This Land is Your Land. This Land is My Land
A Tale of Horror from the Boonies
For a year now, Linda and Bob have looked forward to coming up over Easter to spend some time on their blackberry hill. Over the past few years, they have purchased first one lot, then three, then all but one adjoining lots on the hilltop where they will someday build a retirement home. Owning all that, they were protected against someone building so close as to spoil their views or the wonderful privacy of their mountaintop retreat.
And so finally, last week, they made the long drive up from New Orleans, down the county roads of Floyd and at last they turned into the gravel lane to their place. They rounded the bend in anticipation. Ah, the peaceful countryside! And YIKES! Someone had built a road across not one but two of their lots--onto the one unpurchased piece that was so steep no one in their right mind would ever build on it. And building he was. The foundation of this guy's future house was being backhoed and jackhammered even as Linda and Bob pulled up to the top of their once-quiet hill. Imagine the sinking feeling realizing their future home and bozo's would be separated by maybe two hundred feet on their "protected" twenty acres.
It seems our hapless wannabe country-dweller could not be bothered with details. One corner property line is pretty much like the next so, let's start the road...um, HERE looks good. And slanting up across not one but two lots that he does not own he begins to chainsaw trees to mark the gentle grade of his driveway. The poor excavators--neighbors of mine--put the road where he marked it, assuming someone would know with great precision what belonged to them versus what belonged to others not there to defend their property. At least that's the way we what lives here do things. The hard-working fellas were mortified when Bob confronted them yesterday and told them what had happened. They promptly stopped work (having already dug quite a pit into granite bedrock for the future basement) and called Clueless Owner to tell what had happened. Sometime last night, Rightful Owners and Trespasser had one interesting conversation that I imagine I will hear about later today.
Here's the crunch: Goober's one narrow lot has a small bit of road frontage. But it is so steep between the road and the top of the hill where he is building, there is not way to get there--unless you angle the road across two pieces of property you don't own. It is worthless for building if all you own is that one lot, and Goober should have figured that out before he envisioned his dream home there and spent $10K. My guess is, after paying to restore the road and paying damages (consider all the trees he cut down!) he'd do well to give the property to my friends for what ever out of the goodness of their hearts they might pay him (and NOT MUCH I'd say would be fair). And they will already have a nice, deep duck pond where the dingbat's basement is cut into solid rock. They could raise trout!
There will be more to this terrible tale, I feel sure. And in the end, things will work out, scars will heal, and we'll all laugh about it in ten years or so (but not tonight over dinner in town). Meanwhile, Bozo the Bulldozer is going to be having a very, very bad day and may end up institutionalized in the Home for the Criminally Stupid.