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Author Topic: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property  (Read 2612 times)

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Offline hinb58

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Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« on: October 30, 2018, 10:42:08 PM »
Hello Forum,

I was writing to see if anyone else has ever ran into this problem. A contractor built a road on the wrong property to access a parcel behind it. There was no permission given and no recorded easement on my property. Yes the timber is gone on a 50' wide section for about a half mile. The road was built very nice and probably very costly, but it was big error to realize at the very end before it was about to get graveled. The contractor had inserted numerous culverts and loads of large rock. What remedies have landowners come up with in the past? I'm opposed to selling an easement on my property to adjacent owner since the road should have been on their property to begin with. I'm aware about timber damages. Im trying to see all angles on how to resolve this with neighbors.

Thanks

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2018, 11:17:44 PM »
Oh boy - that is a serious mess.  Where in southside are you located?  It's one thing to cross a line and accidentally take a tree, then make it right - not saying even that should happen, as there are no valid excuses, but it does - building 1/2 mile of road is a completely different matter however.  Any contractor big enough to build that would have SHARP training, part of which deals with surveys, title search, etc - I honestly can't begin to think of a resolution to such an event short of a significant payment to you for the permanent impact on your property, even if you end up considering the road an asset.  

No where in scope to the same size but for example this summer a utility company hired a sub contractor to do some work in our area, they were not authorized to use our land as access, both by mutual agreement with the utility and the very clear signs that the sub simply ignored.  The sub ended up running over three sections of irrigation main line and destroyed it.  What made it worse was the operator then boggied as fast as he could and didn't bother to tell anyone - of course when your get away vehicle is a tracked skid steer you are only going to get so far so fast.  The neighborly resolution involved them replacing about $2,000 worth of irrigation line and the utility installing another $6,000 worth of crossing barriers so the same thing won't happen again.

I feel for you on this one.       
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Online mike_belben

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2018, 11:23:50 PM »
I think you have landed in the name your price zone.
Revelation 3:20

Offline hinb58

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2018, 11:44:22 PM »
@Southside logger Im in a county that borders James River. I'm still in disbelief with all the modern technology (GPS/GIS) and land plots a big mistake like this could happen. Part of that road went thru my planted pines... :(. How would value be determined? There are no stumps to measure.  I dont know how an experienced operator could miss these markings. The pic with culvert and rocks should have been built to left of red property lines.

@mike_belben Please explain more about "name your price" thanks

 

 

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 11:47:49 PM »
Actually I just thought about this a bit more.  You need an attorney tomorrow morning, and I don't mean a small town pizza attorney, this has exposed you to potential liability with the Commonwealth.  
First, a timber harvest filing is required to have been made - for your property - and clearly it wasn't.  The second bigger issue I see is that you mention culverts and rock.  Is there a recorded stream on your property or close to this road?  If there are issues with runoff, silting in the stream, etc, the Forestry Dept and Water Conservation folks can hold YOU accountable as the land owner.  If you are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, oh my...  Get an aggressive attorney tomorrow - this contractor has insurance, and as much as I do not like attorneys you need to protect yourself here.    
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2018, 11:57:31 PM »
Im in a county that borders James River


Your post beat me to it, you are in the watershed, grassing the road this time of year won't help with winter runoff.  As far as value goes - personally given the gross negligence involved here I would look at it from a mature timber value point of view X 3, plus the cost of initial planting, cost of all repairs / replanting, loss of use, short term and long term mitigation for runoff, and legal expenses.  There is absolutely no excuse for this to have happened.  

Depending on the financial means of the contractor and insurance status you may have to look at some sort of summary judgement / preemptive seizure to assure there are assets to cover your losses.  
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Offline hinb58

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2018, 12:18:10 AM »
@Southside logger i did not think about watershed liability, nor the need to if this didn't happen. I think you are right about having to get an attorney involved. Yes there are multiple streams on property and survey. I thought contractors stopped every-so-often to make sure they are going right direction. I hope they didn't just cut the biggest trees to make road. It looks like they got more than one or two loads of timber. I definitely agree with gross negligence. Its a lot to think about...

