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Platted Utility Easements! Help appreciated!  

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Why don't you call for utility locates on the easement and find out if there's anything buried through it. If it's not been used by any of your utilities it would likely be a simple matter of vacating the easement through a platting action. If nobody is using it they're not likely to object if there's an equal practical alternative. If locates reveal buried gas, power, fiber optics, you can cut your losses early as relocating them will get into big money.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Williwaw

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

Thanks for the suggestion. I believe that is our next step. If there are no utilities running through the easement, how does one reach the decision makers at the utility companies to reach an agreement to remove or relocate the easement. Logistically it seems like an uphill battle to try to get the decision makers ina room to hash this out. Or is there a way to get this resolved with the city or county?

Thanks for the suggestion. I believe that is our next step. If there are no utilities running through the easement, how does one reach the decision makers at the utility companies to reach an agreement to remove or relocate the easement. Logistically it seems like an uphill battle to try to get the decision makers ina room to hash this out. Or is there a way to get this resolved with the city or county?

I'm not sure about the process where you are but here you would hire a surveyor and start the replatting process with the local platting authority. The surveyor would prepare the preliminary plat presumably vacating the utility easement and making any other changes to the boundary configuration such as vacating a lot line to combine lots, dedicating a new utility easement to supplement the one being vacated, ect.. As part of the platting process that preliminary plat would be submitted to all the utilities for their comments. As long as they don't object during the comments period, you're home free. If one does object, you work with them to find a satisfactory alternative. If it means relocating existing infrastructure and you're willing to pony up, that's a possible solution. If you expect them to do it on their dime, they'll likely tell you to pound sand. Once the plat is approved and recorded, the easement in question ceases to exist and the new plat supersedes the old one and becomes the new legal description for the property. That in a nutshell is how it works here. How it works there I know not.

Thank you very much! This is incredibly helpful. I will definitely look into doing this here. Appreciate the detailed walkthrough 

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The easement has been there since 1956; the nursery has been in place since at least 1995 and there has never been a problem. why is it an issue today?

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison

Citius, altius, fortius

That’s a valid point. The issue is that the easement becomes a cloud on title so the resell value decreases significantly. I don’t think that a bank would be able to finance any sort of development or project with an easement running through the property in that there’s always a slight chance that a party comes to claim the easement. Again, it’s just a cloud on title and an encumbrance 

Presumably; the cloud on the title was there when you purchased the property, with a prorated, significantly decreased value. There may have also been the assumption that you purchased an unencumbered estate. Somewhere, along the chain of title, the original lots were merged, extinguishing the encumbrance of the easement.

The Doctrine of Merger Might be a stretch; watch out for rights of innocent third parties being prejudiced...

SAMAD v. PROPERTIES FOUR, INC.  may have some bearing on your case, as well.

It might be as easy as hiring an attorney and filing a quiet title action on the easement. If no one contests it, you win!

your first step should be to have an ALTA Survey of the property; to document the existence of every and all encumbrances.

 

As you say, The Doctrine of Merger does not apply here.  At no time - that we know of - was the dominant estate (the easement)  and servient estate (the lots) under the same ownership. If the city bought the land, perhaps then it would apply.    

Javad GNSS

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You have learned that there is (or was) a water line in that easement. The thing about water is that sanitary and untreated storm water lines can't be within a certain distance of it (at least not without some rather expensive precautions).  Technically that distance can be a vertical seperation but in practice that means the only utility you are going to find in close proximity to water is natural gas.    

EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

 
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