Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Utility Easement - please advise!
Old 06-29-2020, 02:44 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
HawkeyeNFO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside the Beltway
Posts: 726
Utility Easement - please advise!

I have a 50-foot wide lot with a driveway and a sidewalk to the front of the house. Dominion Energy wants to bury the electric wires in the neighborhood, and they want me to grant them the perpetual easement so they can bury the electric line, and in the easement paperwork they also want the right to install, operate and maintain certain aboveground facilities associated with the underground system.

I objected, as I don't want electrical boxes on my lawn. In response, they sent a separate note on company letterhead stating that while the easement permits them the right to install certain above ground facilities, that "Dominion will not be installing any above ground equipment (transformer or pedestals) on your property in connection with the current project."

Questions:
1 - Is their letter stating they won't put any boxes on the lawn really worth anything? Could they change their mind 10 years from now?
2 - There is a clause in the proposed easement about the grantee repairing any damages to my property as long as I tell them within 60 days. Who determines if something is repaired adequately and successfully?
3 - Should I sign the easement?
__________________

HawkeyeNFO is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-29-2020, 02:54 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
euro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,367
I don't think that letter is worth anything and for sure they can change their mind down the road - they'll just claim it is a different project.

Does the easement run along the road or does it significantly affect your future use of the property (e.g. runs across the lot so you can't install parking spaces, tool sheds, etc etc. if you ever want to? I the former case, I might let them do it, in the latter case, no way.
I'm guessing they might be able to claim eminent domain if, for example, this is a city endorsed project to switch power lines from overhead to buried. Alas, they would have to reasonably compensate you.
__________________

euro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:00 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
1 - Is their letter stating they won't put any boxes on the lawn really worth anything? Could they change their mind 10 years from now?
You misunderstood the letter. They're saying they CAN install above ground boxes in conjunction with future projects. They just don't plan to do so as part of this project. One of their key strategies is making doom and gloom sound like it won't happen for a long time.
Quote:
2 - There is a clause in the proposed easement about the grantee repairing any damages to my property as long as I tell them within 60 days. Who determines if something is repaired adequately and successfully?
I have an utility easement running across the back of my lot where our underground utilities run. It's been a pita. Three times, over 40 years, they've torn things up and I've had to bitch and bitch and bitch to the town fathers to have them help me get the utility folks to clean it up to DW's satisfaction. I did kinda win the last battle when I forced them to hand dig a deep hole and trench instead of bringing heavy equipment into my yard. Still a pita.
Quote:
3 - Should I sign the easement?
It will likely turn out you have no choice. But if you can get them to do it someplace else, that would be good.

Good luck.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:01 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Golden sunsets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,643
I would add the language in the letter to the easement. It might be worth hiring an attorney to reword the easement and send it back to the company with the statement that you would sign the attached.

Have they not offered to pay you for the easement?
__________________
"Luck favors the prepared mind"
Pasteur
Golden sunsets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:05 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 26,169
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
I have a 50-foot wide lot with a driveway and a sidewalk to the front of the house. Dominion Energy wants to bury the electric wires in the neighborhood, and they want me to grant them the perpetual easement so they can bury the electric line, and in the easement paperwork they also want the right to install, operate and maintain certain aboveground facilities associated with the underground system.

I objected, as I don't want electrical boxes on my lawn. In response, they sent a separate note on company letterhead stating that while the easement permits them the right to install certain above ground facilities, that "Dominion will not be installing any above ground equipment (transformer or pedestals) on your property in connection with the current project."

Questions:
1 - Is their letter stating they won't put any boxes on the lawn really worth anything? Could they change their mind 10 years from now?
2 - There is a clause in the proposed easement about the grantee repairing any damages to my property as long as I tell them within 60 days. Who determines if something is repaired adequately and successfully?
3 - Should I sign the easement?
The letter is helpful, but that is about it. I would do one of two things... 1) write back to them indicating that you are willing to sign an easement with the provision related to above ground facilities omitted and explaining that it should be no problem since they do not intend to install any above ground equipment on your property in connection with the current project.... or 2) just strike through the wording that you object to, sign it and send it back to them and let them chase you if they can't accept it.

On the second part, I think typically they would be obligated to restore the property to its original state to your satisfaction unless you are being unreasonable.

Will they be tunnelling under your sidewalk and driveway? Or digging a trench, burying the power cable and refilling the trench... in which case they should restore your sidewalk and driveway to their original state, even if they have to replace the entire sidewalk or driveway? I think they tend to do tunneling more these days.

We have an overhead electrical easement on our property that was granted by a prior owner and it has never been an issue.