Offline LeeB

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 01:27:54 AM »
 :o :o :o
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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 01:28:24 AM »
 :P :o
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 02:50:01 AM »
Yes someone messed up. Damages? Sure you got a case and if the contractor has good insurance you stand to collect. Personally I'd be thrilled to have a free road and figure the cost to redo the road on the proper side of the property line would be lesson enough. The insurance company never has to "pay". They will raise their rates to cover the claim, add additional % for their take and we all can pay for it when we hire the next contractor. 

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 04:12:32 AM »
@mike_belben Please explain more about "name your price" thanks
During mediation for damages it is not uncommon for one attorney to say 'we want 50k to settle' [out of court that is] and the other to say 'how about 6?'  Then its 45.  11. 32. 14.  On and on they haggle and bluff until a deal is made because the difficulty and duration of a court ordered award is leverage for the offender to offer a lowball for settlement agreements and usually get it from the offended party who will think to themselves well.. One in the hand now is better than two in the bush later especially if the judge or jury doesnt think much of my claim.  
Your case is so OUTRAGEOUSLY obvious who was fully in err to an enormous degree with tremendous financial and legal consequences and maybe even civil or criminal charges for timber poaching, maybe disrupting watershed or habitat etc without proper permits .. Whoever represents that contractor is going to want to keep their client from court very dearly.  Its a scenario where that attorney may just say 'name your price' because this could snowball into a zealous prosecutor picking up the case to make a name for him/herself and looking for someone to do time over it.  When you throw in watershed.. Oh man.  Heads could roll.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 06:38:35 AM »
Setting timber values shouldn't be too hard.  There is adjacent timber to the road area, and you could get a forester to give you a timber valuation by using the residual stand.  It could be backed up by aerial photos to see that the stand was similar prior to the road being built.

Where was the road supposed to be built?  Seems that someone in zoning or some government body should have given approval for the road.  Can you build a road of that magnitude without approval?  Also, where were the inspectors?  Seems there is some culpability with the approval methods.  I would also think that any runoff mitigation was also approved.  There are several others involved, including attorneys and probably surveyors.  

The one question that is going to be asked of you is where were you when all this was happening?  Are you an absentee owner?  During the whole process of road layout, timber removal, and road building, you never heard anything that would arouse your suspicion of an activity so close to your property.  

Damages would include the timber value and the land disruption.  That's the easy part.  The punitive damages would be what you should be after.  I don't know if I would even negotiate, since there should have been a lot of parties involved.  
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Offline Lookin4GoodLife

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 07:13:56 AM »
@mike_belben Please explain more about "name your price" thanks
During mediation for damages it is not uncommon for one attorney to say 'we want 50k to settle' [out of court that is] and the other to say 'how about 6?'  Then its 45.  11. 32. 14.  On and on they haggle and bluff until a deal is made because the difficulty and duration of a court ordered award is leverage for the offender to offer a lowball for settlement agreements and usually get it from the offended party who will think to themselves well..

When you throw in watershed.. Oh man.  Heads could roll.
Yes, you need a good attorney well versed in this because whatever settlement you receive monetarily, you need to make DANG sure any future liability for watershed disturbance is directed back to this contractor or at least relieves you of any future liability to the state.  Nowhere near the same scope, but I had several large, mature trees cut a couple years ago by an idiotic logger in our area and it just boggled my mind that they could make such a mistake.  

Offline Don P

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2018, 07:34:23 AM »
In VA the contractor probably should have been a registered land disturber and followed erosion control methods described in that manual, it's online. I knew a contractor that built a house on the wrong lot, in that case the parties swapped land and a sum. This is not an acre lot though, good luck.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2018, 08:15:14 AM »
Maybe you should hire an attorney (read on) but before then you need to determine what you want as an outcome.  Do you want the road to remain?  Do you want the site restored to a forest with the soil spread back, topsoil trucked in, rock & culvert removed?  This is going to establish the basis of your settlement.  If you do need to hire an attorney you'll want the best real estate litigator in the county, likely only a couple.  It's going to start as a county issue and won't get any bigger unless there are idiot lawyers involved.  The question of an attorney really depends on how reasonable the Property Owner, the Logger, and the Road Contractor are being.

