Sunday, April 2 2006
Today I finished the task of burying all the perforated PVC in the collection area uphill from my new driveway trench. I'd surrounded the pipes themselves with gravel, flat rocks, and pieces of recently-removed asphalt, and with that holding the soil back I was able to lay down a thin veneer of turf, soil, and sod. The places where the pipes run all have a distinctive hump to them owing to all the new material hidden beneath the turf, but I'm hoping this acts to catch surface water and channel to places where it can be drained away.
At some point Gretchen and I walked to our next-door neighbor's place (the Greenhouses) to discuss the situation with the 14 acre parcel of land for sale behind our properties. This is that parcel that is on the market for $139,000 after having been sold for $25,000 less than a year ago. The difference in price, as you may recall, is entirely due to a marketing campaign focused on a new-"found" "right-of-way" across the Greenhouses' property, something for which there is no supporting paperwork. Gretchen had asked the realtor to fax over any supporting documents for this contention, and they amounted only to a "contention" made by a lawyer, though it's hardly a settled legal matter. Adding to the cloud of untruth and wishful thinking hovering over the property is the claim in one bit of advertising that the property lies within the "desirable town of Marbletown," a claim that is demonstrably untrue. We all see the price of $139,000 as a unrealistic pipedream, but we're also a little nervous. As you might recall, we'd had a similarly-strong faith that the property would "never sell" for $25,000 back when it was on the market a year ago.
Weakening the case for the right of way claim is the fact that the sign on Dug Hill Road advertising the property was removed some weeks ago by the Greenhouses' son and taken to the real estate agents' office with a written statement that it wasn't acceptable for posting on the Greenhouses' land. But the real estate agent had posted that sign on the supposed right-of-way, and if that right-of-way is valid, the Greenhouses' removal of the sign would be in the wrong. Complicating matters further, much of right-of-way law is all about facts on the ground. If you start using your neighbor's land and they don't catch you, you can later argue in court that you have de facto right of way. If, on the other hand, you are successfully prevented from such use, any right-of-way claims you make are correspondingly weakened.
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