Gates ready to bar vehicles from back areas
Posts for new gates have appeared on one side of Lake Clementia.
The Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers, owner of property around the back lakes of Murieta North and along the Cosumnes River, is putting up three gates to close off vehicle access to some of the undeveloped area. People on foot and bicyclists will continue to have access at this time, Security Chief Greg Remson said Wednesday. "They're mainly after the cars right now," he said. The gates will be kept closed and locked.
The gates are being installed to address safety and liability issues that have been a longstanding concern because of the potential for fire and for accidents in the area, Remson said. One gate is being installed on the southeast side of Bass and two are being installed at the east end of Clementia levee, he said. The gates will not affect access to Lake Clementia Park.
The PTF posted "no trespassing" signs at the entrance to its properties in the back area in 2010, following complaints about nighttime parties and bonfires. Some residents interpreted the signs as an attempt to keep residents out of the area entirely, but, according to Remson, that wasn't the case. "There's an easement to get back to the lake for RMA members and that hasn't changed," he said at the time.
The PTF deeded Calero, Clementia and other park sites to the RMA under the terms of the Mutual Benefit Agreement, and the park access easements are part of the agreement.
By the looks of these gates, they should last about a week.
What concerns me is the "for now" comment in the story. Am I to look forward to a point where the PTF, Mr. Sullivan or some other entity tells me I cannot walk or ride my bike in the back area?
I believe our residents have a right of easement on that property. I am not particularly concerned over vehicle access, but if our right to access that property on foot is in question, that is another matter.
I would appreciate it if RMA/ CSD would solicit a statement from PTF on exactly what is their ultimate intent concerning access. To this point, I thought all this was merely Mr. Sullivan blowing smoke at a CSD meeting. Now, we see pictures of a gate. RMA/CSD should also advise the PTF, in writing, what we believe our rights to be concerning use of this property. Left unadressed, I can guarantee us a future mis-understanding. Wouldn't it be cute if some Mom and her 5 year old were arrested for picking blackberries?
Is this the beginning of limiting access to the open space around RM? Our family uses the road to drive our car next to the river and put in our raft on the Cosumnes. It appears this will now be about a 1/2 mile walk to the beach area on the north just west of the diversion dam where we put in and obviously a place we can no longer use.
I'm sure it is a matter of time before bikes will be limited and then pedestrians.
RMA should research this and represent the community to prohibit access to the roads we have been driving and walking on for years. Regardless of what our maps and CC&Rs say, we also have rights to a prescriptive easement thru adverse posession.
EASEMENTS ACQUIRED BY USE OF PROPERTY Someone can acquire an easement over another's land for a particular purpose if he uses the land hostilely, openly, and continuously for a set period of time. These terms are explained in "Requirements for Obtaining Land by Adverse Possession," above. The length of use required varies from state to state and is often the same--ten or twenty years-- as that for adverse possession (acquiring ownership of land by occupying it). An easement acquired in this way is called a "prescriptive easement."
COMPARING PRESCRIPTIVE EASEMENTS AND ADVERSE POSSESSION Depending on the circumstances and on state law, someone who uses another's property may eventually gain ownership of the property (by adverse possession) or gain the right to use part of the proprety for a particular purpose (prescriptive easement). To gain ownership of someone else's land, a trespasser must occupy it hostilely, openly, exclusively and continuously for a certain period of time set by state law. Some states require that the trespasser also pay the property taxes on the land during the period. The requirements are much the same for a prescriptive easement: For instance, if the trespasser abandons the use for several years and then goes back to it, the element of continuity is missing, and no easement will have been created. If a prescriptive easement is challenged in court, and one of the elements is missing, there is no easement. But there are also important differences. First, payment of property taxes is never necessary for a successful prescriptive easement claim. In states that require the payment of property taxes to obtain ownership by a trespasser, courts will grant the trespasser a prescriptive easement, but not ownership, when all requirements have been met except paying the taxes. Also, to acquire a prescriptive easement a trespasser does not need to be the only one using the land. A trespasser can gain the easement when others are also using the property--even the owner. It follows that more than one person can acquire a prescriptive easement in the same portion of land. Example: One of the most common ways in which several neighbors gain a prescriptive easement is by using a driveway or road on another's land for many years without being challenged by the owner. This was the result in a Washington state case when neighbors treated a driveway as their own for 40 years, finally expanding it into a road. When the owner tried to reclaim the area, the court ruled in favor of the neighbors-- they had established a legal right to the road by prescriptive easement.(9) Courts sometimes appear more willing to grant a prescriptive easement than actual ownership (through adverse possession) to a trespasser. The results are far less drastic for the owner. The easement does not take away the ownership of the property; it only requires the owner to allow the particular use of the property by somebody else.