In terms of damages this is how I'd look at it:

Timber Value x3, you will need a forester to make an estimate.  They bulldozed about 3 acres of forest (1/2 mile long x50').  So say $4k/acre in timber x3 (statutory timber loss rule) x3acres.  Then they either need to compensate for the damage to the site by remediating or just pay for the damage.  You have trespass issues you did not have before, they have to fix that.  They have taken the value of future forest growth.  Basically a legal claim discussion needs to have some reasonable basis for damage so you need consider how you think you were harmed and how they need to make that right.  

I spent 15 years as a top level legal forensic & technology consultant for major law firms.  A lawyer #1 goal is the billable hour.  The easiest way to increase his billable hour is to be unsure of your goals.  Know your goals.  To be clear I am not offering legal advice, I am not a lawyer.   If it were me my goals would be something like this:

They agree to remediate the site and bring the site into compliance with all federal & state regulations and to pay any fines (frankly in VA I can't see any fines for this road, I could see them having to do quite a bit of silt fencing seeding etc).  The extent of the remediation is going to be a big question for you, your attorney cannot help you in this he can just jawbone and waste your $, making him even more wealthy.  Do you want the sides smoothed out and turned into food plots?  do you want topsoil brought in and the site replanted.  Do you want the rock removed.  Do you want it just as a negotiating point because you want the road to remain?  In which case you want just a $ amount and you'll take on the "work" of remediation.  How much will it costs to "fix" a road.  No idea, but probably about the same as building it.  

They pay for the lost timber at volume and value rates determined by your forester.  This will get a bit tricky since you don't even have stumps to go by so they are going to get stuck with a high value (assuming the best case from the adjacent forest- since 1 good veneer white oak can be worth 10 that are just saw logs it is subject to some question, they may have landing tickets from the mills which would be hard to dispute as a value but not absolute because many loggers are idiots in terms of getting value from logs) and they will have to agree in advance to accept your foresters valuation.  Agree to this point so they are on the hook prior to the actual assessment, they just have to pay it.   3 acres of forest x 3 times damages x Value of the forest.

They could/should put restrictive barriers across the road access area covering a wide area because you are going to have issues with trespass that you did not have before (guys riding atvs etc).  Southsides point there, the real cost in his case were the barriers the utility had to put up.  Good barriers cost $ and they can put them up and you don't have to screw around with it.

They pay for some punitive $ figure which would be the lost future value maybe determined by average incremental growth of that 3 acre site for x years because even after remediation you are not going to have great forest growth there.  Maybe reduction in existence value (you just enjoy the woods value) so another $x dollars for that.  In terms of establishing "damage" basis you have to show a loss.  Since the value of your land is likely less than $10k/acre and they only destroyed 3 acres that pretty much caps future loss at 3 x $10k/acre.  Does this make sense?  It can't be more than this and could be quite a bit less.  Think $1-4k /acre probably.

They will likely claim they "improved" your site.  You and your attorney should dispute aggressively.  You did no want nor need a road and the road is in the wrong location, cuts across geography, not useful for managing your site, etc.

They must put up a bond to cover possible costs related to all points in the agreement.  

They pay your attorney costs in full.

An attorney may help you throw any other claim for damage into the pot.  Maybe they pay for a new survey for your tract etc.  If it gets too "greedy" then you are in a long process.  The trick is to offer a settlement that is reasoned in terms of damages so they can understand that if they don't agree they will likely lose in court and then be hit with some additional punitive damages that would incorporate your loss of income/life related to dealing with the lawsuit.  

