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Private Property

Cigarlover

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#1
This might belong in another section. feel free to move it.

I'm all for private property and for people doing what they want on it. Recently however, I have been rethinking that.
Here's the issue. Neighbor next to me harvested her trees on her property, about 30 acres worth. We live 1 1/4 miles down a private dirt road. Less than 20 houses on the entire road.
She basically clear cut the property which is on a steep hillside. Many truckloads of timber were taken off the property and did some damage to the road. In addition to that, during heavy rains now the water just runs off her property and floods the road causing even more damage. After this last rain storm there were ruts in the center of the road3' deep and one section which was held in place with timbers , had all the timbers washed out. This blocked more drainage and at one point the water was waist deep on parts of the road. 2 houses were at risk of flooding and this last rain storm wasn't even that bad.

A little history on the road... At one point it was all owned by one guy who subdivided it and somehow the town never got involved with any of the deeding so there is nothing in the deeds about who is responsible for maintaining the road. Most of the time everyone just chips in a bit to have a little work done here and there.

Anyway, this old lady is clueless as to the damage that has been caused by her and because there is nothing in the deeds on maintenance there's really no recourse.
My conclusion is that some people may just be to stupid to have private property rights. Some level of responsibility should come with it. On the other hand I definitely don't want the town saying what I can and cant do with my land. There is no chance of that happening here. There are no building codes and the town is very small so no way they are going to take over the road and make it a town road. Estimates are around 800k to have the town take it over and fix the drainage issues.
 

Cigarlover

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#3
I don't disagree entirely. Time will tell how it all plays out. We are only 1 or 2 more storms away from the road being washed out and she wont be able to get in or out after that. Me either. There's also only 2 others that live past me and its a dead end so only one way out.
I'm also well within my rights when the 20k bill comes to fix the road and I say no. :).
 

Joe King

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#5
Some level of responsibility should come with it. On the other hand I definitely don't want the town saying what I can and cant do with my land.
No one really wants that, to be told by others what you can and can't do with your own property.

That said, if everyone made sure that their actions didn't negatively impact those around them, we as a society would have never needed laws such as those you are referring to.
...but the sad reality is that too many just don't care if their actions adversely affect those around them. That's how we end up with so many and oftentimes seemingly nit picky laws of the type you say you'd rather avoid.

The DL issue many here complain about is another example. If everyone drove traveled in their private conveyance as though they actually cared about those around them in traffic, we probably wouldn't need DL's and traffic cops enforcing 1000's of laws on the movement of cars. Ie: those laws are created in an attempt to stave off the problems and to provide a means of punishment to those who have no regard for the Rights of others.
Ie: some people would think it ok to drive 100mph down a residential street, but we got a law against that if they are too stupid to know ahead of time not to do that.
 

Cigarlover

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#6
My feeling is that if there is no impact on others than do what you want. In this case though there is an impact on others. A little common sense like just select cutting the property would have gone a long way here. Others will have to eat the cost of her actions. Similar to another neighbor who has a daughter that pumps out kids like a playdough machine. Never worked a day in her life but gets loads of money from the state. He and mom sign the kids back and forth depending on who needs the benefits more at the time. The difference is her costs are distributed among all the taxpayers.
 

Joe King

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#7
My feeling is that if there is no impact on others than do what you want. In this case though there is an impact on others.
I feel the same way, but too many people just can't tell the difference between the two types of actions. They feel that their Rights are greater than the Rights of their neighbors. Almost all neighbor disputes are born from that attitude. Sometimes on both sides.
 

ttazzman

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#10
...this is the proverbial alice in wonderland rabbit hole......first off no matter what the issue you don't want any form of government involved because they will certainly do the WRONG thing and life will end as you now know it...government does nothing good in a situation like this.

as far as the problem...if her or her lumber company damaged the road in a provable manner the county can and should charge the lumber company for the damage they did to the roads...

as far as the run-off obviously the road was incorrectly designed in the first place if 30acres of deforestation can really cause this much damage....this sort of issue could easily have occurred due to forest fire damage or a 100yr rain event...



i always say you buy your neighbors when you buy property
 

Howdy

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#11
Seems to me if she damaged the road [or the company that she contracted with], well, they need to fix it.
It would seem to me that one could sue for damages in civil court in a case like this. No regulations needed.
 

