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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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I own a small farm in Rhode Island. My deed grants a private

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I own a small farm in Rhode Island. My deed grants a private right of way directly across the middle of the property between my horse paddocks. The deed reads "the right to pass and re-pass across said lot where a path now is to me my heirs and assigns forever" This easement was granted in 1855. There is no further deffinition as to the dimensions of the path, maintanance of the ROW, etc. At present the ROW is a single lane dirt road. My issues are with livestock safety, people safety and excessive dust when the road is dry.

Neighbors seem to think that I have no right to the property which I am required to pay tax on. Some who have no deeded right to the property insist that they have the same rights as I and one of those widened the road by about eight feet a few weekends ago.

As the property owner, may I control the speed at which people travel on the ROW? Who is responsible for maintaince of the ROW? Can the properties accessed by the ROW widen the ROW? Can I bill those who use the ROW for maintanance in proportion to their impact and use of the ROW? If I am responsible for maintainance, is it reasonable to maintain the road to a condition consistent with the 10 mph speed limit that we request on the road?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: As the property owner, may I control the speed at which people travel on the ROW?
A: No, not really. First, you can't do anything that limits the purpose of the easement. If it is reasonable to drive faster, then you cannot interfere with that. Second, I don't know how you would enforce a speed limit (it's not as though you could hand out speeding tickets). However, if people drive recklessly, then you likely could sue for an injunction. But I'd consider that an extreme response.

Q: Who is responsible for maintaince of the ROW?
A: The people who have the right to use the easement must maintain it.

Q: Can the properties accessed by the ROW widen the ROW?
A: They can only do so if widening it would does not expand the purpose of the easement.

Q: Can I bill those who use the ROW for maintanance in proportion to their impact and use of the ROW?
A: No. You do not have to maintain it, but you cannot bill others for maintaining it. It is up to them to maintain or not maintain.

Q: f I am responsible for maintainance, is it reasonable to maintain the road to a condition consistent with the 10 mph speed limit that we request on the road
A: See above.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated.

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