An easement is an interest in property that conveys the use, but not the ownership, of a portion of an owner’s property. They are typically used for a specific portion of the property for many varied purposes. Governments, municipalities and public utilities regularly use easements to establish access, restrictions and rights to property use.
Legally Binding Agreement
Easements take the form of a legally binding agreement, usually designating a length and width of the area to be used and designating the various uses. Utility easements are generally the most common type of easement and are used to ensure that public utilities and utility companies have an ability to access the infrastructure located underground. The sanitary and storm sewer systems are interwoven at varied locations in the City and cross large portions of it. As such, portions of these systems are located below the ground level of many of the property parcels within the City.
Often, property owners are legally bound by the terms of the easement to provide general maintenance of the easement, as is the case with storm water management (SWM \ BMP) easements. Owners on whose property drainage and utility easements exist are bound by City Code to keep the easement free of debris or obstructions that would prevent access or maintenance in/on the easement. Section 121-1 of Colonial Heights City Code states the following: In order to maintain a free and unobstructed flow of surface water, every surface water drainage easement shall be unobstructed at all times by landowners. Any obstruction...found to be in violation of this section, shall constitute a public nuisance, subject to abatement by the City at the expense of the landowner responsible for such obstruction.