If you feel you need an attorney I suggest the best local litigating real estate attorney but you have to know you are going to have to put some $ down and hope to recover his costs.  Really you just want to draw up this agreement get him to clean it up and send out, get him to contact the opposing side and propose a settlement.  Agree to the settlement, in and out for $2500 or $3000 and hopefully they pay his costs.  Don't let him do any "legal research",etc that would all be wasted $.  If he is good old ol local boy attorney he'll know it like the back of his hand.  He'll know the owners of the contracting company, he'll know the judge, etc.  That knowledge is what you are buying.  Do the grunt work for him, go pull the plat from the courthouse, pull the deed, pull the opposing party plat & deed to prove there is no easement (not always recorded on your deed believe it or not).  The attorney and or his team can do this for you or you can.  Better for you to do it and save $ and understand the property deed. If you pull the opposing party deed & plat and there is no easement (none at all) then you have a great case against him.  That would let you put the screws to him (take part of his forest land in a boundary line adjustment-say 6-10 acres of his forest.  Another alternative is to simply give the property owner the road area and take x acres of forest (pre harvest) from his tract.  Wash your hands of it and increase the size of your tract.  Again, what do you want?

You can propose this with the opposing side without a lawyer and if they agree to all of these points get an attorney to simply draw up the agreement and hold the bond.  Even cheaper for everyone. 

Also remember, at the end of the day if you have to go to court you can sue the  road contractor, the logger that hired him, and the other property owner.  That's the chain of agents involved and a nice "stick".  
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Offline hinb58

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2018, 08:28:14 AM »
Thanks everyone for their input/help. I'm going to consult with attorney. That seems to be the logical solution. I like the idea of having contractor re-build road on correct parcel of land and financial damages. Anyone have an idea of what that type of road would cost? (3 stream crossings) I knew something was suspicious when a realtor informed me that they only went "a little over the line"...Once I heard that I knew I had to take a look. My next question is would I have to inform VaDeptForestry and/or soil and water district to inform them? When harvesting timber to build a road it has to be recoreded?

@RonWenrich Im not an absentee owner. The entire road was supposed to be built on the left side of the two red property markings on small poplar (see pic 2). The entrance to road built starts on their property on highway, but quickly crosses over onto my land and for a long distance. The end of the road comes out on my property.

@nativewolf $2500-3000 seems awful low to agree to. I want to make sure this doesn't happen to any other of timber tracts. (First time its ever happened).

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2018, 09:18:23 AM »
It does not matter if the 3 acres were intended to become a road or simply a harvest, the timber harvest permit needs to be filed.  As to proactively contacting soil and water or Va Forestry - their first priority is to ensure compliance with legal requirements protecting the resource, not to assist a victim, personally I would let my attorney make this notification after consideration of what your plan is so that at the time of notification - which should be sooner rather than later - an outline of your intended actions can accompany it.

I would also run this right up each agencies chain of command to the very top so that they clearly understand you did not do this and you are actively seeking a remedy.  If you get some local inspector to come out and he finds silting, improper culvert sizing, or other issues and knows you don't have the equipment to deal with the issue and the folks who built the road are not coming back any time soon due to the situation, that could cause you a lot of headaches.

I think the $2,500 range was the cost to hire the attorney, not what a settlement would be.  My guess is that gets you into 6 figures.
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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2018, 11:40:47 AM »
Excellent info from the gang.

Years ago i was very clearly in the right on a simple matter and was thrown out of court and threatened with a contempt charge.  Last year my friend did 6 months for a small thing no one ever does time for.  3 weeks ago a good friend of mine got 7.5 to 15 yrs for a non crime that wasnt even possible for him to commit with plenty of evidence to the contrary, all objected to in jury trial.  His lawyer was a wet noodle but it exhausted all money to have this slug sit at a table and keep quiet for a week of lies and hearsay skewering my friend.  Hed have been better off representing himself and saving the money to pay bills while incarcerated.  No attorney ever said 'let me tell you about my track record of losing these types of cases.'

The theme in all 3 cases is wrong attorney on one side against a friend of the judge representing the other side.  I have been in a room where two opposing client lawyers who were buddies made an agreement as to how it would play out.  It happens every day and this is my point. 


We are all saying get a great lawyer.  Thats easy advice to give but how does one begin to follow it?  Just call the most expensive one and pay until you run out?   The best attorneys dont need ambulance chaser billboards begging for new injury clients.. So how do you find them?


