The Sewer Authority is Requesting a Right of Way – Should We Agree?

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“I am a Board member of a private swim and tennis club. We were recently sent a letter from the local sewer authority requesting that we sign the attached right-of-way agreement and grant of right-of-way for an existing sewer line on our property for the sum of $1.00. The letter states that they have entered into a consent order with the local health department and the state department of environmental protection to eliminate sewage overflow into waterways. There is no map attached to the agreement, nor does it specify where they will gain access. In addition, the agreement says that they will restore damage to “..a condition as nearly as reasonably possible..” This seems a little vague, and we may not be happy with the final results. I am concerned about access with heavy equipment across our paved driveway and parking lot, as well as other damage that may occur. What rights do we have, and should we just hand this matter over to a local attorney whom specializes in these matters.”

[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.]

Your questions are certainly legitimate, and should be addressed to the sewer district. Whether you should do this directly or through a local attorney is a judgment call you need to make.

It’s difficult to tell, just from your description, what your rights are. For example, you indicated that the right-of-way was for an existing sewer line, therefore it’s not clear what work (if any) needs to be done at this time. If they’re just cleaning up the legal rights for an existing system, that’s one thing; if they plan to start digging trenches across your property that’s quite another.

You can certainly get a much better idea of your rights and obligations in your specific circumstances by consulting with a local attorney. Obviously, this route would be more expensive, though if you are not pursuing any sort of litigation, the expense should not be very high. The alternative would be to contact the sewer district yourself and address your questions to them directly, but keep in mind that, unlike your own attorney, the sewer district is not primarily concerned with your rights.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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