.

  3. #3

    Default

    "In case there is any street or alley not exceeding twenty-five feet in width, running through any block or tract of land purchased or acquired by the United States under section 159.01 of the Revised Code, all that portion of such street or alley within such block or tract of land shall, upon the acquisition of the same by the United States, be vacated and closed, and the lots or tracts of land abutting upon any such street or alley shall extend to the center line thereof, and vest in the United States, and become the property thereof, with full right, power, and authority to use, occupy, and enjoy the same as its own property in fee, to the same extent as if the same had never been used or occupied as a street or alley."
    Wouldn't this apply to the easement/alley across my backyard?

    If we divide up the alley behind us and half goes to him and half to us then he would be unable to use the dead end street as access to his new garage because he would be crossing my property to get there.

    How do I find out who actually owns the property? I went to Recorders office and had them print a plat. On this plat it shows the dead end street and the alley behind our house. The street does not abutt to the alley in back. There is a small piece of grass that comes after the street and before the alley. It's not listed as my property or my neighbors beside me. The Recorder was even confused.

    I have called a few local lawyers last week. One called me back and said they were not familiar enough with property disputes to help me. I have yet to hear from the other one. We are from a very small town, so I'm thinking my choices are pretty limited. If I can't do the work myself, it probably won't happen. As my name says, "mayhavetomove"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    672

    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    Do you have a boundary survey? Some of your answers might be there. If not, a surveyor should be able to answer your questions as to who owns what, and maybe help clarify your rights, or lack there-of. S/he might be able to suggest a competent Real Estate Attorney, as well. Unless you are planning on renting out this property, moving might not be much help. I think you would still have to clear this up before selling. Most buyers don't want to purchase a problem.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    I will call again today on a Lawyer to see if anyone is willing to help us. Thanks for all your suggestions. Hard to believe that someone can be so spiteful and full of revenge and determined to make someone's life such a wreck, just because he is so miserable in his own life! I try to teach my children that bullying never accomplishes anything....I feel like I'm going to be eating those words soon!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    988

    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    Suggestion...again I do NOT know your specifics..but something that worked for others near me.

    The opening of a public street or alley imposed a lot of duties on municipality such as snow removal and fire truck access ..and the local municipality was anxious to avoid any such costs and vacated the ROW for some very modest payments.....

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    I found a lawyer that will take my case! I'm pretty excited...just hope it all works out. Thanks everyone for your input and your time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,341

    Default Re: How to Get a Street or Alley Vacated

    Quote Quoting mayhavetomove
    View Post
    "In case there is any street or alley not exceeding twenty-five feet in width, running through any block or tract of land purchased or acquired by the United States under section 159.01 of the Revised Code, all that portion of such street or alley within such block or tract of land shall, upon the acquisition of the same by the United States, be vacated and closed, and the lots or tracts of land abutting upon any such street or alley shall extend to the center line thereof, and vest in the United States, and become the property thereof, with full right, power, and authority to use, occupy, and enjoy the same as its own property in fee, to the same extent as if the same had never been used or occupied as a street or alley."

    Wouldn't this apply to the easement/alley across my backyard?
    That section you quoted only applies where the federal government has obtained property. Nothing in your post suggests that the federal government has acquired property here that would affect or alter the streets or rights of way in your situation. Note, too, that this section only tells you what rights the federal government gets over that street or right of way. It doesn’t help you at all.

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