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Law of Easements: Easements in Commercial Developments

Back To ArticlesRobert L. McCorkle, III
October 22, 2008

When designing the plans and preparing the documents for the creation of a real estate development, whether it be commercial or residential, it is impressive to consider the need for and effect of the creation of easements. This is at a minimum a two (2) step process. First, a developer, and his engineers, surveyors and attorneys must consider what easement rights are needed to make the development of the property possible. Do we need access from an adjoining property owner? Do we need water or sewer from an adjoining property owner or is it available from the municipality in the adjoining right of way? This step is fairly obvious and usually the developer is keenly focused on these issues. Second, consideration must be given to what easements are needed within the development to make it functional for the owners. Will there be common access? Will the shared facilities be located on the individual lots or will there be common area? Will there be shared storm water detention or will each lot maintain its own? While the developer is often times not laser focused on these issues, the engineers, surveyors, an most importantly, the attorney should be. These materials will focus on this second step. It is these questions that will primarily shape both the subdivision plat and the declaration of easements, covenants and restrictions for the development.

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