R.O.W. Problem

   / R.O.W. Problem #101  
I'm trying to understand one last time...so instead of an access road where 14 properties border either side of a road the road actually goes THROUGH all 14 properties? That seems so problematic right from the start and I've never heard of it. I can see so many problems with that. Someone may want cows or horses in that area which they'd have to fence off, not everyone would be so concerned about maintaining that section through their property. Every time crossing their property they'd have to cross the road (mud? ruts?). Bad weather (snow, heavy rain) they'd maintain each section?
I've never heard of such a thing.
Here we have public roads with property either side. There are a few who own either side but still it's a public road.
An example may help. You have two lots that lie east and west of each other. The west lot has a 15 foot row off the east side. The east lot has 15 feet off of the west side. This makes for a 30 foot row going north and south along the common lot line. It’s a very common situation.
   / R.O.W. Problem #102  
An example may help. You have two lots that lie east and west of each other. The west lot has a 15 foot row off the east side. The east lot has 15 feet off of the west side. This makes for a 30 foot row going north and south along the common lot line. It’s a very common situation.
Thanks. I don't know how in 70 years I've missed that one!
The closest I can think of is my wife grew up in town. Every house had street parking. Each block (a block is 660 ft.sq. I think) had maybe 10 houses facing Walnut St., then 10 facing Oak St. Halfway between Walnut & Oak had a gravel alley. So each property was on a 66ft X 33 ft lot. Each house only about 10 ft. apart.
Parking was on the street, but the alley access to back yard. Most had a tiny garage.
Their problem was maintaining the alley. My father in law every few years asked each neighbor for, say, $40 for gravel. One neighbor didn't pay so that 60 ft. section had potholes.
Each person had access by Oak or Walnut. The alley was sometimes blocked by a truck. No one owned either side of alley.
A simple drawing would help me understand what's going on. If 13 people (HOA) are in agreement and one problem person then it seems easy enough to solve if ROW interferes with fire, rescue, or egress.
   / R.O.W. Problem #103  
The ROW is marked on the subdivision map and recorded at the county courthouse. It only has a vague reference in the deeds though.

The HOA and ROW are two separate and distinct items. Concentrate on the ROW documentation to solve your narrowing of the ROW.

Since the ROW is documented and recorded at county courthouse then NO property owner, within the subdivision map, may erect anything within the ROW, held in common ownership for all users, that restricts access to the subdivision land owners and public services ( police, fire, medical ) to the full width of the ROW. This is based upon my experience with ROW in NC as a upper property land owner possessed a 40 foot ROW across my land before I purchased what is now my property. Their 40 foot ROW gave them unfettered rights to make any change they wanted within the ROW. Since a portion of the ROW provided common access to both our homes, I erected a gate and placed a lock on the gate and the neighbor had right to place their own lock on the daisy chain that locked gate. A gate is allowed on a ROW so long as access is NOT restricted. The upper neighbor could leave the gate unlocked and/ or open and I would have no recourse since the neighbor has made a choice and I can not over-rule their access choice.

First course of action would be to enlist the aid of First Responders. Fire Dept is generally not happy with reduced access to protect homeowners and they can request police or other appropriate authority to correct the narrowed ROW situation. In effect they would do the dirty work of confronting the aggressive person.

How are public utilities supplied ( electric, water, sewer, police, fire, medical )? Do they use the ROW to access the subdivision? If any of these services are supplied, even though the ROW is or is not a private road then the ROW must NOT be impeded in any way. The fact that the township has chosen not to take possession/ responsibility for the road does not matter so long as public services are paid for and supplied.
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   / R.O.W. Problem #105  
Does your FD do "fire preparedness/safety inspections"? Couch it either as a climate change concern or insurance/family protection question. If not, invite the local house that serves your neighborhood to a "thank you for your service" barbeque at one of the houses beyond the ROW violation maybe some local LEO's as well if you know any. Over beers & q you can ask them what they think about that narrow spot & let the conversation run its course.
   / R.O.W. Problem #106  

However, it's rarely easy if someone digs their heals in.

Easy or not, if the local public service agency ( Fire, Medical, Police, Municipal dept for road maintenance) gets involved because a property owner complains and the public service considers it a problem then the heel digger in gets the attention of the police dept. I had a business, in a business park, with only one road in. A business at the park's entrance hosted big parties and the patron's would park on both sides of the road, cutting available road width down to point I could barely drive a dualie through. Called the police, they called the Fire Dept, and both visited the business owner. In 30 minutes one side of the road was free of cars. Week later it happened again, I called and the police came out and issued tickets to every car on both sides of the road. The party business owner caught major flack. A month later and another party and road was blocked. Police again ticketed and posted both sides of the road with No Parking signs. Business owner got the message.

Involving the local public services takes time but when they do they can make life miserable for the miscreant.
   / R.O.W. Problem #107  
The way I see it I would disregard the HOA, and as stated the court sides with the property owner with HOA matters. The ROW is how it should be approached and from what I read Pennsylvania like most states has specific ROW laws, 33 ft min but 40 ft in this case. Everyone must have ingress and egress, and rescue vehicles must be able to safely pass which at 10 feet makes it impossible.
I would call attention to the Penn DOT about this serious matter. If 13 families are on board with this it would be great if all bring attention. That would get the most action and the one guy wouldn't be angry at any one person rather the Pa highway department.
This guy blocking the road in the middle creates a safety hazard for all for fire, police, rescue, etc.
   / R.O.W. Problem #108  
I had several ideas about how this person could maybe be persuaded nicely but I don't know the person or the situation so I think my suggestions are probably useless. Except for one. If the constricted R.O.W. delays or prevents emergency vehicles that need to get through the section that is constricted and this causes harm to someone wouldn't the person responsible for the restriction be at risk of being held liable? Could they be held responsible for injuries resulting from the delay of help that would have been provided from emergency vehicles and personell? Maybe a letter from the fire department or whoever is in charge of first responders, or from the police, or from an attorney pointing out this liability could get the fence moved.
   / R.O.W. Problem #109  
Keep in mind this is a private road and ROW. The DOT, county, township etc won’t want to have anything to do with it. The fire department, police, ambulance MIGHT, want to do something about it.