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  1. #1
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    May 2019
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    Default Is a Public Utility or Drainage Easement Open for Public Use

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Illinois

    Can public walk over a Public Utility/Drainage easement to access a pond that backs my house and several houses?

    I live in a HOA community with Public Utility and Drainage easements between houses. Can anyone use these easements to access the rainwater detention pond as there is no designated paved pathway? What is the difference between Public Utility/Drainage and Right-of-Way easements? Neighbors said that anyone can access the pond which is public property as long as they stay on these Public Utility/Drainage easements and property owners cannot do anything about it. HOA documents states that Common Area may include any stormwater management facility but also noted that "The designation of any land and/or improvements as Common Area shall not mean or imply that the public at large acquires any easement of use or enjoyment therein."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,612

    Default Re: Is a Public Utility/Drainage easement for Public use?

    If there is no right of way easement or common area easement then no, people cannot use the utility and drainage easement to access the pond.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is a Public Utility/Drainage easement for Public use?

    Just to be absolutely clear:

    you’re talking about An easement that is on your property or hoa owned property?

    If this is your actual property nothing you have posted shows there is an easement. For pedestrian use.

    If the utility/drainage easement is on hoa owned property or some other ownership but classified as common area, you as an individual have no control over who does what on the property. It would require the hoa to address the issue.

  4. #4
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    May 2019
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    Default Re: Easement Use and Enforcement

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Just to be absolutely clear:

    you’re talking about An easement that is on your property or hoa owned property?
    This is on my property. All the houses surrounding the pond have one PU easement on either side of each house.

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    If there is no right of way easement or common area easement then no, people cannot use the utility and drainage easement to access the pond.
    Neighbors are equating "public" utility or simply the word "easement" to mean public access.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Easement Use and Enforcement

    Have you attempted to enlist the aid of the hoa?

    the people are committing a trespass but given the situation it is, I suspect the police will simply tell you it’s a civil matter and to deal with it through the civil courts. They don’t like to play surveyor and try to determine whose property it is and what rights any given party has. It’s wise of them.

    Is your property fenced at all? Depending on the terms of the easement and what it is actually used for you might check into whether you can fence your property line. Some utilities are not totally adverse to the property owner installing a fence as long as they understand it will get torn down if the utility company needs to to perform work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Default Re: Easement Use and Enforcement

    I am trying to have my neighbors understand that there are different easements and that public utility easement does automatically means public access.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Easement Use and Enforcement

    Quote Quoting TL7
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    This is on my property. All the houses surrounding the pond have one PU easement on either side of each house.

    Neighbors are equating "public" utility or simply the word "easement" to mean public access
    .
    They are wrong.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,413

    Default Re: Is a Public Utility or Drainage Easement Open for Public Use

    Quote Quoting TL7
    View Post
    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Illinois

    Can public walk over a Public Utility/Drainage easement to access a pond that backs my house and several houses?

    I live in a HOA community with Public Utility and Drainage easements between houses. Can anyone use these easements to access the rainwater detention pond as there is no designated paved pathway? What is the difference between Public Utility/Drainage and Right-of-Way easements? Neighbors said that anyone can access the pond which is public property as long as they stay on these Public Utility/Drainage easements and property owners cannot do anything about it. HOA documents states that Common Area may include any stormwater management facility but also noted that "The designation of any land and/or improvements as Common Area shall not mean or imply that the public at large acquires any easement of use or enjoyment therein."
    I find your post to be confusing. Are you speaking of these public easements to encompass those property owners that are members of the HOA or are you speaking of persons that are not members of the HOA (the general public) using the easements to access the pond? Are these utility easements incorporated in your deed or are they part of the CC&Rs referring to the subdivision plat?

    Common areas that are part of a subdivision plat are not necessarily easements. They are areas that all members of the HOA have access to. That does not include non-members of the HOA (the general public).

    You ask, What is the difference between Public Utility/Drainage and Right-of-Way easements? A right-of-way easement gives someone permission to cross your land. Who that permission is given to depends on the grant language. A utility/drainage easement could mean that the dominant estate (perhaps the HOA) has the right to use and maintain that easement for utilities and drainage purposes. That would not include pedestrian traffic.

    So until you clarify what exactly we are speaking of, it is impossible to answer your question. Are the easements in the deeds, are the easements (or platted common areas) by reference to a plat, are we speaking of the general public or members of the HOA?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    3,225

    Default Re: Is a Public Utility or Drainage Easement Open for Public Use

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    I find your post to be confusing.
    Only to you after the follow-up posts by the OP. You did read them didn't you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    5

    Default Re: Is a Public Utility or Drainage Easement Open for Public Use

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    I find your post to be confusing. Are you speaking of these public easements to encompass those property owners that are members of the HOA or are you speaking of persons that are not members of the HOA (the general public) using the easements to access the pond? Are these utility easements incorporated in your deed or are they part of the CC&Rs referring to the subdivision plat?

    Common areas that are part of a subdivision plat are not necessarily easements. They are areas that all members of the HOA have access to. That does not include non-members of the HOA (the general public).

    You ask, What is the difference between Public Utility/Drainage and Right-of-Way easements? A right-of-way easement gives someone permission to cross your land. Who that permission is given to depends on the grant language. A utility/drainage easement could mean that the dominant estate (perhaps the HOA) has the right to use and maintain that easement for utilities and drainage purposes. That would not include pedestrian traffic.

    So until you clarify what exactly we are speaking of, it is impossible to answer your question. Are the easements in the deeds, are the easements (or platted common areas) by reference to a plat, are we speaking of the general public or members of the HOA?
    These are clearly labeled public utility/drainage easements within my property boundary line on my property survey. Does my neighbors who are members of the HOA have rights to walk over these public utility/drainage easements?

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