A post for those searching for rural property or considering a move.
One issue that may be overlooked by people who live in town is the issue of easements and rights-of-way. These can take many forms. Public roads usually have a surveyed center line and a right-of-way on either side (In places I’ve lived it’s usually at least 30 feet in each direction, or minimum 60 feet wide). A landowner must allow access to the road and possibly allow staging of equipment or materials by the local government entity responsible for maintenance. Private roads may have different (smaller) width, or may be used by neighbors to reach “landlocked” parcels not accessible from public roadways. At a rural parcel, even your driveway may represent a significant length of road that needs to be maintained. In addition to public or private roads, utility services may have easements that may align with the road, but they don’t necessarily need to. These could be any of a number of utilities, such as power, phone, cable, fiber, or pipelines. Depending on your local regulations, landowners may have a variety of responsibilities for landscaping or plantings in the vicinity of their easements.
Our own situation includes telephone, buried power, about 300′ of driveway, and in our “neighborhood” about two miles of private road (shared among 7 residences). Coordinating road maintenance can be a challenge among neighbors, we are fortunate to have good ones who share the work and the expense. The section that we live in has an easement with the Public Power District for a power transmission line that may have consequences for our property if they reconfigure the line (message me if you are not familiar with the term section, as it relates to the PLSS, or Public Land Survey System).
Other regional (or national) lines exist for petroleum pipelines. We are not subject to gas or hazardous liquids pipeline easements at our property, but we have both not too far away. While the larger transmission and pipeline easements can cause some trepidation, they are not necessarily deal killers if you are well informed about the responsibilities they entail. For anyone interested in learning more about petroleum pipelines, you can check out the Education Circular that I co-authored a few years ago. It deals with Nebraska, but has information that should be useful wherever you live.