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Betsy,

What you say is true regarding land that already contains easements, but is not the case with land that has no pre-existing easements. Unless, of course, you are saying that someone might have a right to claim an easement on my property which doesn't currently have one, in which case my right to property is not an absolute one, but is subject to other considerations. Either there is an absolute right to my property, or there is not.

In any case, this doesn't address the other concerns I have, such as the difficulty posed for small businesses to raise enough capital to secure their needed infrastructure. Nor am I sanguine about the likelihood of all parties acting rationally.

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That can't happen.  The company has a property right (an easement) in the land that Soros buys which the pre-Soros owner can't sell.

Am I correct that easements only apply to access – or so to say: ‘right of way’? An easement is applicable to any right of way scenario – like satellite orbits and radio waves – is it not the same principle involved?

Now the company couldn’t have an easement to the lease local condos or buy food from local restaurants and supermarkets – which presumably eco-terrorists could buy as well, then refuse service (this would take exponentially more money and be more insane then the first scenarios – maybe about as possible as me jumping over the ten foot wall Capitalism Forever built around my house, or him dogging a bullet matrix style… his wall, my bullet :D ). So while a store and road are both private services the difference is that the right of way on the road belongs fundamentally to the travelers who make use of it to access there land, and this is in fact what gives a road -qua road- it’s value.

I still find easements a little superfluous because I still don’t know where the line is drawn. Do you have an easement to access the road? To drive on the street? To take the highway?

Take this example, if I accessed my land via route A and built a house and claimed the land as my property while I didn’t explicitly claim the whole strip of dirt road back to town thru the only gap in the mountains I have an easement on it, no one can block my access to my land. Now more and more people like my location so I sell of some of my land and the new owners inherit the same easement any land beyond mine either go around my land, get permission to go thru mine (granting an easement – which I guess becomes lasting whether I like it or not). Someone paves the road and starts charging tolls*. Then we get so many people that a high speed tunnel is built that is much more direct and the owner charges a toll – this is now route B. Then there is and earthquake and route A becomes unusable. Do the people of the town now have a right to use route B? I don’t think so. This would be the same principle for an airline, buss company, or any ‘secondary’ means of access – created before use, for profit, and owned exclusively.

*On the matter of tolls what would be the relationship between the right to access the road and the toll on the road? Would property owners not need to pay tolls for the street in front of their house if they didn’t want to?

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What you say is true regarding land that already contains easements, but is not the case with land that has no pre-existing easements.

When unowned land is first developed, the developer acquires ownership by making productive use of it. He also acquires a property right in the land by which he got to his property. If it is unowned, he could claim the road because he used it productively for the first time. If it is owned and the property owner allows him to use it long enough, he earns a property right that way too. That is how easements come about when they didn't originally exist and why its is almost always the case that any newly-developed or purchased land has access rights to a public right of way.

Unless, of course, you are saying that someone might have a right to claim an easement on my property which doesn't currently have one, in which case my right to property is not an absolute one, but is subject to other considerations. Either there is an absolute right to my property, or there is not.
I'm saying that you do have an absolute right to your property, but it may be the case that certain things relating to your land were never your property in the first place. A previous owner may have sold the mineral rights. The electric company may always have had the right to enter your side yard to read the meter. The people on your block may have an easement to walk across your sidewalk.

Read just about any deed and you'll see all the "CC&Rs" -- the covenants, codes, and restrictions -- that apply to a piece of real property. That's what you voluntarily agree to when you buy real estate.

In any case, this doesn't address the other concerns I have, such as the difficulty posed for small businesses to raise enough capital to secure their needed infrastructure.  Nor am I sanguine about the likelihood of all parties acting rationally.

On the other side, I know many would-be venture capitalists with plenty of money who complain about the lack of rational business ventures to invest in.

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Am I correct that easements only apply to access – or so to say: ‘right of way’?

Actual access acquired by use or purchase.

An easement is applicable to any right of way scenario – like satellite orbits and radio waves – is it not the same principle involved?
Only that first productive use confers ownership.

So while a store and road are both private services the difference is that the right of way on the road belongs fundamentally to the travelers who make use of it to access there land, and this is in fact what gives a road -qua road- it’s value.

