Road Maintenance

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by big rockpile, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Where we bought our property,it was a hundred and some odd acres divided into 5 acre parcels.The guy we bought it off of was suppose to maintain the roads for so long,he would Grade it once a year,put Pipe in where needed,and have washes fixed.

    It is about 2 miles of road.Part of it is just access to get back here,plus one guy uses it for access to get on past our parcels to get to his Deer Camp.

    The Guy we bought it off of is no longer maintaining it.Right now there is 4 Families using the road regular,12 Families altogether own property back here.

    If the road doesn't have something done to it,it will no longer be a road.How do we get everyone together on getting it fixed? We could bring it up to County Pecs,but it would cost a lot off the start.Or we can work on it as need be.Problem is nobody wants to do anything,say they don't have money,or why should we worry about anyone on past us,or I don't ever use the road.

    It is really getting bad,some places are starting to get down to Base Rock,some places are Washing.

    big rockpile
     
  2. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    You're screwed.

    The person you purchased the land from maintained the road at one time....they no longer do. Without anything in writing, this person has no obligation to do anything when it comes to road maintenance.

    Here is what it boils down to: 12 families own property, plus the property owner behind that uses the road. 4 families use the road "full time".

    The road needs work. Work costs $$. Getting money from people is never easy.

    Theoretically, the cost of road repairs would be divided among 13 families. Your chance of getting 13 people to contribute is zero. The owners of vacant property will insist that the full time people pay for the road......since they are the ones that use it most. The full time families insist all should pay.....since they all benefit. The hunters will claim they only use the road a couple of times a year and they're not about to divy up.

    And it goes without saying that several of the people will be too broke to contribute....regardless of how bad the road gets.

    There is no legal authority to charge each landowner and land user for repairs. Paying for road repairs is strictly a voluntary situation.

    About all you can do is this. Get estimates for what the road repairs will cost. Then write to all the landowners and users of the road and ask if they would be willing to contribute. Set up an escrow account at a bank to keep funds. If you're lucky, maybe 1/2 of the people will contribute. Then you'll have to go back to these people that contributed, and tell them they'll have to double their contribution. This is where the crap will hit the fan.
    If they all increase there contribution, and enough funds exist to get the road work completed.....GREAT. Otherwise, you are back to square one.....with a deteriorating road.

    Incidentally, if anyone seeks the services of a lawyer to sort this mess out....it will easily run into the 1000's of $$$.


    This brings up the issue of purchasing property in which sole access is via means of a private road. Get everything regarding the private road in writing.



    This reminds me of a similar situation near here. A lake was connected to a chain of lakes by a channel. The channel needed to be dredged out.....as it was only a few inches of water. Even moderate sized fishing boats couldn't make it through the channel.
    A lake owners association was created. Every property owner on the lake (there were about 300 property owners) was supposed to contribute $200 to pay for the dredging. The dredging would dramatically increase the property values of EVERY home on the lake.
    The lake owners association went ahead and hired someone to dredge the channel.....with the cost being around $50,000. About 1/2 of the property owners paid the $200. The contractor that did the dredging ate the loss.


    Perhaps you could set up a landowners association and hopefully get a contractor to do the road work.....and get paid later. Of course, the contractor will never get fully paid.
     

  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    I think Hoop is right on the mark. It is unfortunate but true.

    Are any of the families that live there now willing to kick any money in? What I would suggest is fix the road up to your parcel and the hell with the rest (assuming of course you are the first parcel).

    It is difficult(if not impossible) to get money out of the people, especially the ones that don't live there and use it only once or twice a year for
    recreation..
     
  4. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    B.R., this reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in! We moved to a house in the mountains, in a little neighborhood called "The Grove". About 4 full time families, and a bunch of houses owned by wealthy people who came for the summer to rough it. There was one woman who was always trying to organize everyone to pay for something for the good of all, and get her share free for doing the "work" of collecting the funds. They owned a tractor with a plow to clean the snow from the roads, and only one man did the work of welding, etc on it. He felt he should also be the only one who drove it, but was not there when needed. If anyone else drove it and it broke down, he expected them to pay him to fix it, not the entire neighborhood. The water line was a small, one inch pipe that ran across a small river and serviced the entire group. If one person did laundry, no one else could get water. Eventually, it rusted through, and needed to be replaced. My parents paid for their own line to be run, even tho it cost them a small fortune, rather than be involved in the hassles of getting everyone to pay a fair share. I wish you luck in getting this accomplished, it surely won't be easy. Let us know what transpires, will you? Jan in Co
     
  5. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Have you talked to county authorities about it? I've seen your same situation happen a number of times. If all of the property owners get together, sign a petition, agree to deed over the right-of-way to the county, and agree to a "road improvement district", it might be possible to get the county to pay for the improvements. At least that's how it works in Texas. Of course, it will mean higher taxes for the 12 property owners. A chat with your county commissioner or whoever is in authority is the first place to start. It may not be necessary to hire a lawyer. The local newspapers could also help the situation by doing a story on it, if it's bad enough. If the road gets bad enough to where ambulances or rescue/fire equipment can't get in there, you could be in trouble. Good luck.
     
  6. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    verbal agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on -
     
  7. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    SteveD I went to the County years ago.They told me it had to be brought up to County Specs before they would even consider taking it over and maintaining it.

    The way it is right now,Ambulance will not come back here,and they turned a Fire Truck over on it two years ago.

