Road Commission Right-of-Way and Easements

Asked August 26, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

We have a 30' right-of-way running along our property line; it is owned by the Ottawa County Road Commission, we are requesting abandonment of this property, but the township has suggested that we first attempt to obtain an easement. We need the extra footage to in put a new foundation under our current home. When the home was built in 1927, they did not have lot line setback laws and even moving our home forward on our pie shaped lot, does not help us meet the setback laws. It is my understanding that any easement given on a road commission right-of-way only entails allowing utilities to run across it, or for ingress and egress only. What Michigan law can I present to my township to show that you cannot place a permanent structure on an easement given for a right-of-way?

Ottawa County Michigan

1 Response

The way to present your case would be to ask the road commission for the easement, and if they deny it, you will have their written denial (presumably with their reasons) to present to the township.

Do not assume the road commission owns the right-of-way. Sometimes they do own that land outright, but most of the time the road commission only has an easement for a right-of-way across your land -- you already own the underlying property --but still with restrictions on your use within their easement.

Do not assume the actual built road is where it is supposed to be. The center-line of the built road may or may not be at the center-line of the right-of-way, which would be the section line or other survey line. If that is the case, there is a chance you may not even need to obtain the ability to transgress into the right-of-way.

For these issues the best advice which can be given is to use the services of a professional land surveyor and an attorney that specializes in real estate and/or municipal law.