If travelers, i.e., the general public, use a given route for going from one place to another, it becomes a public right of way. If someone later wants to claim it as his own, the users of the road will probably dispute his claim and will prevail. That's how trails became roads became streets.

I still find easements a little superfluous because I still don’t know where the line is drawn.  Do you have an easement to access the road? To drive on the street? To take the highway?
A property owner has the same right to gain access to a public right of way as the original owner did and that right belongs to whoever now owns the land unless it was explicitly given or sold by whoever owned the easement.

Take this example, if I accessed my land via route A and built a house and claimed the land as my property while I didn’t explicitly claim the whole strip of dirt road back to town thru the only gap in the mountains I have an easement on it, no one can block my access to my land.  Now more and more people like my location so I sell of some of my land and the new owners inherit the same easement any land beyond mine either go around my land, get permission to go thru mine (granting an easement – which I guess becomes lasting whether I like it or not).  Someone paves the road and starts charging tolls*.

That would be restricting access on a public right of way and would violate the right of passage of those who currently use the road. What usually has happened in cases like that is that current users reach an agreement with the would-be road developer for free passage or other concessions. In many towns, the merchants on the main street banded together and PAID a developer to pave the street to make it easier for people to get to their stores. Then they made the streets available to the public for free. That is also how streets have been paved in residential areas.

Then we get so many people that a high speed tunnel is built that is much more direct and the owner charges a toll – this is now route B.

Then there is and earthquake and route A becomes unusable.  Do the people of the town now have a right to use route B?  I don’t think so.

Neither do I. Route A users are now in the same position as they would be if there were no route B. Should they repair the public road? Build an alternate route? Abandon their property?

(This is not a theoretical concern. It is mudslide season in Southern California and the residents of Malibu have always opted to send out the bulldozers when Pacific Coast Highway gets buried ... again.)

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A brick wall is blocking me if I want to reach the other side – regardless of whether or not I have the right.  Blocking qua blocking isn’t illegal – I think you would concede that I could legally block you from entering my house.

Sure, but you can't legally block me from entering my house.

When I say "blocking," I mean creating an obstacle that prevents a person from exercising his rights. Note the words "creating" and "his."

  • If you sell me land that is already surrounded by a brick wall, you are not blocking me, since you are not creating an obstacle: the obstacle is already there.
  • If you build a brick wall around your own house, you are not blocking me, since you are not creating an obstacle that prevents me from exercising my rights: the house is yours, not mine.

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  • 8 months later...

In a laissez-faire capitalistic society would all roads be privately built? If so, as a consequence, would the speeding ticket be nonexistent?

How would the road building market work in a capitalistic society, especially after the majority of possible/necessary roads are built. Who would fund maintenance? Would every road necessarily have a toll both at the entrance?

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The answer is: whatever is most efficient for each company to do.

Certain areas might have different systems, there might be speed limits in some areas (especially areas with lots of turning or traffic) and in others - places like the I-10 for example - it could just be "go as fast as you'd like."

People can't fine you, I shall note, unless you agree to be fined in some sort of contractual agreement. I don't know how this might be worked out, but I'm sure speeding would be far less a big deal in a LFC society.

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The answer is: whatever is most efficient for each company to do.

We have a winner! But seriously, to expand on this point, one factor that must be considered is potential liability. A company that turned its road into the Autobahn could face liability from all sorts of angles. (That's what the law is. I am nowhere close to solving what liability there should be under various circumstances, which is a great topic for another thread.)

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If so, as a consequence, would the speeding ticket be nonexistent?
Look at the Terms of Use -- you may need to get a copy before entering the highway. It covers any fines, just like truck rental agreements tell you about late charges. There will probably be a "fast lane" for speed demons like myself and a "slow lane" for little old ladies (or men). The concept of speed limits is perfectly valid and I would generally expect there to be no real change, except on the long stretches in Nebraska and Montana where 190 MPH is not fast enough.
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I'd call that a cheap shot if I had any argument whatsoever. Sadly, it's so true.

Hence flying cars and the "need for speed" :)

Seriously, a lot of the "but who'll build the roads" arguments become meaningless when technology (and rational legality) reaches the point when people can have personal flying vehicles.