Goldhedge

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#13
Water Damage and Neighbor Disputes

Water can into those areas of our home that are most vulnerable and causing the most mayhem possible. When water damage may have been caused by a neighbor, serious disputes can arise.

Surface Water

In general, a neighbor will not be responsible for damage to your property caused by runoff from naturally occurring rain and land conditions. If your neighbor has landscaped his land, however, or altered his property in some other way that causes more water to run onto your land than would otherwise naturally occur, then you may have some recourse to recover for the damage. Generally speaking, there are three different types of laws that may allow you to put liability on your neighbor for the surface water damage to your property.

Reasonable Use Rule -- A majority of states follow the reasonableness approach. In order to succeed in a lawsuit against a neighbor, you will need proof showing that your neighbor did something to his land or property, that the alteration was unreasonable, and that the alteration changed the natural flow of water onto your property.

Some general factors typically help courts in their judgment. These factors may include:
  • How important the alteration was.
  • Whether the increased damage from surface runoff was reasonably foreseeable to your neighbor at the time the alteration was made.
  • The comparison of the damage to your property versus the increased use or value of your neighbor's property.
Common Enemy Rule -- This rule was derived from English Common Law and treats rainwater and other natural sources of water as a common enemy to all landowners. Under this rule, followed by many states, each landowner is expected to protect his or her own land from surface and runoff water. Landowners can take whatever steps they wish, such as building dikes or drainage ditches. If surface water runs from your neighbor's land onto your land, causing more damage than natural, you are still expected to protect your land from this water.

Many states that still follow the common enemy rule, however, have modified it to make it less strict. Under these modified rules, you may still be able to hold your neighbor liable for damage to your property if the modification (protection) of your neighbor's property was negligent.

Civil Law Rule -- This rule can be considered the opposite of the common enemy rule. The civil law rule, also known as the Natural Flow Rule, imposes liability on any landowner that changes his or her land in a way that changes the natural flow of surface water across the land.

Like the common enemy rule, the civil law rule has been modified in most states that follow it. Much like the reasonable use rule, states that follow the civil law rule allow modifications of land so long as the modification is reasonable. Under the modified civil law rule, however, the owner of the land seeing the increased harm may also be expected to take reasonable measures to protect his or her land from damage due to the increased surface water.

Careless Water Damage

If your property has been damaged because of the carelessness or negligence of your neighbor, you may be able to collect compensation for your damage and losses. You may also get a court order that directs your neighbor to stop doing whatever it is that has caused water damage to your property.

Careless water damage is often the result of simple accidents and forgetfulness. Sources of these types of damages include leaking or broken water hoses, leaky sprinkler heads, broken, frozen or burst water pipes, and even clogged rain gutters.

What Damages Must Be Paid?

If you can prove that your neighbor is responsible for water damage that you suffered, you may be able to collect damages for:
  • The cost of repairs or replacement of water damaged property
  • The cost of staying at a hotel while your home is uninhabitable because of water damage
  • Any medical bills directly related to the water damage, either for physical injury or mental distress
  • Punitive damages if you can show that your neighbor acted maliciously
You may be able to get a judge to issue a court order that directs your neighbor to fix the problem. Judges are more likely to issue such an order if the fix or repair is minor. The more extensive the repair, however, the less likely it is that a judge will issue such an order.

Insurance

There are two types of insurance that may cover you if your home or property has been damaged by water -- homeowner's insurance and flood insurance. If your property was damaged by water that had its source within your home then your homeowner's insurance should be able to cover it.

