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Homeowner Wins Easement Access Rights Across National Forest Land

Land easement cases can be really tricky, especially when they involve local, state or federal governments. This case is between a Colorado mountain homeowner and the U.S. Forest Service, and it concerns the agreement they arrived at in a road easement access conflict so that the homeowner could cross federal land to access his property.

According to court documents, Eaden Shantay, who owns the house located at 60 Larkspur Mountain Road in Pitkin County outside of Aspen, reached a settlement in May.

The Dispute over Easement Access Rights: The Details of the Case 

snow covered mountain road

The following details were collected from local news reports and court documents:

  • Shantay brought a suit in U.S. District Court against the Forest Service in December of 2015.
  • The homeowner’s lawsuit alleges the Forest Service reneged on a 1998 agreement to give easement access over the White River National Forest land so that the homeowner can get to the home.
  • After buying the home in 2002 for $975,000, Shantay built a home on the property in 2008.
  • The lawsuit alleges that the previous homeowner conveyed 10 acres of the property to the Forest Service in 1998, in return the Forest Service allegedly granted the previous landowner easement rights.
  • Shantay eventually learned the private road easement was not on file with the Forest Service.
  • Shantay filed an application for easement in 2012. The Forest Service initially declined Shantay’s claim and characterized Shantay’s version of the 1998 easement agreement story as an “offer” only, but that no agreement had ever been reached.

The Resolution

The Forest Service eventually granted Shantay easement access rights, but it didn’t come without a fight:

  •  “But I was worried that if I gave him an easement, there wouldn’t be enough space to park for both private users and outfitters to reserve that space,” said Scott Fitzgerald, supervisor of the White River National Forest. “We have that space for the public to enjoy that part of the forest.”
  • Finally, Fitzgerald and several workers went out, measured the area, and surveyed it as well. They found they were able to accommodate Shantay’s easement access needs.
  • There was no financial exchange over the agreement.
  • Under terms of the agreement, the Forest Service will allow Shantay to go across an easement to gain access to his private driveway.
  • The U.S. District Judge wrote an order of dismissal and signed it on May 20th, which states both parties will pay their own court costs and attorneys fees.

Contact a Denver Real Estate Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

If you need help resolving easement access disputes or asserting your easement access rights, it's time to contact Denver Real Estate Attorney Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their litigation, easement, property tax and real estate legal issues.

Our dedication to our clients, coupled with our extensive experience handling complex matters of real estate and business law, means that our clients can always trust that we will aggressively protect their rights and help them achieve the best possible outcomes to their sensitive legal matters.

Our Denver Real Estate Attorney encourages you to learn more about your rights and options, as well as our various services, by calling us at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From our law offices in Centennial, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.

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