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As a pilot, I'm especially enthusiastic about such developments. Check out this thread : flying car in development, a man with a vision--alone and this site : Moller SkyCar

Of course, even then, "roads" are still an issue to be dealth with. The roads will simply exist in 3 dimensions. For example, see the NASA Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS)

Edited by rob.sfo
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I have the same excitement when people talk about flying cars. But it's going to take a monumental leap in technology.

I don't mean in the area of actually building flying cars, we're close as it is. It's a matter of keeping them in the air. What level of redundancy and durability would you require? After all, if a driven car fails, you don't fall 5,000 ft before you can fix it.

Mainstream personal air travel is far off.

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Mainstream personal air travel is far off.

It's a good thing I don't follow the mainstream. I already enjoy the benefits of personal air travel. :D

But I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately, the single most detrimental factor to advancement in the aircraft industry is...and I know, this is shocking...government interventionism. :)

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This is an interesting topic. Here is my take on the nuts and bolts of roads.

First off I think with all roads being privately owned the idea that roads would primarily be owned by stores or factories just doesn’t make sense, especially when you consider the tendency of companies toward alternate service delivery. Why on earth would Wal Mart spend millions of dollars owning, maintaining and controlling roads when its focus & niche is household consumer products? Not saying that they couldn’t but just that it’s unlikely they would, after all they don’t currently plow or maintain their parking lots…

Anyway.

In order to control and generate revenue from the roads they own the Road Companies (RC) would need to be able to assess use. In order to do this fairly the RC would have to be able to assess the frequency and type of use. In order to maximize their profit the RC would have to make this process as transparent to the user as possible and as seamless between one RC and another as possible.

Due to the nature of roads, all roads, the ability to control access is limited. Building a barrier along each section of road or street to prevent unauthorized use would be cost prohibitive. The solution then is to control the means by which roads are used, namely the motor vehicle.

Someone earlier in the topic suggested vehicle registration as a method to do this and I agree. But in order to assess actual use and type of use this method of payment would by necessity have to be retroactive. Here is how I see the whole system working.

All motor vehicles would be fitted with a GPS transponder that tracks the location and distance traveled by the vehicle according to road ownership. By this I mean that where RC “A” owns a series or section of road the GPS in the vehicle, working as a transponder notes when it is on that Company’s road. As soon as the vehicle moves onto a road controlled by Company "B" then that is noted by the transponder as well. In addition though, and to ensure equitable billing for the road customer the GPS/transponder would also track the distance the user travels on the road.

All this information would be stored on the vehicle in some sort of tamper proof attachment. Once a year, when the owner of the motor vehicle registers his vehicle the data from the GPS transponder is downloaded and the cost of the travel is calculated according to the prices set by the individual RC’s and the actual usage of their roads. This fee would become the cost (retroactive) of ensuring your vehicle for the next year.

Please note that the “registration” of the vehicles is NOT a government function but a function of the RC’s working in co-operation to ensure their self interests are met. However the information stored on the GPS/transponder would be useful to police who could request a warrant for the data from a specific vehicle if there was probable cause…

So some will say, “what about if someone doesn’t register their vehicle?” Well that eventuality would be ultimately decided by courts, but there is no reason why RC’s couldn’t or wouldn’t control the usage and security of their property though the use of private traffic security. Same as any other temporary use commodity such as a rental car, the RC would have the right to impose rules regulating the use of their property including speed limits and requirements for registration/operational GPS/Transponders.

A great deal of this topic has centered on rights of way and easements. Here is how I see these issues.

First off, hypothetically if Joe owns a piece of land and builds a road to connect to the privately owned road network then there is no doubt that the road he built on his property is his property and he has every right to deny or grant the use of it.

If Bill buys a piece of land past Joe’s (read farther from the road) and does not confirm that he has deeded or contractual access, and Joe refuses Bill permission to cross his land to get to the road, then Bill is shit out of luck. Buyer beware! Any other solution is a violation of Joe’s right to property.

So, let’s say that Joe, being the nice guy he is, allows Bill to have deeded access. Further lets say our fictional location of “Highway Hollow” experiences a population explosion. Pretty soon, Joe, being the nice guy he is, has deeded access of his road to an entire community.