ESTABLISHING A PRESCRIPTIVE EASEMENT Typically, a prescriptive easement is created when someone uses land for access, such as a driveway or beach path or shortcut. But many times, a neighbor has simply begun using a part of the adjoining property. He may have farmed it or even have built on it. After the time requirement is met, the trespasser gains a legal right to use the property. When the trespassing is done by the public, a public right to use property can be created. It is often called an "implied dedication" instead of a prescriptive easement. A public dedication is often created if an owner allows the city or county to make improvements or maintain a portion of his land.(10) For example, the owner of beachfront property may let the county pave her private drive, which is used by many people for access to the beach. The public would then gain a right to use the drive. When disputes over prescriptive easements find their way into court, judges vary on what kind of use of someone's property justifies creation of an easement. Some courts find that simply using a strip of land regularly for a shortcut is enough for a prescriptive easement. But some are very reluctant to grant rights on someone else's land and require the use to be substantial. Example: In a lawsuit over a garage built partly on a neighbor's land in Indiana, a court gave the garage owner a prescriptive easement allowing him to use the three feet of garage on the neighbor's property. But it denied one for the grass and strip beside it, even though the trespasser had mowed it and treated it as his own for over forty years.(11) The building of a structure, in this case the garage, was a substantial enough use to create a prescriptive easement, but just mowing the strip of grass was not.
Mr. Sullivan, despite your claims that we will all be pleased with the new developer buyers you represent of remaining undeveloped PTF properties, this doesn't look good. Is this the new PCCP entity recently reported buying those PTF properties? Who owns that easement road on the Clementia dam levee, in fact the dam(CSD, RMA, PTF, PCCP?), and who authorized placement of that locked gate at the entrance? Also, that 40 acres below the Clementia Dam was deeded in futurity to RMA in the MBA, so how can you restrict RMA members from their own property by whatever conveyance they choose? BTW, it is noted that PTF built a sewer in that 40 acre RMA property; who approved that? Really bad PR for you Mr. Sullivan, for PTF and for PCCP; you had better come clean with us.
The Public Reports (which are filed at CA. State Dept of Real Estate) and are given with title for all houses in the North, and some in the south, include a clause which allows residents to cross the undeveloped land to get to both the lakes and the river. This is likely pedestrian related.
However, the signs that went up before the gates threatened to arrest residents for daring to walk across the property.
More developer antics.
And on a side note, they are part of the development group that County Supervisor Roberta Macglashan strongly supported, against residents, at hearings. The district needs Murieta neighbor, and woman of integrity, Julie Sams, for Supervisor! Check her out at www.VoteJulieSams.com and on facebook.
I wouldn't put any air into John Sullivan's sail, he is a non entity and should simply be ignored.
We need to go after our rights and lock them down for good. RMA should direct their attorney to review our ability to pursure a Prescriptive Easement. This is a low cost option that should be relatively easy to obtain. I am positive that Rod's maintenance crew or contractors over the years have helped to maintain certain roadways and all the residents over the last forty years have accessed the roadways in and around the Planned Unit Development (PUD) on foot and with vehicles with the full knowledge of the PTF and their agents.
I don't even know who the President of our Association is at present, but we should put pressure on him or her to act quickly. They could at leat get an injuction to stop the construction of the gates until a hearing on the issue is completed. I find it hard to believe our BOD's wern't forwarned on this issue and have been silent.
What is the BOD's opinion on this issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Regarding the questions about PCCP: my understanding is, PCCP is simply the financial group who loaned the money to R&B when they borrowed against the Riverview acreage.
PCCP got the land back by default.
R&B borrowed 11 million from PCCP on property at Riverview after R&B paid only $2,000 to acquire the acreage at a crazy court house auction. Long story.
So, in essence, PCCP did not buy the property, it came back to them by default when R&B stopped making payments. Sort of like a bank foreclosure.
As for PCCP building in Murieta. As for as I'm concerned, it's just more smoke and mirrors. Never. Gonna. Happen.
Dear RMA Board,
What is the position of the RMA Board in regards to the new gates being put up to deny access to the open space and the Cosumnes river in Rancho Murieta?
