Can an Easement be Fought if it Threatens Property Value?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“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.”

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.