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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Do Neighboring Property Owners Have the Right to Use a School Playground

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California.

    For over 20 years (which is how long I've lived here so it has probably been in place for much longer), our neighborhood has had access to playgrounds and fields at an adjacent school. The property is owned by the local school district and used to be a public school (but it is now leased and used by a private Christian school). Our nearest park is over a 1/2 mile away so we have traditionally used this space as park space during non-school hours and events. This means, use of the playground facilities for neighborhood children to socialize and play and use of the basketball courts and fields for exercise and play.

    Recently, the private school decided to install a gate that blocks the access to the playgrounds and fields from our neighborhood. They have stated that they have done this for safety reasons but I think there could be a solution that addresses all concerns (e.g. a gate that is locked only during school hours).

    Is there any legal recourse for the neighborhood to claim a prescriptive easement for access to the playgrounds/fields?

    Thanks for any assistance as we are sad to lose this benefit for our family and neighbors.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Prescriptive Easement for School Grounds

    Unfortunately for the neighborhood, you cannot claim land through adverse possession or make claim to a prescriptive easement on lands that are owned by the State or any subdivision of the state. The local school district is a subdivision of the State.

    Your best recourse is to work with the local school district and try to come to an agreement that the neighborhood can also use the property for recreation. But that would depend on the lease they gave the Christian school and you may have to wait for a renewal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: Prescriptive Easement for School Grounds

    it is now leased and used by a private Christian school
    But the answer is still the same.

    The school leases and controls the property.

    The neighborhood's recreational access is over.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Prescriptive Easement for School Grounds

    Thanks for your insights. Although I understand the need for safety, I am sorry for the loss of community, free space for outdoor enjoyment and neighborhood bonding. I hope our negotiations with the school and school district go well and, thanks again, for sharing your knowledge on the topic.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    RTR/WDE
    Posts
    1,724

    Default Re: Prescriptive Easement for School Grounds

    Having the play areas open is a liability to the school. I can see that point, because who wants to be sued into perdition?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,474

    Default Re: Prescriptive Easement for School Grounds

    Quote Quoting BooRennie
    View Post
    Having the play areas open is a liability to the school. I can see that point, because who wants to be sued into perdition?
    Yes, and insurance companies are not very willing to insurance school playgrounds that are open to the general public anymore. Particularly when the school is a private one with a limited budget.

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