Legality of hostile parking on my property

Inspired by this news story.

I gotta admire this guy for taking a stand, but I also recognize his dumbassery for having a shotgun and waving it at the crew when they tried to retrieve their mowers.

Do I, as a property owner, have to submit to highwy departments or their contractors parking their equipment on my property without permission? What recourse do I have when they do?

I realize, under NC law, if I find someone actively trespassing, I cannot bar them from leaving in order to facilitate an arrest. I also fear that equipment parked on my land and outside of the highway easement makes me responsible for it’s safekeeping while it’s there. The easement is 10 feet from the edge of the road, but that’s all taken up by the (significantly deep and wide) ditch. The flat land suitable for parking is mine alone.

I have a small hobby farm, and I constantly deal with unauthorized people using my land as they see fit for parking, turning around, etc. Frequently they cause damage to my property in the form of tire ruts and dislodged groundcover, and I’m tired as hell of it. The next asshole hunter that parks his truck in my yard will find the driveways blocked, and he’ll have to get out through the 2+ foot deep ditch.

The state highway department and the paving contractors are notorious for leaving equipment where they please, and they don’t care about the ruts and dripping asphalt they leave behind. Fortunately they haven’t done it to me yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

What are the general legal principles regarding this?

FWIW, the news article happened about 20 miles from my home, but in Virginia.

Could you have a trespass tow performed?

I’m sure I could for a POV, but I doubt they’d touch something big, yellow, and showing NCDOT on the side.

Try calling the local traffic enforcement authority for kicks.
Could be a fun conversation…

I think that, in California, if you live out in the country, and have power line pylons that are on your property, the electric company can come on your property to do maintenance on them. They don’t have to tell you ahead of time, and can leave their vehicles there.

Sounds like you need two gates. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, that fits the notion of “right of way,” which is doubtless the legal concept we’re poking around the edges of with this thread.
I suspect the answer to the OP may be closely related to how far from the public roads/highways these vehicles are being operated and stored.

In many (most?) places, the utility would indeed have a formal, recorded right of way that allows them the access they need to maintain their lines.

That’s called an easement. My present property has one under the electrical line, and another for the road shoulder and drainage ditch.

I do not know what NC law states; when I lived in Indiana, I had to provide access for the utilities people to work on the lines and pipes, including equipment while they are actively working. Stopping for the end of the day was not included in the definition of actively working.

Whey don’t you bury sharp things like knives or something so if someone parks POP goes the tire.

Of course I reckon you’d have to do it in a way to prevent injuries to people walking. Maybe you could use broken glass or something

In the more urban area surrounding Boston, MA, many businesses have signs “Unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owners expense”. You might check if that is legally viable in your area, and also find a towing comnpany willing to assist you.

Regarding state/local construction companies, we don’t to my knowledge have the same adversarial relationship at least in my town. I don’t know what they can do ‘by right’ but the Town seems willing to accomodate the property owner’s wishes as far as practical, and to correct any damage they create (like, filling and re-seeding ruts in lawns.)

I’m not sure that broken glass is ranked higher on the safety scale compared to knives.

You don’t want to puncture tires of vehicles that you want off of your property. You’re only inviting it to stay longer (until they can replace the tire) or inviting more vehicles (if it’s a specialty and must be towed).

I’m not an expert in legal matters, but here are my logical assumptions in this matter:

In Oregon, a person does not trespass unless there were prior warning that they are not permitted on the property. Your first step in taking action against unwelcome people on your land might be to post conspicuous signage warning people.

The second step might be to have the unauthorized vehicles towed at the owners expense.

Now, you bring up a good point that tow companies might not be keen on towing state owned vehicles. In this case, you might only be able to recover the damages done to your property by bringing the case before a claims court.

My personal method of dealing with the situation would be to kindly ask the people to move their vehicle and not attempt to use my property again. Experience has taught me that involving authorities in personal matters usually results in tears for both parties involved.

My place is conspicuously posted. Hasn’t stopped the assholes yet.

Maybe I need to put up new signs. 'Tresspassers Will Be Eaten."

My amateur advice:

  1. Call your local sheriff or police department. Ask them what the law is and what you can do. That way, at least they’ll be OK with what you’re doing, and you’ve established that you’re trying to deal with the problem through the proper channels.
    Now local police may be reluctant to do anything about highway crews, but it’s worth a shot. Especially if the crews are contractors (as opposed to actual gov’t employees), then they’re fair game for anyone. If the state troopers have jurisdiction at your property, they might (might) be willing to get a town highway crew to move.

  2. If the problem is government highway crews, start calling whoever you vote for that has authority over the crews (city councillor, county commissioner, whatever). Ask them to fix the problem.

  3. Talk to a lawyer, who – if they’re competent – will probably want to start with sending a mildly threatening letter to the highway department. Hopefully that will fix the problem.