How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Attyadvisor Your Own Question
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5524
Experience:  28 years of experience in general practice, real estate law and estate law.
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Attyadvisor is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is a driveway considered personal (private) property? I live

Customer Question

Is a driveway considered personal (private) property? I live on an Alabama state highway. My family built a drive way here about 20 years ago. There's a large ditch between my property and the highway, my property sets up a little higher than the road. So a culvert was laid, and a drive built over it.I'm having an issue with a state DOT worker telling me my home based business sign is too close to the road that it's on state property. It's about 34 feet from the center line of the road. They are telling me it should be 60ft off. My sign is right next to my driveway. Ergo, if my driveway is personal property I'm sorry but I will widen my drive way I don't know of any law saying you can't have a sign, fence or anything else in your own drive way.
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 8 days ago.

Welcome and thank you for your question. I will be the professional that will be assisting you.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 8 days ago.

A driveway is considered your private property if it is on your land within your boundary lines and does not violate any local zoning ordinances. There are often "set back" laws that require a driveway or other structure to be so many feet from the center line of the road. We can check if that is the case in your situation.

Hypothetically let's say you did violate the code (law) but there is no harm you are causing and changing the driveway would cause financial hardship to you, you would be able to seek a
variance" A variance provides permission to a landowner to have special permission to do something not otherwise permitted in the code. Did they provide you with the section of the law that allege you are violating?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
No they did not provide me with a specific section of the law that we are in violation of. The person I spoke with just said the sign had to be 60ft from the center line. If that were the case, a large portion of my front yard that I have maintained for decades would be state property.. Myself and all of my neighbors maintain our property within a few feet of the road which the city some times cuts.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 8 days ago.

They are not always correct. I can see if I can look this up for you. This is coming from The Department of Transportation and the municipality?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
It's coming from a Department of Transportation worker.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 8 days ago.

Local or state? I want to be able to pull this up and tell you your rights.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
State (Alabama DOT)
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 8 days ago.

Do you have a survey of your property? If the driveway is encroaching over the legal boundaries they could have a case. My issue is how long the driveway has been there and the financial hardship to you to remove any portions.

Alabama Department of Transportation has a manual that sets out the road set back requirements and easements requirements. To see if your driveway does not meet the requirements can usually be determined by a survey. Further, they need to tell you the exact section that you are allegedly violating.

If there is really no harm being caused by your driveway ALDOT has no reason to require you require you to tear up your driveway. The process to retain the driveway is called a variance. You would ask for a variance. Section 2.28 sets out the variance process. Give me a moment to provide the link.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 7 days ago.

Is a driveway considered personal (private) property? I live on an Alabama state highway. My family built a drive way here about 20 years ago. There's a large ditch between my property and the highway, my property sets up a little higher than the road. So a culvert was laid, and a drive built over it.

The driveway is your personal property, however, if you the driveway is located in an area that was dedicated to ALDOT they have the right to ask that the driveway be moved.

It is possible that since this situation has been ongoing for 20 years that you may have a claim to the land through adverse possession.

"What is Adverse Possession?

Adverse Possession is a way to obtain land by simply using it instead of paying for it. Most common is the situation where someone owns undeveloped land that is being occupied by another without the actual owner knowing about it.

How is Title Different than Possession?

Title refers to legal ownership such as having the deed. Possession refers to physical control of property. For instance, an abandoned building that squatters have taken over would give the squatters possession since they have physical control of the land, but the owner still has legal title.

What Gives Another Person Rights to My Land / Adverse Possession?

For a person to have adverse possession over a property he must:

  • act like the true owner, e.g. maintain the property, pay taxes, etc.;
  • openly act as if he owns the land;
  • use the property without the consent of the land’s legal owner and pay no rent; and
  • use the property for a period of time specified by law, usually 10 to 20 years.

How Long Does The Possessor Have To Occupy The Property?

The answer will differ by states:

  • 2 years: Arizona
  • 5 years: California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada
  • 7 years: Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Utah, Washington
  • 10 years: Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming
  • 15 years: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia
  • 18 years: Colorado
  • 20 years: Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • 21 years: Ohio, Pennsylvania
  • 30 years: New Jersey"

This is a link for the Administration Code. They need to provide you with the section you are allegedly violating. You may be grandfathered in. A survey could easily disclose if they are correct.

This is a link for the contact information

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter as it would be my pleasure to assist you.

If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work I would appreciate it.

The Attorneys on the site do not receive credit for their time or work if the customer does not rate us positively. There is no additional charge to you for a positive rating and you can still receive a refund. Thank you for your consideration.

Related Real Estate Law Questions