If the water damage comes from an outside source of rising water, however, homeowner's insurance may not be adequate. In these situations, it would be wise to have flood insurance, even if the damage was caused, at least in part, by a neighbor. In addition, you may be able to collect damages from your neighbor's insurance company.

http://realestate.findlaw.com/neighbors/water-damage-and-neighbor-disputes.html
 

ttazzman

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#14
Water Damage and Neighbor Disputes

Water can into those areas of our home that are most vulnerable and causing the most mayhem possible. When water damage may have been caused by a neighbor, serious disputes can arise.

Surface Water

In general, a neighbor will not be responsible for damage to your property caused by runoff from naturally occurring rain and land conditions. If your neighbor has landscaped his land, however, or altered his property in some other way that causes more water to run onto your land than would otherwise naturally occur, then you may have some recourse to recover for the damage. Generally speaking, there are three different types of laws that may allow you to put liability on your neighbor for the surface water damage to your property.

Reasonable Use Rule -- A majority of states follow the reasonableness approach. In order to succeed in a lawsuit against a neighbor, you will need proof showing that your neighbor did something to his land or property, that the alteration was unreasonable, and that the alteration changed the natural flow of water onto your property.

Some general factors typically help courts in their judgment. These factors may include:
  • How important the alteration was.
  • Whether the increased damage from surface runoff was reasonably foreseeable to your neighbor at the time the alteration was made.
  • The comparison of the damage to your property versus the increased use or value of your neighbor's property.
Common Enemy Rule -- This rule was derived from English Common Law and treats rainwater and other natural sources of water as a common enemy to all landowners. Under this rule, followed by many states, each landowner is expected to protect his or her own land from surface and runoff water. Landowners can take whatever steps they wish, such as building dikes or drainage ditches. If surface water runs from your neighbor's land onto your land, causing more damage than natural, you are still expected to protect your land from this water.

Many states that still follow the common enemy rule, however, have modified it to make it less strict. Under these modified rules, you may still be able to hold your neighbor liable for damage to your property if the modification (protection) of your neighbor's property was negligent.

Civil Law Rule -- This rule can be considered the opposite of the common enemy rule. The civil law rule, also known as the Natural Flow Rule, imposes liability on any landowner that changes his or her land in a way that changes the natural flow of surface water across the land.

Like the common enemy rule, the civil law rule has been modified in most states that follow it. Much like the reasonable use rule, states that follow the civil law rule allow modifications of land so long as the modification is reasonable. Under the modified civil law rule, however, the owner of the land seeing the increased harm may also be expected to take reasonable measures to protect his or her land from damage due to the increased surface water.

Careless Water Damage

If your property has been damaged because of the carelessness or negligence of your neighbor, you may be able to collect compensation for your damage and losses. You may also get a court order that directs your neighbor to stop doing whatever it is that has caused water damage to your property.

Careless water damage is often the result of simple accidents and forgetfulness. Sources of these types of damages include leaking or broken water hoses, leaky sprinkler heads, broken, frozen or burst water pipes, and even clogged rain gutters.

What Damages Must Be Paid?

If you can prove that your neighbor is responsible for water damage that you suffered, you may be able to collect damages for:
  • The cost of repairs or replacement of water damaged property
  • The cost of staying at a hotel while your home is uninhabitable because of water damage
  • Any medical bills directly related to the water damage, either for physical injury or mental distress
  • Punitive damages if you can show that your neighbor acted maliciously
You may be able to get a judge to issue a court order that directs your neighbor to fix the problem. Judges are more likely to issue such an order if the fix or repair is minor. The more extensive the repair, however, the less likely it is that a judge will issue such an order.

Insurance

There are two types of insurance that may cover you if your home or property has been damaged by water -- homeowner's insurance and flood insurance. If your property was damaged by water that had its source within your home then your homeowner's insurance should be able to cover it.

