Easement problem: Woman calls 12 for help

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A homeowner called 12 on Your Side for help about getting three utility boxes, smack in the middle of her backyard moved someplace else. We visited her home and found they are in a most unusual place.

What seems like a simple problem is somewhat complicated. It's really a fight over easements and rights-of-way. An easement gives utility companies the right to access and in this case, depending on who's right, the easement is a good portion of Wanda's yard.

Wanda Bennett three utility pedestals are in her backyard. She's complained to Ryan Homes, to relocate them, so they're in line with her neighbors - in a common area, outside their fences, not in their yards.

"I'm going to have to put a fence around 3 utility units," said Wanda. "Where's my kids gonna play at, are they going to lean on those?"

Here's what we've learned. Those conspicuous pedestals would cost about $2,000 each to move and nobody's jumping to pay. Verizon says it's investigating to see if the pedestals are within the easement.

Dominion and Comcast, both, say they are. Comcast says it wasn't aware of the problem until we alerted them Tuesday but, will work to find a viable option for Wanda.

"Every time I call Dominion Power, they point the finger at Ryan; Ryan points the finger at the developer," said Wanda.

Dominion says the pedestals were placed, on what they thought would always be a vacant lot, not someone's yard. An attorney for Ryan Homes has not answered our e-mail. But, in a letter to Wanda, says, it will install a fence, plant shrubs, but will not pay any expenses to have the pedestals moved.

"On my deed, it actually shows my easement right here. It's like on an edge, right out here, that's what my deed says," Wanda said.

But, two of the three utilities say the pink flags show the easement taking up a big part of her yard.

"I am being mistreated," she said.

Wanda says a neighbor had the same problem, and Ryan Homes relocated the pedestals. She says she wants the same thing. Wanda's neighbors are on her side. About 30 of them sent letters of support to Ryan Homes. We'll let you know the utilities decide.

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