I wouldn't think that there would normally be compensation for the easement but you can ask around on that... one could make the case that your property/neighborhood is worth more without unsightly overhead electrical lines.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...target 65/35/0 AA TBD
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:11 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
street's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3,249
What does your existing easement say on that property right now?

I wouldn't sign anything till you can talk to them on site and take the walk around and have them explain exactly what their plan is and where their utilities will be placed, if any?

Then if you are happy with that plan then there should be additions or deletions to the contract easement. I wouldn't sign till all is in writing and that it gets recorded properly with your specific property.

I did easement as an early part of my career and by no means I'm I an expert but make sure it is done the way you want it done, or walk away.
street is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:19 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by street View Post
make sure it is done the way you want it done, or walk away.
It's seldom possible to walk away from utility easement requests. The utilities, developers and their cousins, your town fathers, have a plan. They always have home owners fighting them over implementing the plan. And they have lots of experience and success at winning implementation of their plan. (Don't ask me how I know!)
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:34 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RobbieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central CA
Posts: 5,340
I imagine everyone on your street got that letter. Do you like overhead lines?

Good luck!
__________________
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
RobbieB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 03:41 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ExFlyBoy5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Country Living
Posts: 3,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
It's seldom possible to walk away from utility easement requests. The utilities, developers and their cousins, your town fathers, have a plan. They always have home owners fighting them over implementing the plan. And they have lots of experience and success at winning implementation of their plan. (Don't ask me how I know!)
This. You can try and fight it, but chances are near 100% you would lose.
__________________
Retired in 2014 at the Ripe Age of 40
ExFlyBoy5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 04:14 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
street's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3,249
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
It's seldom possible to walk away from utility easement requests. The utilities, developers and their cousins, your town fathers, have a plan. They always have home owners fighting them over implementing the plan. And they have lots of experience and success at winning implementation of their plan. (Don't ask me how I know!)
I get that 100% I worked with electrical easement and both parties need to come to an agreement. Walking away may not have been the best wording but don't sign till things are worked out and recorded that way in property easement with power company.
street is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 04:38 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 12,112
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Questions:
1 - Is their letter stating they won't put any boxes on the lawn really worth anything? Could they change their mind 10 years from now?
2 - There is a clause in the proposed easement about the grantee repairing any damages to my property as long as I tell them within 60 days. Who determines if something is repaired adequately and successfully?
3 - Should I sign the easement?


1. The letter does not stop them from installing transformers and other above ground appurtenances in another project outside of “the current project”. You’ll need to get terms in the easement grant that limit their construction to underground with no above ground facilities allowed. They should be able to do that as long as your next door neighbors do not have the same provision. Your lot is only 50’ wide. They should be able to avoid putting anything above ground on your property.

2. The 60 day limit sounds suspicious. I’ve never seen an easement agreement with a time limit for owner to notify the utility of a problem. Some problems could could take more than 60 days to occur. Usually the easement grant states something like that the grantee must return the easement area to the condition before construction or repairs.

Good question about who determines if something is repaired adequately. I’ve never seen this specifically addressed in an easement grant - just that the grantee is responsible for repairs.

3. You should sign the easement when you are comfortable with the terms. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if the utility has eminent domain rights for something like this - they will claim that they need the easement to improve facilities for the public.
__________________
The wilderness is calling and I must go.
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 04:45 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
HawkeyeNFO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside the Beltway
Posts: 726
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
I imagine everyone on your street got that letter. Do you like overhead lines?

Good luck!
Yep, we all got it. Thing about the overhead lines is that the CATV, telephone, fiber optic, and other data wires are overhead also. Those would still be there.

Their plan is to tunnel everything, using a boring device (ok, make jokes), so no trenching. I'm wondering why they can't use the state's existing easement for the road.
HawkeyeNFO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 04:52 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 26,169
How far does their proposed easement go onto your property? Is it within the municipal right of way for the street? I would think so.

It's odd/stupid that telephone, CATV etc will still be overhead. I guess the only thing that is in it for you is arguably more reliable electrical service.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...target 65/35/0 AA TBD
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 05:11 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ExFlyBoy5's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Country Living
Posts: 3,898
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Their plan is to tunnel everything, using a boring device (ok, make jokes), so no trenching. I'm wondering why they can't use the state's existing easement for the road.
We recently had fiber installed in our neck of the woods. The boring was completed quickly and they left no discernible evidence when they were done. It was pretty amazing how quickly they were able to do it. All our utilities (no water or sewer from the gov't) are underground and the fiber folks tunneled below the existing power lines.
__________________
Retired in 2014 at the Ripe Age of 40
ExFlyBoy5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 05:13 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Yep, we all got it. Thing about the overhead lines is that the CATV, telephone, fiber optic, and other data wires are overhead also. Those would still be there.