If the water damage comes from an outside source of rising water, however, homeowner's insurance may not be adequate. In these situations, it would be wise to have flood insurance, even if the damage was caused, at least in part, by a neighbor. In addition, you may be able to collect damages from your neighbor's insurance company.

http://realestate.findlaw.com/neighbors/water-damage-and-neighbor-disputes.html

great read.....but i dont see this applying to a underdesigned inadequately drained county road , even if this is a privately owned road i dont see a liability issue as i dont see it as reasonable for adjoining property owners to never develop their properties due to a inadequate road or drainage

its certainly not like they resloped the property and/or hard surfaced it to increase the amount or speed of the runoff, a change of foliage type has never been a code issue in reguard to runoff in highly regulated city water detention issues
 
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Goldhedge

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#15
You are responsible for the water that runs off your land.


The road is community property.


The owner of the clear cut land is responsible for the damage.
 

Cigarlover

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#16
Shes an older lady in her mid 60's with health issues. I doubt this case would be settled before she dies anyway. Then of course there is the cost for litigation. Just not worth it.

My guess is in the early 80's when this property was first broken up, that the road was the stream runoff. When you come down the road there are steep hills on both sides and drainage was never considered when the land was split up and houses built.

The county/town will never get involved. Its just a place that slipped through the cracks for them. They fly over once a year to see if anyone has built anything so they can tax us but other than that even the sheriffs don't come down here unless they are called. They cant because the entire road is private property.

My house is built 300 feet up the hill so I am way above the water. I feel like I can just sit up here and watch the rest of em wash away. LOL.

A storm drain maybe 60" around and about 100-150 feet long would solve the problem, plus about 10 truckloads of gravel to fix that portion of the road.
Gravel is 2500-3000 and storm drain for concrete is about 180 bucks a ft. They probably make a plastic one that would be cheaper but still, not a project I am interested in footing the bill for.
 

latemetal

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#18
The county wants nothing to do with F-ups like this one, and, probably will do what it can to dodge it...
 

Thecrensh

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#20
This is a great discussion and not to toss a wrench in the works, but here in FL, if a tree that is rooted in YOUR yard falls into another persons yard, it's up to THEM to remove the tree. Talk about crazy laws. When I was looking for a place to live, I was shown a very nice house - went into the back yard, and a tree had fallen at some point from a neighbors yard, across the back corner fence and into a 3rd neighbors yard. Instead of removing the tree, they just rebuilt the fence AROUND the fallen tree...that was still laying across the yard.

Crazy laws.

My point is, government sometimes is the problem. Most of the time. But without it, there would be other problems (see above re: people driving 100mph down a residential street).
 

Howdy

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#21
Crazy laws.

My point is, government sometimes is the problem. Most of the time. But without it, there would be other problems (see above re: people driving 100mph down a residential street).
Government is like beer. Since a little bit is a good idea, some fools are going to think a lot more will be a lot better.
 

Cigarlover

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#22
So, basically everyone in rural America needs to check with their neighbors and hire an engineer before cutting some trees down on their property?

bb
If I start a fire on my property but the wind blows it onto yours is there a difference?
Its hard to say what the right thing is here.
I guess if the road gets washed out or a couple houses are lost, its not my issue.
To answer your question, no I don't want anyones permission to cut my trees down. Not that I want to cut them down anyway, They are a pretty good carbon sink and are worth more alive than dead IMO.
 

Howdy

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#24
If I start a fire on my property but the wind blows it onto yours is there a difference?
Its hard to say what the right thing is here.
I guess if the road gets washed out or a couple houses are lost, its not my issue.
To answer your question, no I don't want anyones permission to cut my trees down. Not that I want to cut them down anyway, They are a pretty good carbon sink and are worth more alive than dead IMO.
Spreading fire is negligence. Rain is not, at least additional runoff caused by harvesting trees is not. The old lady didn't cause the rain.
 

bb28

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#25
If I start a fire on my property but the wind blows it onto yours is there a difference?
Its hard to say what the right thing is here.
I guess if the road gets washed out or a couple houses are lost, its not my issue.
To answer your question, no I don't want anyones permission to cut my trees down. Not that I want to cut them down anyway, They are a pretty good carbon sink and are worth more alive than dead IMO.
Most areas have laws regarding burning and burn permits.

