Real Estate Law
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Generally, as long as you do not prohibit or stop the neighbor's access, you aren't in violation of the easement access. For instance, if you were to put a lock on the gate and not give a key to the neighbor, you'd have a problem. But, if you're just closing the gate, that shouldn't be a violation UNLESS the written access has language to the contrary.
Ok. As long as there's no prohibition about keeping the gate shut, there shouldn't be any issue if you do this periodically.......it may inconvenience the neighbor to some degree, but it is not going to be violative of the easement (as long as there's no language to the contrary).
As long as the deed doesn't prohibit it and as long as you're not prohibiting access, you should be ok.
The sheriff likely won't get involved unless there's a court order directing that office to do so.
As for leaving the gate open, you likely can't force that on them if the easement doesn't require it. Thus, your best option may be to try and reach a deal with the neighbor instead of acting unilaterally or without an agreement.