Christensen v. City of Pocatello

142 Idaho 132, 124 P.3d 1008 (2005)

 

RULE:

Unless the terms of the servitude provide otherwise, an appurtenant easement or profit may not be used for the benefit of property other than the dominant estate.

FACTS:

The road was platted and dedicated as a public city road but had never been used as such. Appellant landowners owned lots on both sides and the property was subject to a 30 foot roadway and utility easement. The respondent City proposed an expansion of a nearby recreational walking and biking path over the road and easement and appellant initiated an action to prevent this. Appellants alleged that the easement is a private easement and that the public's use of it as part of the Greenway would unlawfully increase the burden on their servient property. The District Court ruled in favor of the City, issuing an order allowing the City to proceed with its plans. The landowners appealed. The district court's ruling with respect to the easement was reversed. Otherwise, the district court's judgment was affirmed

ISSUE:

Was it proper for the City to extend the easement as a public biking and walking path?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Idaho Code § 50-314 permitted the City to limit traffic on the road to bicycles and pedestrians. However, the supreme court held that the proposed change in use of the easement, from a virtually unused ingress/egress easement serving a specific dominant parcel, to part of a thoroughfare open to the public for recreation purposes, was inconsistent with the purpose of the easement. The easement was not intended to serve the purpose proposed by the City.

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