Aside from Agenda 21 in socialist states, cutting down trees is something that generally does not come under the purview of the state.

bb
 

ttazzman

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#27
You are responsible for the water that runs off your land.
in some cases yes ....but not in this case.....surely your not making a case for example that the act of mowing your yard causes you to be liable due to water runoff? ....this is basically the same idea (she "mowed" her trees)...
 

Scorpio

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#28
as Thecrensh stated, good discussion, real world.

Some things come to mind:
-she does have the right to harvest her timber IMO,
-she is not responsible for the road, as if the road was built without culverts, etc, that is a altogether different issue.

Having said that,
-many times with steep slopes or other, there will be zoning ordinances of one type or another that prevent clear cutting or development. In this case, there is not, so as long as she followed any existing rules, she may be able to argue so?
-let's say this was a river/water issue, where someone was polluting upstream, what are the persons downstream rights? We would all state this should not be allowed. Yet, corporations do it all the time.
 

Lt Dan

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#29
If it were me --- I'd fix the road on the section that bordered my property, put up a tole booth, open it for an hour a day, anyone wants in or out either fix their portion, pay the tole or stay home.

I've a rather long shared drive to my house from the township road, shared with one other home owner. Drive is paved from my house to the other, remainder is crushed stone, doesn't wash, but does drift in sometimes in the winter. I take care of the whole drive as I'm old, retired and the last one on the drive. So, if anyone wants to come or go before I'm up to clear the drive, they can either clean the drive themselves or wait for me to come pull them outta the drives. "In The Summertime" it's easy.

 

hammerhead

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#30
Just one more reason why selling everything and moving onto a sailboat is sounding more and more like a good idea.
Sure, but who ya gonna blame if your boat takes on water?

Like jayw asked, I am curious as to what her take is on all this. As well as the others that share the road. Perhaps she is making room for a minority and lower income housing project. JK of course. But it looks as though it is the start of getting something in writing or discovering whose is whose. Do not see it as something that will be cheap.

I has a brother that shares a private road and he is the one that plows and does most of the drainage and grading. Every Winter, he says he is ready to sell. This year for sure. I have told him to get a pair of snowmobiles and park where the town stops plowing. He has a very nice spot. Private lake. No better place to be in the Summer.
 

Joe King

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#31
Looks like buying a boat for bad days might be the answer.
As an option, there's always this. https://tinyhouselistings.com/listing/elk-river-mn-12-efficient-steath-tiny-house/

Sailboats need berths and that typically means at a marina.
....and marinas have their own rulz and even closer neighbors than you have now. That truck can be parked for free anywhere that allows overnight truck parking.



-let's say this was a river/water issue, where someone was polluting upstream, what are the persons downstream rights? We would all state this should not be allowed. Yet, corporations do it all the time.
Corporations and others do it mostly because the Peoples elected Reps enacted legislation and wrote regulations allowing it to a particular degree. The same goes for regs that say it's ok to have so many rat hairs per lb of peanut butter.
Those regs are also what allow the dumpers to be punished when caught. I used to know a guy who did 24 months in the fed hotel for having (and using) a secret valve on the waste treatment system in his factory that was used to sometimes route "stuff" into the creek out back. Got away with it for awhile.
 

Cigarlover

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#32
as Thecrensh stated, good discussion, real world.

Some things come to mind:
-she does have the right to harvest her timber IMO,
-she is not responsible for the road, as if the road was built without culverts, etc, that is a altogether different issue.

