Samuel A Rodabough’s Answers

Samuel A Rodabough

Bellevue Land Use / Zoning Attorney.

Contributor Level 7
  1. Developer cut down trees on shared property line

    Answered 8 months ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    3. Thuong-Tri Nguyen
    4. Bradley E. Neunzig
    4 lawyer answers

    First, ownership of the trees must be determined. A survey would reveal if the trunks of the trees are wholly located on either of your properties, or whether they are truly straddling the property line. Second, once ownership of the trees has been determined, basic principles of property law must be applied. If the six trees are located wholly on the developer's property, with limited exception, the developer would be permitted to remove them, and you would have no legal recourse. If...

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  2. Can a person whose property is burdened by a non exclusive road easement eliminate it by claiming adverse possession?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Samuel Michael Meyler
    3. Michael T Millar
    3 lawyer answers

    It is doubtful that adverse possession applies under these circumstances. For purposes of this response, I will assume that the access easement is recorded on title. Based upon the other limited facts that you have provided, it appears that the access easement has never been opened (i.e., it has never been improved or otherwise used for its intended purpose to provide access). In Washington, the owner of the property burdened by an easement (also known as the “fee” owner) is legally entitled...

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  3. We have a Private Road and Utility Easement ( 60 foot wide). Can porperty owner build fence inside this easement?

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Robert Emmett West JR
    3. Rand L. Koler
    3 lawyer answers

    I generally agree with Messrs. Koler and West. However, because these types of questions appear to arise often, it may be beneficial to take a step back and explain the nature of the specific property interests involved. When the nature of these property interests are fully understood, the legal doctrines related to them make a whole lot more sense. In particular, an “easement” is a limited right to use the property of another for a specific purpose. The owner of the underlying...

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  4. A neighbor came onto my property, cut down and removed 4 80ft trees. Is this criminal tresspass?

    Answered almost 3 years ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell
    3. Samuel Michael Meyler
    4. Steven Alan Fink
    4 lawyer answers

    The matter could be prosecuted criminally, although the particular charge would be up to the prosecuting attorney that pursues the matter. However, prosecuting attorneys, who often have large caseloads, may decline to pursue criminal charges for lack of evidence, or if they believe an adequate civil remedy exists, among other reasons. With respect to a civil prosecution, you may have a claim for timber trespass under RCW 64.12.030, if you can prove that the neighbor removed the trees...

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  5. Can I take "adverse possession" over property owned by my HOA?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Katie Jean Comstock
    3. Ryan Vancil Esq
    3 lawyer answers

    I respectfully disagree with Ms. Comstock and Mr. Vancil. It appears doubtful that you could obtain title to this greenbelt via adverse possession. The Growth Management Act, chapter 36.70A RCW, contains a section that prohibits adverse possession of such greenbelts as follows: "The legislature recognizes that the preservation of urban greenbelts is an integral part of comprehensive growth management in Washington. The legislature further recognizes that certain greenbelts are subject to...

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  6. Does Adverse Possession transfer between new owners of property.

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Elizabeth Smith-Chavez
    3. Shawn B Alexander
    3 lawyer answers

    In Washington, one of the required elements for establishing either adverse possession or a prescriptive easement, is continuous use of the disputed area for a certain period of years which, with limited exception, is typically 10 years. However, under the doctrine of "tacking," the 10-year period does not need to be continuous possession by the same person. Instead, a claimant can "tack" their period of possession onto the period of their predecessor in interest in order to make up...

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  7. Can a city charge anything they want for building permits?

    Answered 4 months ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Shawn B Alexander
    3. Robert Daniel Kelly
    4. Kevin H. Pate
    4 lawyer answers

    In Washington, the amount that a local jurisdiction can charge for a building permit is expressly limited by statute. Specifically, under RCW 82.02.020, a local jurisdiction’s authority to impose a building permit fee is limited to “collecting reasonable fees from an applicant for a permit or other governmental approval to cover the cost to the city, town, county, or other municipal corporation of processing applications, inspecting and reviewing plans, or preparing detailed statements...

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  8. Do i have to move my fence because of a property line dispute?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Robert Emmett West JR
    3. Shawn B Alexander
    3 lawyer answers

    In Washington State, a property owner may obtain title to adjoining property via "adverse possession." In general, to prove adverse possession, a claimant must demonstrate that they possessed the disputed area in a manner that was: (1) exclusive; (2) open and notorious; (3) hostile; and (4) actual and uninterrupted for a period of 10 years. The 10-year period can be reduced to 7 years in some limited circumstances. Also, some of these elements may operate very different in practice than...

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  9. I started building a house, neighbor is claiming we're building on their property, claiming adverse possession.

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Nathan D Sukhia
    3. Cheryl Rivera Smith
    3 lawyer answers

    In Washington, a property owner may obtain title to adjoining property via "adverse possession." In general, to prove adverse possession, a claimant must demonstrate that they possessed the disputed property in a manner that was: (1) exclusive; (2) open and notorious; (3) hostile; and (4) actual and uninterrupted for a period of 10 years. The 10-year period can be reduced to 7 years in some limited circumstances. To complicate matters, many of these elements may operate very different in...

    3 lawyers agreed with this answer

  10. Regarding boundary tree ownership, how is the trunk of a tree defined legally?

    Answered over 2 years ago.

    1. Samuel A Rodabough
    2. Shawn B Alexander
    3. Kenneth Allyn Sprang
    3 lawyer answers

    The question may not be capable of a definitive answer under existing Washington jurisprudence. Remarkably, despite how commonplace this situation likely is, the law is not well developed in this area. In particular, this factual scenario appears to involve the intersection of two different legal principles. First, as indicated by others in this post, it is generally recognized that a property owner may, in most circumstances, cut encroaching branches and roots (only up to the property...

    3 lawyers agreed with this answer

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