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Covered Drainage Culvert

Discussion in 'Easements & Right of Way Law' started by Harvey Landry, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. Harvey Landry

    Harvey Landry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Louisiana
    In this locale, drainage ditches are generally open, beside the street, in front of residential lots and sidewalks. Homeowners traditionally mow the ditch banks and remove sediment from the concrete ditch beds. Homeowner Mary paid to improve the drainage area in front of her property by having a culvert installed, dirt added on top to the level of the street and sidewalk, and grass planted.

    Can Mary claim ownership of the newly covered area? Can she control who may park on the strip? May she post a "No Parking" sign on it? In the aftermath of a storm, do her neighbors have the right to place downed tree branches and other debris on the covered area (and the sidewalk, against Mary's fence) without Mary's permission. This was done while Mary was not home, temporarily evacuated ahead of the storm. What are Mary's rights in this situation? Can law enforcement officers compel the neighbors to remove the debris?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Up until this point, I'll just say that hypothetical-Mary will want to consult with a local attorney.
    The question is too broad.
    No.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Well, Harvey, you're apparently not Mary.

    Who are you and why is this your business?

    Why not have Mary come here so we can ask her pertinent questions?
     
  4. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Did Mary have permission from the city to alter their property?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Who owns the grass between the sidewalk and the street?

    Generally speaking, the governmental unit where the property sits has the "public right of way" (or what some term use by easement) the "verge" or "hellstrip", it is usually a 25 foot (give or take) right of way from the centerline of the roadway.

    Some roads have a larger right of way.

    A right of way does not constitute ownership.

    Even IF there is no sidewalk, the governmental entity has a right of way of the first several feet onto the property.

    As to whether Mary can create parking rules, post do or don't do this/that signage, probably NOT.

    Why?

    Look to the definition, the governmental unit has the "right of way" for the public good.

    To further understand the definition, think about railroads, utilities, etc... and the "right of way" those entities still possess and use.

    Mary might wish to discuss her decisions with her local elected officials, mayor, council, etc.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Why are you posting instead of Mary? What is your involvement, if any, in this situation?

    Anyone can claim anything one wants.

    Without knowing what "the strip" refers to (that term is not used in the first paragraph of your post), there is no way to assess this question.

    She can post all the signs she like, but it's unlikely such a sign would have any legal weight (also see above regarding "the strip").

    I doubt that such a "right" exists.

    Creating a list of rights would serve no useful purpose.

    Can they? Probably. Will they? Howzabout Mary call them and ask?
     
  7. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    You got that correct. There is almost always an easement (measured from the centerline of the road) that is for public use. Part of that easement is on Mary's land and although she must maintain it (cutting the grass, and maintaining the ditch) she runs a foul if she did what she did without municipal permission and permits.

    So check your zoning ordinances and contact your municipal officials (DPW, zoning, and building) to find out if what Mary did was with permission and if it was legal.
     

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