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Interference with an easement

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Sky Beams

New member
What is the name of your state? Colorado
We have an ingress/egress access easement prepared and recorded by our attorney twenty years ago when we owned the acreage that the easement presently burdens. In our state of Colorado the width of legal access easements are set forth at a width of 60 feet.

Earlier this year (2019) the property changed hands and unfortunately for us, a narcissistic bully was the buyer of this land. Three individual families have used this easement for two decades. However, the actual graded off gravel roadway is only 15 feet in width leaving the undeveloped roadway of 45 feet inaccessible due to the growth and placement of Pine, Fir, and Aspen trees.

Within hours of the Bully closing on the land, signs were placed inside the 60-foot perimeter of the easement telling the three families who use the easement that “Children Were at Play” and we were to “Drive Like They Are Your Kids”.

Believing that the realtor probably did not bother to disclose the true width of the easement, I composed a letter to the new owner advising him that the easement was in fact 60 foot in width; gave him the reception number of the document; told him we appreciated being informed that children would be in the area from time to time; that the three families are all adult couples with no children or teenagers who drive recklessly; so perhaps the signs could be removed or at least be placed along side of the 60 foot perimeter and not inside in the 60 foot perimeter.

The bully got angry at the suggestion and not only left the signs in place but then proceeded to stretch 6 foot high wire fencing along the edges of the 15 feet of the excavated driveway area. A few weeks later he stopped me in the driveway and forcibly detained me for 45 minutes telling me that he had ‘vacated’ the easement and that I could find another way into my home.

I was told by a layperson that interference with a legal easement constitutes an intentional tort of trespass. Is that true? And if so, what are my options?
 
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Sky Beams

New member
The recorded width of the easement is 60 feet. Therefore the serviant party (my easement document uses the wording burdened party) is obligated to respect the perimeters of the 60 foot width and not obstruct, block, hinder, impede or act in such a way that the 60 foot width is jeopardized or made inaccessible to the dominant party (my easement document uses the wording benefiting party). When the bully fenced off the 45 feet he prevented the dominant parties from being able to use (if they so chose) the full width of the easement. In fact if the fencing had not been place within the perimeter of the easement, I would have been able to drive around the bully and simply pass him by, instead I was forced to stop and endure this person's insults and rants. Seniors don't need or appreciate the orchestrated drama of millennials.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
The recorded width of the easement is 60 feet. Therefore the serviant party (my easement document uses the wording burdened party) is obligated to respect the perimeters of the 60 foot width and not obstruct, block, hinder, impede or act in such a way that the 60 foot width is jeopardized or made inaccessible to the dominant party (my easement document uses the wording benefiting party). When the bully fenced off the 45 feet he prevented the dominant parties from being able to use (if they so chose) the full width of the easement. In fact if the fencing had not been place within the perimeter of the easement, I would have been able to drive around the bully and simply pass him by, instead I was forced to stop and endure this person's insults and rants. Seniors don't need or appreciate the orchestrated drama of millennials.
Thank you for sharing. Did you have a question?
 

quincy

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? Colorado
... I was told by a layperson that interference with a legal easement constitutes an intentional tort of trespass. Is that true? And if so, what are my options?
You added to your original post. Thank you for including additional information.

Yes. Interference with an easement is a trespass.

As a dominant tenant, you and your neighbors can seek to enjoin the servient tenant from obstructing the easement and you can seek an order for removal of all that blocks it.

The servient tenant could, however, seek an injunction and attempt to restrict the easement to a 15’ width ingress/egress rather than 60. It does not appear, from what you have said, that he will be successful.
 

Sky Beams

New member
Thank you for the information. It is highly unlikely that the serviant tenant could get an injunction to reduced the 60 feet to 15 feet given that I own several tracts of land that could be developed and built on. Colorado law requires a 60 foot wide access in order to serve potential developments of land. But I will "seek and order for removal of all that blocks my easement". Thanks again.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Thank you for the information. It is highly unlikely that the serviant tenant could get an injunction to reduced the 60 feet to 15 feet given that I own several tracts of land that could be developed and built on. Colorado law requires a 60 foot wide access in order to serve potential developments of land. But I will "seek and order for removal of all that blocks my easement". Thanks again.
I am sorry your new neighbor is causing problems for you and the others on the road.

Good luck.

Edit to add a link to a Colorado Supreme Court decision that discusses nicely the laws on easements. The case: Lazy Dog Ranch v. Telluray Ranch Corporation.

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/co-supreme-court/1289033.html
 
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