Soon the road is being traveled and worn and people start complaining to Joe that it’s in poor shape and he really should take better care of it. The logical result of this would be that Joe would begin to look for some enterprising soul to buy the road from him. He doesn’t want or need the hassle. All he wants to do is raise Dobermans and fire his guns.

The property, being Joe’s and Joe’s alone would be his and only his to sell. Once sold the “easement” granted by Joe to the other residents of Highway Hollow would be null and void and each user of the road would either have to negotiate a permanent easement with the newly formed RC, pay on a per use basis, or find another way to get to his property.

I know, "what if the deeds were worded in such a way that the easement was in perpetuity?" Then in all likelihood Joe would never be able to sell that road because no company would buy a road if they could not expect to be paid for the service. Again buyer, or in this case owner beware. This could lead to a community owned/operated road but again anyone that didn’t agree to pay their share could be denied use of the road.

So what about the worst case scenario? What if you buy a piece of property with no access to a road and someone else buys all the property surrounding yours and refuses you the right to cross their property… What are you stupid? Why on earth would you buy land and not ENSURE that you had access to it? Buyer Beware!!!

NB. There is no provision for protection from stupidity in a truly capitalistic society. That mindset is a construct of the socialism and collectivism that has been forced into our societies framework by the same people that claim to this day that Communism is “a perfect form of government because everyone is equal and everyone has access to the means and method of production…”

:dough:

What about the eco-nut scenario, where a group buys a portion of land just in order to hinder growth, commerce or what have you?

Well, I know it seems like there are a lot of these nuts out there but I seriously doubt that there are enough to seriously hinder any growth. Like water, capitalism will always find a way to seep in/through/around the damn idiots. (pun intended :D)

Also in a capitalistic society anyone who did this/belonged to a group that did this, could just as easily be denied the ability to buy food from an affected grocery store, or purchase gas from Jim’s gas station which has to get it’s fuel carted in “the long way around” etc, etc, etc… There is always more than one way to skin a cat and I think personal responsibility for ones actions would be a blessed consequence of a completely capitalistic society.

I would think that the concept of innocent use would be sufficient to allow non commercial pedestrian traffic like kids rif=ding bikes or folks going for a walk. Bicycle couriers and the like though I would think would be subject to charges.

So, anyone see any problems with my theory?

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You just said it yourself: "You may have to work out a "right of way" agreement.

An agreement presumes two parties agreeing. What if they don't agree???

If you say an agreement must be made, then an agreement must be made.

But what if one isnt? Do you have the right to force an agreement??

Doesn't the property become virtually valueless if there is no access to it?

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Doesn't the property become virtually valueless if there is no access to it?

Again... Buyer beware!! If you place yourself in a position where your land can be rendered valueless then it is no ones fault but your own.

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Usually when land is subdivided, the subdivider takes care of this--either the lot is a "flagpole" or (as in my case) the southerly 30 of property is an access easment for the people to my west. I technically own the land but I have to leave it clear for them to drive on (they also get the northern 30 feet of the lot to my south). If I were to buy the lot to my south I could build a gate across the road and graze cattle on the two parcels, including the road, but the people to my west must be allowed to drive through.

I am not quite sure why they did it this way. The road running along my east property line is *not* on an easement; I do not own that land at all.

Granted, ensuring all of this takes some *foresight* on the part of the subdivider.

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Usually when land is subdivided, the subdivider takes care of this--either the lot is a "flagpole" or (as in my case) the southerly 30 of property is an access easment for the people to my west. I technically own the land but I have to leave it clear for them to drive on (they also get the northern 30 feet of the lot to my south). If I were to buy the lot to my south I could build a gate across the road and graze cattle on the two parcels, including the road, but the people to my west must be allowed to drive through.

I am not quite sure why they did it this way. The road running along my east property line is *not* on an easement; I do not own that land at all.

Granted, ensuring all of this takes some *foresight* on the part of the subdivider.

And these provisions are written into your deed correct? Had they not been, you and you alone would have the right to deny or grant access.

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Not all easements are in deeds. In most states, they are recorded like deeds in the property registers. Finding them is the purpose of a title search.

~Q

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Not all easements are in deeds. In most states, they are recorded like deeds in the property registers. Finding them is the purpose of a title search.

~Q

Fair enoug. It doesn't change the premise though.

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