    Oh we bought the property through Woods and Water.Neil sold our Contracts about a year ago to a company out of state.

    big rockpile
     
  8. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Well I just found out my information was wrong that Woods and Water are still responsible for maintaining the road.But it is something that needs to be straighten before the time comes they are not responsible for it.

    big rockpile
     
  9. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Then the 12 owners should at least get together a few bucks each, and hire a lawyer to write a certified letter demanding that he maintain the roads in accordance with the contractual agreements. If he won't, then sue. Maybe if he brings it up to county specs, THEN you could get them to maintain it.
     
  10. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    have you talked to Neil? I haven't delt with him but others here have obviously had good luck.
     
  11. I'll guess you are near the far end of the road. :)

    You would need an Association between the 13 owners to handle maintaining the road. This puts 1 person in charge of getting things done, with the 13 voting on the major framework of the major issues.

    Nothing else will work, trying to talk it over backyard fences & dealing with it each year at a time will never get anywhere.

    Now, getting a Association started will be about near impossible, as you hit the same indifference & 'maybe next year' stuff.

    Perhaps the group could offer to buy out the road maintenence part of the contracts you now have, and use that as seed money to start your own program. This would get everyone in the same room as they would be _getting_ money back, and let the discussions go from there - yearly fee to maintain, who's in charge, etc.

    Long shot, but you need to come up with something like that. Try to find a positive to get everyone in the same room & sort of liking the idea or at least positively curious about it as they walk in the room, instead of 'hey we gotta spend big bucks to fix this ^$$^ road and we gotta do it now and everyone needs to show up & kick in some money!'

    As others said, you are pretty much screwed tho. It's a difficult spot, and was not a well designed situation - only to get the land sold & keep prices low, then see you all, you deal with the problems later!

    --->Paul
     
  12. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    ...a BIGGER 4 wheel drive! :haha: that may be the cheapest solution.
     
  13. kaji1

    kaji1 Member

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    I had somewhat the same problem so what I did was to pay for ½ the road to be fixed, to my place,¼ mile back. I had just the center done and when the others couldn't get in or out of their driveways the got the idea.

    When it came to snow plowing I just piled all the snow in front of their drives and again they got the idea.

    Pay now or pay later, but you will pay.

    A dozer at $50 an hour (in 78) shared by 5 people is cheaper than $50 apiece plus $50 just to move it in.

    Good luck.
     
  14. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Anyone in the group have a tractor? How about a 'drag' blade? They're pretty cheap used. Fix the road yourself. For nothing except the cost of a little diesel and some sweat. You drag the gravel back up into the middle of the road. It's a slow process, and requires regular maintenance. If you're down to solid rock base, sounds like your needing industrial sized graders and dozers.

    I'm two miles from the pavement. Fixed a mile of the county's road and a mile of my own for 15 years, a couple afternoons each year. The county finally started working on their own section...and wanted to make my road public. I declined the joy of having a public road on my place, with all the riff raff that likes to drive down them in the middle of the night.

    Some of my relatives that own land on the backside of my place would like it to be a county road...and stop being public at their boundary, of course. I have in the past stopped maintenance "short" of their boundary, leaving ruts to grow several feet deep, impassable half the year...if they don't want to share in the costs, they can suffer the consequences.

    Side Note: Unless you paid a heavy premium on your place, or pay some kind of yearly 'fee'...sounds like maintaining the road in perpetuity isn't a winning proposition...was this guy supposed to maintain the road forever? If he made that deal, he's lost his shirt or his mind. He'll go bankrupt sooner or later, and then your own your own.

    Oilpatch has the best idea...a bigger 4wd. Esp. if you can destroy the road enough so that your the only one who can travel it.
     
  15. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    muhahaha!

    anyhow a few years ago our family used a horse and a pull behind scoop, we filled a washout, it was alot of work!
     
  16. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    texican I would be scared to Blade this Road off with a Tractor.You get past me it straight up and down for a 1,000 feet across two hollers.People past me park up on the highway most of the time.They was parking up by me until they acussed me of putting Sugar in their Gas Tank.

    Oh I have two Four Wheel Drives getting another. :D

    big rockpile
     
  17. I lived in a place like that once, parking at the county road and hiking in 2 miles in bad weather. Best thing we ever did was selling out to some other sucker. Might also be the best thing you ever did.
     
  18. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    I must not feed the TROLLS

    I must not feed the TROLLS!!!!

    :D
     
  19. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I lived for 3 yrs on one road that the county would not maintain and 2 yrs on another one. On the first one, the oil company that had the leases was supposed to maintain the road. They were sending semi truck tankers up there continuously. Then when the land owners complained we couldn't get in and out because the road was torn up; they said it was the fault of the people who lived there going in and out tearing up the road!!!! They said they wouldn't do anything until their trucks couldn't get in and out.

    On the second road, the county said their equipment would get stuck so they couldn't maintain the road!! My landlord spent a lot of time and energy to keep the road open for the kids to get to school.

    Get a Subaru. It is the only thing I've had that could handle these roads. It did sometimes high center, but so did the old pickup I had. My neighbors had an old suburban, and that was pretty good too.
     
  20. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    See if you can put together a package to where: 1. The responsible party brings it up to county specifications one time and only one time. Thereafter they have no further responsibility for road maintenance. 2. ALL of the property owners affected will sign a legally binding agreement to this effect. 3. ALL of the property owners agree to deed right of way to the county at no cost to the county. Basically this would require the preparation and filing of a new deed which includes the easement. 4. The county agrees to take the road into the county system for future maintenance. 5. Nothing is done until all four aspects are taken care of.

    Two questions you are going to be asked by your neighbors is: How much will this cost me and how will it affect my property value (including assessment for tax purposes)?

    Of course, it would require someone to daddy rabbit it - perhaps with the nickname initials of BR.

    Ken Scharabok