1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Public or Private Road

Discussion in 'Easements & Right of Way Law' started by talerco, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. talerco

    talerco Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Have property on what the City and County (San Diego) call a private road. No Road Maintenance Agreement recoded or found. In pretty bad shape and nobody wants to maintain.
    There is a recorded easement to San Diego County dated 1931 which describes the road and says the purpose of the easement is Public Road.
    It is in a City that was incorporated in the 1950s.
    Do I have any hope that this should be counted as a public road?
    I'm hoping it was accepted as such by the County and then that obligation assumed by the City when incorporated?
    It says the easement was accepted by a resolution of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, January 18, 1931.
    Or am I grasping at straws?
    If any hope, what other documents (or terms in the easement) should I be looking for?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,003
    Likes Received:
    5,232
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You might contact your elected county supervisor (or whatever it is called in your neck of the woods), make an appointment to see if the politician can assist a constituent.

    You might be surprised by what you learn.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,364
    Likes Received:
    1,962
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You might try to find out if any of the deeds for the adjacent properties have any language regarding this road since 1931.
     
  4. welkin

    welkin Active Member

    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    28
    What says the easement was accepted by resolution? Is it the recorded easement or something else?

    When an easement is granted to the government for the purpose of a public road, it does not become a public road until the governing body accepts the dedication. It appears from your post that the county did accept the dedication by resolution. That would make it a county road not a municipal road. The county would be responsible to maintain it.

    I suggest you track down the text of that county resolution from 1931 to know what it says.

    If the dedication was accepted, it is not a private road. However, you would also have to search for any resolution that may have vacated the dedication subsequent to 1931. You can make a freedom of information request on the county for any resolutions dedication, acceptance, or vacation if you don't want to actually do the work yourself.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,499
    Likes Received:
    1,209
    Trophy Points:
    113

    None of the anonymous strangers who post here can intelligently rule out the existence of any hope -- especially not based on a couple sentences of information in a message board post.

    A question for you: who owns the property on which the private road is located?

    Probably. Just because someone deeded an easement to the county 90 years ago doesn't mean the county has (or ever had) any obligations to do anything.

    You're not going to get anywhere without the assistance of a local attorney. The attorney will need to review a bunch of recorded documents and do a bunch of research to determine if there's anything here to pursue.
     
  6. talerco

    talerco Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Thanks Welkin for the advise on other documents to look for. The reason I came here is to find out what I should be looking for on my own. Obviously, I can - and probably will - hire an attorney to look into this....after I find out all I can on my own. I'm willing and able to 'review a bunch of recorded documents and do a bunch of research' and any advise in that direction is sincerely appreciated.
     
  7. talerco

    talerco Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
     
  8. talerco

    talerco Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Thanks so much - see my answer above.....
    It appears it was accepted by resolution. I'll try to find any vacation and also look at adjacent property deeds etc.
    If there has been no vacation to this point - but the county has not maintained the road - can they simply pass a resolution to vacate it now?
    Thanks again.
     
  9. welkin

    welkin Active Member

    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    28
    The governing body that accepted a road dedication can vacate it by resolution at any time if it is in the public interest. The reason to vacate would be in the recitation of the resolution.

    As an example perhaps in your case, they accepted the dedication that was in a proposed subdivision that was never developed. There would be no reason to maintain the road as public. On the other hand, if the development took place, there would be a compelling interest to keep the road public.

    When a road dedication is vacated, the property reverts back to the property owners on which the easement lies but the easement is not terminated. The road would be a private road.

    FYI, resolutions of the governing bodies (municipal, county, or state) are not recorded in the registrar's office. They are kept by the jurisdiction that passed them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  10. talerco

    talerco Law Topic Starter Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Thanks so much. I traded emails with a County Board of Supervisors records worker and supplied some information asked for to help find relevant documents.
    I'm on it and will report back when there is something to tell.
     

Share This Page