According to an article on ranchomurieta.com the gates are being put up for safety reasons. This seems a draconian move and quite honestly an attempt by PTF to slowly remove our easement rights to the river and open space. I am particularly concerned with the gate being put up to deny vehicle traffic to the beach area and river on the north side of the river just west of Granlees dam. I know many residents use the road to access this area by car and cart for various activities such as sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, kayaking, rafting and fishing. Many of these activities require a vehicle to move play and recreation equipment to that cannot be moved a ½ mile by bike or walking. In addition many residents are either too young, old or infirm to safely walk ½ mile to the established beach area which in turn would deny them access to the river. I would remind you the beach area has a cleared parking area, garbage cans and information board that establishes it as a recreation area. I have used the area myself since 1986.
If this is truly a safety issue I can understand denying vehicle access from dusk to dawn much like we limit access to the parks. I do not believe a safety case can be made for denying vehicle traffic to and thru the area during daylight hours.
I would request that RMA seek clarification from the PTF and CSD on specific reasons and legalities of denying easement rights to residents to the open areas of Rancho Murieta and especially the river. I don’t believe any RMA land abuts the Cosumnes River and further erosion of easement rights will hinder all residents from gaining access to the jewel of Rancho Murieta, the Cosumnes river. I would also request that vehicle traffic be allowed to access the parking lot at the beach area on the north during daylight hours.
Lot 523 South
I too am very disturbed by the sight of gates at Lake Clementia. And I agree wholeheartedly with previous posts that suggest our attorneys get to work on this! Putting up steel gates is not how a friendly land owner behaves toward those who have easement rights to the property. Putting up gates is a hostile and provocative act! An act that deserves a ROBUST legal response that cements our rights to the land from any kind of aggression like this in the future. Personally, I would be all for suing to enforce our rights to this land if need be. And anyone looking to buy, in the process of buying or in any other way related to this open space needs to know that they are going to have a relentless fight on their hands if they to block our access with so much as a single pebble blocking the way!!! Can you tell that those gates are not working for me???
I have also noticed new posts just like these (I think they're new) on the dirt road off of De La Cruz. If uyou are heading up Murieta Pkwy from the gate, turn right on De La Cruz, the dirt road almost immediately on the left that goes up the hill has had steel posts installed on it. I haven't seen a cable or gate installed and the posts have been there for a few months as far as I know. Is this more of the same?
Also, I couldn't tell you who is on our BOD either, but I am interested in finding out now because of this topic. I think it's time for more of us to become involved. I see a lot of time being spent on the Pool facility project that some say is being forced down our throats but I have not seen one word from our BOD regarding a perceived or real threat to our access of open space or efforts aimed at protecting our rights to access the open space and the "Jewel of Murieta" Cosumnes River. I would like to see the board get right on this. I'd like to know each member's position on this subject and I would like to know the answer to the question posed earlier:
"WHO APPROVED THOSE POSTS?"
ps. Candy, as usual, you are awesome!
I don’t always agree with Michael Burnett's legalese, but he’s 100% on the mark this time in regards easement. A good adage would be, “If you don’t use it, you loose it”, and this is probably the PTF’s end game.
This is the most likely scenario:
First, put up posts and let people get use to it. Then chain it closed, now you have stemmed half the traffic. They don’t put up any signage this time, this neither condones or denies remaining traffic. Later, mark it close off to all passage with the logic that the gate was there all this time and was meant to stop all egress at that point in time.
The point is, this has to be taken to task and address immediately.
Another thing, look at the wording from the PTF and the security chief’s interpretation.
I don’t know how much is verbatim, but the phrase“ right now” in the statement: "They're mainly after the cars right now," and the phrase “at this time” in the statement: “People on foot and bicyclists will continue to have access at this time” is VERY concerning.
My father has a health condition and can no longer walk very far, yet he loves to go out to the lakes with his golf cart, dog and cell phone. I would hate to see him loose one of his favorite activities.
One last question, what would the loss of access to these areas do to the property values? I bet it won’t help.
Time for a little disobedience?
Good one Will. Yet seems "copper cutters" already at work here on CSD H2O electrical facilities. If Security wants my help, I'd be happy to issue those "copper cutters" the largest pair of metallic bolt cutters I could find, and then give them a one-way chauffered ride to the nearest super voltage high-lines where they could climb and cut to their hearts content in the richest copper fields around. More to home, I believe those "posts" at Clementia dam have been there a long time, and contrary to CSD Security's Remson, they are on the west end of the dam/levee road, not the east end PTF properties. Residents have been using that road for a long time to get to fishing holes surrounding Clementia, particularly at the east end of the levee, and beyond to the river sites. Doesn't RMA/CSD own that dam/levee/park area to include the complete shoreline of Clementia lake up to a certain point beyond water level? So aren't Mr. Hamell, Burnett, et al correct in easement rights to all residents? Also, who approved putting chain/locks across those west-end posts, and why is CSD Security just now acting as a developer enforcer?