We own the first property on a gravel road (8 acres) in North Carolina. There are three owners owners beyond us, including a chicken farm. The road in front of our home is about 20 feet wide, mostly on our property and is part of an easement. (I need to look it up - might be 45 feet.)
The truck drivers delivering feed to the chicken farm have been driving off the side of the road so they don't have to make such a sharp turn. This was not a problem a year ago, because there was grass and it was obviously not part of the road. However, the chicken farm owner dug up along the side of the road to put a new water line in. Now that he has covered it, the drivers will not believe it is not part of the road, and they want to use it.
The chicken farmer thinks they should be able to use it because the easement is wider than the 20 feet we have gravel on.
The problem: a few feet further is a steep bank (on our property). We are concerned about erosion, trucks destroying that bank (resulting in destroying the road), accidents (trucks rolling down our hill), and heavy trucks going over the water lines.
The questions: Who determines what can be done with an easement? Can those who have a right-of-way use it in any way they please? What if a right-of-way goes over a bank? Can the chicken farmer make a 45 foot, two-lane road, and if so, how can he be made to do it properly and to maintain it? Can the road take up the entire easement, or does space need to be left for utilities?
The deeds are not specific. They mention the easement but not anything about use or maintenance.