My neighbor was a bailiff.  It was one text message to him for my traffic, parking or rejection sticker ticket to get fixed.  The system takes care of its own.   You want an attorney who is inside that loop not outside. 


Court staff cannot give legal advice, but that doesnt mean you cant find that sympathetic staff member at the jurisdiction where your case will be heard, who IS WILLING to discreetly tell you which attorney HE or SHE would hire to represent themselves in a property dispute.  It can be the door security, the janitor, clerks or assistants.  Younger generations are much more conditioned to blab thanks to social media than their elder peers.  But either way they all know the water cooler details and will be able to give you the name of a winner if you can coax it out.  Most courts have a full time info line.. That person has worked for me a bunch in the past once i got them to loosen up.

 It doesnt hurt to ask who not to hire either and see if you can atleast cross a few names off as losers or crooks or whatever.  The days ive spent in court definitely showed much favor to certain litigators and disfavor to other.  That is a big big piece of the outcome of any case, the who ya know factor.   The personal relationships that arent allowed on the surface but exist everywhere.
Revelation 3:20

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2018, 01:16:40 PM »
The lawyer you'd want on this sort of project is the counties best litigating Real Estate attorney.  Real Estate is all local.  Like very very local.  The county jurisdiction matters and these guys are typically big fish in small ponds and happy to be that.  They are not cheap, $250/hour.

I actually do not encourage getting an attorney from the get go.  I think much more effort should be spent in gathering info, making copies of all the deeds/plats, for all parcels involved (maybe 3 parcels, his parcel, the intended easement parcel, and the property that triggered all of this.  

I'd reach out to find out if they filed paperwork.  No need to have an attorney call a govt office and sit on hold to find out if they filed for a permit.  The local forestry office will know this.  If they filed for permits and followed the plan then there is no issue there.  VADOF is good to deal with, easy even.  They'll understand the issue immediately.  I have half a dozen harvest going on right now with no permit issues, sometimes they ask for some erosion measures, no big deal.  The size of the watershed matters (over 2000 acres requires a different level of compliance).  Again, the head of the local VA DOF office can let you know in the same day.

He needs to determine his preferred outcome before meeting an attorney.

A good attorney could bill as much as the damages.  

I don't see big damages.  It's 3 acres of timberland.  That's all.  It's not very valuable land (ie it is not in Middleburg).  The timber removal is straight forward damages and an attorney will only F that up, the attorney cannot help on that. 

Things like Road Barriers might be as much as the remediation costs.  

The owner is absentee so hard to say very much impact in terms of destroying pleasure of living in a forest.  

If they bought 3 acres of comparable forest land how much would it costs?  $15k?  Maybe it reduces the value of the rest of the parcel?  Others would make the argument the property value is enhanced.  A free road sort of.  Only you would have to have a connection to the public road.  Assume at a best case that other than the timber value, the other damages will equal $15k plus some remediation.  That's not a big deal.

Your leverage for an award is obviously the fact that they wasted money and it may be cheaper to get an easement from you for a larger settlement.  If you won't give an easement and they have to pay for the lost timber they could say screw it, I think I enhanced your property and I'll fight this and it takes 2 years and an appraiser says your property is worth more with the road in which case you'd be hard pressed to prove damage.  Again, I'm not a lawyer I just spent 15 years advising them on how to win cases.  Put it this way, if I am on the other side I would not pay much, I'd be apologetic and offer to fix it and pay the timber costs and maybe a few extra bucks but I'd make you prove I damaged you.



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Offline John Mc

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2018, 01:24:37 PM »
The damage is not necessarily limited to just timber value. If a case can be made for destruction of scenic value, he should be able to reclaim that.

It could also include the cost of removing the road, replacing topsoil, and replanting, if that is what the property owner wants.

If the property owner wishes to keep the road, there's a good chance he is now the proud owner of a free road, with no obligation to allow others access to it.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Brian_Rhoad

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2018, 02:52:55 PM »
The problem with keeping the road is that it doesn't start on his property.

