Can I legallylimit a public easement “for ingress and egress” to one allowing only emergency/government/utilities functions?

The driveway to my property historically provided access to a house behind. That house was replaced by a townhouse complex with entrance on the next street over. The easement currently serves only an alternate exit from the townhouse for residents. There is no essential need for resident/public use of the easement, and it has become a path for drug users. I would like to limit access to that for necessary community purposes.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there is a recorded easement on your property where your property has the burden of the easement the only way you can limit or even eliminate the easement is by blocking access as a form of a prescriptive easement to end it. The time period to accomplish this is five years. The blockage must be open, notorious, under claim of right and to the exclusion of others.

You need to be aware that you cannot obtain an easement against a public entity (township). Nor can you end an easement by way of a prescriptive use over the easement burdening your property against a public entity.

I suggest that you consult further with a real estate attorney about your easement issue.

Good luck.

 


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