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Subdivision ➗ Right to public ROW access?

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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The Law Director and I am going to be analyzing the presumption of why a private property has a right to access a public ROW.

This is something I realize many of us just take as a given.

How is this subject treated in your code and/or your professional experience?

I will be reviewing our development and/or entire city code to determine this for us. It'll be interesting.
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
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15,679
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It depends. If the property is entirely landlocked through no fault of the city or state highway or whatever, then he has no "right". He can pay to get access. One place I worked required legal access before we granted a permit. Where I'm at now does not. Although we will not split land without having accesses to the ROW.

In other cases say a highway gets build through the land creating a landlocked situation. The property had access and the highway took it - which may legally go to a takings case somewhere. So now the high way has to grant access.

If you get into the 10 properties in a 1/4 mile stretch we go with, while each property has a right to access, and if each property were developed solo we would give them that, we still require shared access and have access control plans to prevent 10 driveways.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
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A different spin is private utilities in the ROW. In Iowa you can make them pay the governments actual cost of maintaining the ROW, but we cant deny access.
 

Gedunker

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We also can make private utilities pay some of the freight of being in public r-o-ws (but extreme care needs to be taken in justifying costs, which some smaller 'burgs probably won't be able to do). But, day-yum, they sure act like it is their r-o-w and we should be kissing their derrieres to be there. The electric utility, in particular, is difficult.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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In New York State law, subdivision can't create a landlocked lot. All lots must have access to the public right-of-way, either through frontage that allows a curb cut, or a private road or common drive with permanent access rights (like in a cottage court, single family or townhouse condominium, and so on).

Lots created illegally have no right to public access. Landlocked lots created legally before subdivision law could be granted an easement of necessity under case law, if an easement was absolutely necessary at the time of severance, and necessity always existed, not because of an action taken by the party seeking the easement. The takings situation @DVD describes also applies.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
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21,366
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The Law Director and I am going to be analyzing the presumption of why a private property has a right to access a public ROW.

This is something I realize many of us just take as a given.

How is this subject treated in your code and/or your professional experience?

I will be reviewing our development and/or entire city code to determine this for us. It'll be interesting.
We have minimum lot width requirements for vehicle access. If a lot is less than 70-feet in width, we require it be alley accessed. Someone can get waivers if they do a Planned Unit Development, but than opens up a new list of possibilities. The 70-foot measurement came from the site triangle and the justification was visibility of parked vehicles on the front yards of houses blocking the visibility of vehicles trying to back out into traffic.

This also resulted in the realization that all the townhomes now need to be alley loaded as well. We have had a few developers try to argue with us, but no one has tossed out a challenge yet.
 
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