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2018, 02:53:48 PM »
Keep track of every minute you spend on this even if it is just thinking about it. Your time is worth something.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2018, 04:13:06 PM »
The problem with keeping the road is that it doesn't start on his property.
He mentioned it cuts over to his property pretty quickly. If he wants a road there, part of the settlement could be requiring them to make a connection through his property (and disconnect their access).
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline hinb58

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2018, 08:37:18 PM »
Hello Forum,

Sorry for delay in update. I had to take the kids trick-or-treating. I was able to contact a local attorney who has dealt and resolved issues like this before in the past. Attorney has advised that the first two steps have to be 1) to order a new survey and 2) contact a private forester, soon as possible. He stated that those two individuals will provide boundaries and/or value for entire tract and part that was disturbed. I assumed licensed & trained foresters and surveyors count as "expert witness"?  Attorney stated that there was "timber trespass". Landowner has to be "made whole again". I'm sure others will know more about that terminology than I. He believed there was "ordinary negligence not gross". He stated that I would have to "hear", not agree to what other party has to offer first (stated that it looks better). I asked about the damages part being 3x. He stated that was law, but most often landowners get 2x mature value based upon forester's cruise of removed timber if settled. Attorney stated that timber cruise, survey, and reasonable fees will have to be covered by contractor. Attorney advised that depending on how this plays I might want to put up a fence along property line :D. Like others in the forum have stated before "what is my intention?" I have to decide between leaving what part of road as is or get another contractor to spread topsoil, replant pine, and/or remove culverts. I guess I now have to wait for the licensed people to do their job...

Thanks to everyone for their help

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2018, 09:01:34 PM »
Timber trespass is the trees taken from you. 

Made whole is the cost to fix your emotional booboo over it.  Thats the haggle part of settling. 
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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2018, 06:05:23 AM »
I don't think you need a timber survey of the whole property.  If I was writing the report, I would take a sample area along the disturbed area and run my valuations off of that.  Doing one on the whole property doesn't do much for your case.  You might have different timber types and size distribution differences in other portions of your property which has no effect on the disturbed portion. 

There doesn't seem to be a dispute in the location of the line.  I'd contact the surveyor the contractor used to see if there is one.  I've been on cases where two surveyors got into a battle about who was right on about an old stone wall and a 150 year old deed description.   The judge just moved on after about 15 minutes.

Your forester and surveyor will be expert witnesses.  I doubt the opposing attorney will contest the forester's valuation, unless it is unreasonable or not very professional.  I've refuted other forester's valuation due to their poor quality of work.  
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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2018, 11:19:03 PM »
Just dumping topsoil on the road will not make that a productive property .  The gravel/rock road bed  and any clay that was packed to make the road ready for gravel . will have a hard pan or many pans  depending on the thickness and number of lifts used to build the road bed. 
All of that will make the tree roots grow slower ,water infiltration will be slower and runoff faster and harsher , meaning more erosion . It will be years before the productivity will return to normal .  
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2018, 11:53:23 PM »
Just dumping topsoil on the road will not make that a productive property .  The gravel/rock road bed  and any clay that was packed to make the road ready for gravel . will have a hard pan or many pans  depending on the thickness and number of lifts used to build the road bed.
All of that will make the tree roots grow slower ,water infiltration will be slower and runoff faster and harsher , meaning more erosion . It will be years before the productivity will return to normal .  
Yes, all that would need to be removed, and even then, it will be a while before the site is productive again. It's also likely that many of the remaining trees lining the build area may be compromised - unless they removed a wide swath on either side of the road already.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Wudman

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2018, 01:09:11 PM »
First off.....what is the purpose of road construction?  If it is agricultural or timber harvest, no permit is required in Virginia as long as the watershed of the creeks that were crossed is less than 3000 acres (which is highly unlikely) or they are tidal streams. For timber harvest, notification must be made to the Virginia Department of Forestry within 3 days of the harvest commencing, not road building activity.  Since you border the James River, the Chesapeake Bay Act has jurisdiction if there is a water quality violation.  The Bay Act defers jurisdiction to the Virginia Department of Forestry under normal circumstances.  Yes, this is an issue.....Yes, I have seen it before.  I am actually going through one right now that is very similar.  The adjoining owner pushed a line for a fence on the wrong side of the property line.  Mistakes happen.  His operator got on the wrong side of the painted line when he turned a corner.  The saving grace for me, is that I am selling the timber on the parcel that I manage.  I requested compensation at fair market value for the trees pushed and that they seed the strip with a wildlife friendly seed mix (along with lime and fertilizer). 

