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Water tower trail access

Does someone know a lawyer interested in challenging the closing of this trail based on our easement laws.  There seems to be a clear case here for asserting the public's right.  Any thoughts?
Ed Justice December 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM
If you are referring to the service road at the end of March Ave, the area beyond the locked gate is private property and is outside city limits. The city only owns small portions where equipment is installed, not the surrounding property. The city and other entities have utility easements, but that does not equate to open use by the general public. As such, the right to pass rests with the private property owner. I don't blame the land owner. Why should they risk liability and the inherent nuisance problems created by public access? There are other legal access points designed and maintained for enjoying the open space.
Steve Ineich December 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM
I agree that we all have property rights that should be protected. However, in this case the public has been given access without restriction for decades. It has only been recently that the access to entry points in the new open space property have been sealed off and posted as no trespassing. The law is pretty clear that this type of issue gives the public rights they otherwise would not have. Additionally, on a more practical basis, these entry points don't seem to pose any threat to the property owners use of the roads or privacy concerns. Instead, they serve to give a good number of Healdsburg residents convenient access to public trails now formally known as the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space. Hopefully we can satisfy both the property owner's needs and the public's rights without a protracted legal battle.
David Simon December 27, 2013 at 03:08 PM
I don't see how allowing foot traffic only on the access road would interfere with property rights. The City should have been more protective of property surrounding a public water supply. What ever happened to the restrictions on building upon ridge-tops? What is going to happen to the public water supply with residential sewerage lines running adjacent to our drinking water? Has any environmental studies been done on the effects this private property would have on OUR water supply?
David Simon January 26, 2014 at 02:28 PM
The information I have been able to gather concerning public use of private property is this If adverse and open public use can be established 5 years before 1972, (1967); then, Implied Dedication exists. The easy part is establishing the Implied Dedication. The hard part is getting the resources together for a court case.

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