Can an Easement be Fought if it Threatens Property Value?

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“Our HOA’s common area is subject to an equestrian easement. The city wants to use the easement and build a 10 feet wide bike trail. This would require that many of the trees on that part of the property to be cut down. We are afraid that this will cause a reduction in our property value. Is there any way we can fight the easement? We are located in Goleta, County of Santa Barbara, California. Thanks ahead.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

First, equestrian and bicycle use are not the same.  Depending on the exact wording of the easement, you could certainly make an argument that bicycle use is not allowed under it, and would be an undue burden on your property.

Second, many cities and counties have ordinances specifically limiting the removal of trees.  If there are such ordinances in place in your area, you might explore whether those can be used to either prevent this change, or at least to have it modified such that no (or fewer) trees are removed.

That having been said, the other question is whose land is the trail on?  It’s likely that the HOA as an organization would have to make the above arguments.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.