If you have any use for the road, I would tend to leave it there.  A typical permanent creek crossing for me averages between $6,000 and $10,000.  I would have them gravel it to your satisfaction, so that it is there if future need arrives.  Seed it with a wildlife friendly seed mix (lime as needed to establish clovers and legumes).  Block it off if you don't want to use it.  It will still be there for future use.  Nature will reclaim it.  Request compensation for the timber damage.  One other caveat of Virginia law is that a forester cannot do an appraisal.  He must provide the timber volumes (and values) to a certified appraiser to legally do an "appraisal".  The real estate lobby is still pretty strong in the state and successful in keeping the forester's hands out of that pot.  Be cordial on the front end.  Stand your ground when needed.  I'm sure it is a shock to you that this could occur.  Try to settle to your satisfaction.   

Wudman

Offline John Mc

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2018, 01:55:02 PM »
@hinb58 , I do hope you'll let us know how this all works out.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2018, 08:31:19 PM »
Excellent info from the gang.

Years ago i was very clearly in the right on a simple matter and was thrown out of court and threatened with a contempt charge.  Last year my friend did 6 months for a small thing no one ever does time for.  3 weeks ago a good friend of mine got 7.5 to 15 yrs for a non crime that wasnt even possible for him to commit with plenty of evidence to the contrary, all objected to in jury trial.  His lawyer was a wet noodle but it exhausted all money to have this slug sit at a table and keep quiet for a week of lies and hearsay skewering my friend.  Hed have been better off representing himself and saving the money to pay bills while incarcerated.  No attorney ever said 'let me tell you about my track record of losing these types of cases.'

The theme in all 3 cases is wrong attorney on one side against a friend of the judge representing the other side.  I have been in a room where two opposing client lawyers who were buddies made an agreement as to how it would play out.  It happens every day and this is my point.  


We are all saying get a great lawyer.  Thats easy advice to give but how does one begin to follow it?  Just call the most expensive one and pay until you run out?   The best attorneys dont need ambulance chaser billboards begging for new injury clients.. So how do you find them?


My neighbor was a bailiff.  It was one text message to him for my traffic, parking or rejection sticker ticket to get fixed.  The system takes care of its own.   You want an attorney who is inside that loop not outside.  


Court staff cannot give legal advice, but that doesnt mean you cant find that sympathetic staff member at the jurisdiction where your case will be heard, who IS WILLING to discreetly tell you which attorney HE or SHE would hire to represent themselves in a property dispute.  It can be the door security, the janitor, clerks or assistants.  Younger generations are much more conditioned to blab thanks to social media than their elder peers.  But either way they all know the water cooler details and will be able to give you the name of a winner if you can coax it out.  Most courts have a full time info line.. That person has worked for me a bunch in the past once i got them to loosen up.

 It doesnt hurt to ask who not to hire either and see if you can atleast cross a few names off as losers or crooks or whatever.  The days ive spent in court definitely showed much favor to certain litigators and disfavor to other.  That is a big big piece of the outcome of any case, the who ya know factor.   The personal relationships that arent allowed on the surface but exist everywhere.
Do not trust the website  Aveo(sp) the lawyer referral/ review site. We did for  a legal matter with wife. We are still repaying tge loan for the attorney plus her fine and probation  fee. Lady that was behind her on the docket no lawyer  got the  same deal wife got
Hugh
Ezbordwalk Jr

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Contractor realized they built road on wrong property
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2018, 05:54:10 PM »
As stated you need the services of an attorney and a professional forester experienced in land and resource management case law.
~Ron


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