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The right to a permanent easement ordinarily is forever, unless terminated by an act of the parties (for example, abandonment, merger, or conveyance) or by operation of law, as in the case of forfeiture or otherwise.
Since the 1920's in rural Fayette County, several parcels of land, including the tract owned by Bobby and Wanda Scott, have benefitted from easements appurtenant to water from the Blue Springs Water System located on land owned by appellees, Long Valley Farm Kentucky, Inc., Andrew C. Rose, and Charles H. Moore (hereinafter collectively referred to as Long Valley.) The easements were expressly created by deed. In 1987, water service to the Scotts was interrupted. The Scotts complained to Long Valley, which responded by demanding payment of them. The Scotts filed suit for declaration of rights. The Circuit Court entered judgment in favor of Long Valley, extinguishing all rights of the Scotts in the Blue Springs water system. The Scotts appealed.
Did the circuit court err in extinguishing the servitude upon Long Valley’s land?
The court reversed the judgment and held that the circuit court should have enforced the terms of the easement. It was of no concern that the servient estate suffered an economic burden. Burdens were inherent features of servitudes. The court viewed the servitude as a permanent easement and held that such right was forever unless terminated by an act of the parties, by operation of law, or otherwise. The relative rights and obligations of the parties, by virtue of their ownership of the lands involved, were fixed by existing covenants at the time of their respective acquisitions, and there was no authority for judicial interference.