Having said that,
-many times with steep slopes or other, there will be zoning ordinances of one type or another that prevent clear cutting or development. In this case, there is not, so as long as she followed any existing rules, she may be able to argue so?
-let's say this was a river/water issue, where someone was polluting upstream, what are the persons downstream rights? We would all state this should not be allowed. Yet, corporations do it all the time.
Corporations may do it all the time but doesn't make it right.
Yes, here you can pretty much do what you want, no zoning but it is in the deed that only 1 house and 1 trailer per parcel. Each parcel is around 9-10 acres. She has like 40 or 50 acres and I did try to buy the parcel from her that is next to me. Offered her more than she got for logging the entire place too LOL.

Anyway, my feeling is similar to most of you, she has a right to cut her timber. However I am also of the belief that her rights end where mine begin.
Here's a pic of the house just before I bought it. As far up the hill as you can see is about 1/3 of the way to the top.
 

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Cigarlover

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#33
Sailboats need berths and that typically means at a marina.
....and marinas have their own rulz and even closer neighbors than you have now. That truck can be parked for free anywhere that allows overnight truck parking.
If I do the boat thing I would just travel the world and do some diving and live on the hook. Boats arent cheap though so I need a few more dollars before I can afford to do that.
 

Howdy

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#34
If it were me --- I'd fix the road on the section that bordered my property, put up a tole booth, open it for an hour a day, anyone wants in or out either fix their portion, pay the tole or stay home.
Unless stated in the wording of the easement, there is no duty to maintain a driveway, only the right to do so.
 

Joe King

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#35
Unless stated in the wording of the easement, there is no duty to maintain a driveway, only the right to do so.
If that's the case, I would think that the owner of the last house on the road would have the biggest share of the cost of maintaining the shared road, because he uses more of it.
The owner of the property closest to the County rd should have the least cost of the shared maintenance, because he uses the smallest potion of it.
...and everyone in between the two pays progressively more the further they live down the shared road.
 

bb28

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#36
As someone who still (mostly) lives in California and bought rural property outside of CA, I would say be grateful you live in the country and have abundant nature, a lot of space from the nanny state and probably pay less for taxes/regulations in general. The country is about what you and your neighbors make of it, even if there are some crummy aspects from time to time. The city is about what is extracted from you in taxes and spent by leftists who are out of their freakin' mind. When I finally leave 100%, I won't be looking back.

bb
 

Howdy

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#37
If that's the case, I would think that the owner of the last house on the road would have the biggest share of the cost of maintaining the shared road, because he uses more of it.
The owner of the property closest to the County rd should have the least cost of the shared maintenance, because he uses the smallest potion of it.
...and everyone in between the two pays progressively more the further they live down the shared road.
Exactly. That's how it works around here. No one is expected to subsidize the guy at the end of the road. Sometimes easements are worded to allow all residents along a dead end road to have use of the whole easement, even beyond their residences, which get used for taking walks and riding ATV's etc, so I suppose the guy at the end of the road could use that as an argument for equal shares in the cost of upkeep, but I doubt that idea would get much traction.
 

Goldhedge

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#38
How much would it cost to plant some more trees? Grass seed?

Extension Services (check local universities or forestry) will give you seedlings for free.

Get some boy scouts to do a good deed planting trees. Ask the old lady if it would be ok.

There has to be a thousand ways to remedy the situation.
 

Howdy

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#39
The usual remedy for this kind of dilemma is in the fact that many good ol country boys have big yeller machines that can be used to divert water where it does the least damage. No lawyers, no nanny state needed. Just git her done.
 

ttazzman

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#40
Exactly. That's how it works around here. No one is expected to subsidize the guy at the end of the road. Sometimes easements are worded to allow all residents along a dead end road to have use of the whole easement, even beyond their residences, which get used for taking walks and riding ATV's etc, so I suppose the guy at the end of the road could use that as an argument for equal shares in the cost of upkeep, but I doubt that idea would get much traction.
that's also how it basically works around here also.....usually a access easement...with some form of road agreement...but rarely is the guy that uses the least distance of road required to foot a equal share......most of the time road maintenance costs are divided by distance of road frontage of each property owner since road frontage allows for future access if needed..........also it is not legal here to sell land (land locked) that does not have access or easment to get to a county road
 
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