Keep tabs on what is happening around you

Neighbors' actions may have impact on your property and what you can do on your property.

A conversation took me down an interesting thought path this week.

Here is the backstory: About 5 years ago, we purchased a property just outside city limits. This would have been the next piece to be subdivided and developed, but the housing bubble burst and the project stalled. Uncertainty about estate taxes brought the property to sale one December. We bought it. When the city put in the drain to the adjacent property, it was brought to the corner of my farm and sized accordingly. We made some improvements in the farm and continue to farm it. I anticipate someday lots in the neighboring subdivisions will all be sold and my piece will be ready to develop.

The conversation: I was approached by a party who is considering purchasing some of the land adjoining me. They wanted to know if I would be interested in allowing them to build a retention pond on my property. The other question focused on the drain. If I was going to continue to farm my property, would I sign something to that effect. Bottom line is they needed more drainage area for their use than the development had planned for. The objective likely was to push some of that burden onto my property or use my capacity. I didn’t really take kindly to the question. I had no interest.

This got the wheels turning. It is necessary to always keep tabs on what is happening around you. From new neighbors ignorant to county restrictions on planting trees/shrubs on the property line, to a house well drilling rig who tries to drop a well on the property line, to the guy who raises grade 3 feet before building his house, you just never know what unintended impact will be forced on your property. Some of the issues can be headed off and are simple to deal with. Some are not. Take the well for instance. By law, we have the freedom to farm. However, by law we are also prohibited from certain activities within certain distances from water wells. So, when the neighbor instructs the well driller to put the well right beside the property line, where does that leave the farmer? Who is responsible? Has the farmer’s livelihood been damaged? Should land be forced out of production because of where the well is drilled?  Who is at fault? Food for thought…

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