Their plan is to tunnel everything, using a boring device (ok, make jokes), so no trenching. I'm wondering why they can't use the state's existing easement for the road.
+1

It is likely that a utility easement already exists across the front of your lot and may be part of the existing right of way of the road. However, the elecrtic company will pursue the path of least cost/resistance. The existing utility easement may be more complicated due to existing gas or water lines or even be covered by the existing sidewalk.

It may worthwhile as a mentioned in another post to meet with a representative to walk you threw the project. My opinion, but I think you are well in your right to ask for compensation in granting an additional easement, especially if a utility easement already exists. The electric company may be taking the path of least cost by asking to use your font yard rather using the existing easement.
RE2Boys is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 06:00 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RobbieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central CA
Posts: 5,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Yep, we all got it. Thing about the overhead lines is that the CATV, telephone, fiber optic, and other data wires are overhead also. Those would still be there.

Their plan is to tunnel everything, using a boring device (ok, make jokes), so no trenching. I'm wondering why they can't use the state's existing easement for the road.
What do your neighbors think? I imagine it's a hot "over the fence" topic.
__________________
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
RobbieB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 06:59 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 476
I had the water/waste treatment utility ask for easement through ny yard to add capacity for another subdivision being developed behind us. After many discussions, and a $25k check from the developer of the subdivision behind us, I allowed it.
__________________
Hoping 2023 - 2024
Tiger8693 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 07:02 PM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
rk911's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: DuPage County IL
Posts: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
I have a 50-foot wide lot with a driveway and a sidewalk to the front of the house. Dominion Energy wants to bury the electric wires in the neighborhood, and they want me to grant them the perpetual easement so they can bury the electric line, and in the easement paperwork they also want the right to install, operate and maintain certain aboveground facilities associated with the underground system.

I objected, as I don't want electrical boxes on my lawn. In response, they sent a separate note on company letterhead stating that while the easement permits them the right to install certain above ground facilities, that "Dominion will not be installing any above ground equipment (transformer or pedestals) on your property in connection with the current project."

Questions:
1 - Is their letter stating they won't put any boxes on the lawn really worth anything? Could they change their mind 10 years from now?
2 - There is a clause in the proposed easement about the grantee repairing any damages to my property as long as I tell them within 60 days. Who determines if something is repaired adequately and successfully?
3 - Should I sign the easement?
not until you consult a L-A-W-Y-E-R. like dave says hire one so mean even you don't like him.
__________________
Rich
Ham Radio, Sport Pilot, RVer
FIRE: 8/11/2005, age 55y,1d
Administrator for a regional 9-1-1 call center
rk911 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2020, 05:45 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: The Great Wide Open
Posts: 2,388
We have had a 15' utility easement in our front yard since we both the place in 1991, there are no poles or overhead wires in the neighborhood, now or ever. We have a 1x1x2 box in front yard for cable TV, and another 1x1x3 box for phone, both have been covered by clematis the whole time. No one has ever been in either box since 1991 that I know of, we were the first house on street. My neighbor across the street has the electric box it is about 2x3x3, and surrounded by ornamental grass. I don't think anybody in the neighborhood or county for that matter, know they are there.


Where are your sewage, water and gas lines located? Same place as new electric line will run? If you have an existing overhead line(s) over your property, I think the easement is still there, regardless. You are just being informed of new changes to your existing easement with the electric utility, IMHO.

When they install the new electric line underground, you won't even know the main line was installed. However, how will this installation change how electric service is delivered to your house? If you look at where the existing transformer that feeds your home is located, the new transformer would be located there, and perhaps on the ground. I don't see them running more lines up the pole from the new underground cable, I see them running an underground line from there to your meter.
__________________
Give me Liberty or give me Death. Patrick Henry
Winemaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2020, 06:21 AM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 26,169
Winemakers post raises a question for me. Does this new underground electrical line to serve you and your neighbors or another neighborhood? If the former then they would have to be replacing the existing overhead drop lines with underground drops to each house along the street. If for another neighborhood then the whole thing is a different kettle of smelly fish.
__________________

__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...target 65/35/0 AA TBD
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What to do with $25 THOUSAND extra dollars? Please advise. loansta FIRE and Money 17 04-17-2010 10:56 AM
Good Grief: Advise, please. KV007 Hi, I am... 6 09-25-2008 06:22 AM
Pre-2008 Assessment - Please advise Pavo Young Dreamers 12 02-08-2008 05:55 PM
Please advise about visiting Vietnam starry night Travel Information 4 06-25-2007 07:25 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:22 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×