Peters Township Sanitary Authority -- Right of Way FAQs
Peters Township Sanitary Authority
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Right of Way FAQs

What is a right-of-way?

Right-of-way or easement is a legal term for the right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose.  Someone who holds a right-of-way may use or enter the land of the property owner, depending on the precise terms of the agreement.  A right-of-way may be for an entire parcel or over a small specifically described area.  A right-of-way does not grant any ownership rights, just the right to use the property for a specific purpose.  These rights may be granted on a temporary basis, or the rights may be permanent.

An example of a temporary easement would be the right to enter the land with construction equipment to construct a sewer line and repair property.  The easement expires when the specific purpose is complete.  A public sewer line running beneath the property with the right to maintain the sewer line is an example when a permanent easement is required.

Why do you need a right-of way?

 It has been determined that the best location for the sewer is on your property.  The location of gravity sewers are determined by the following issues:

  • Topography of the ground
  • Relationship to the house requiring service
  • Location of existing service utility lines (gas, water, etc.)
  • Location of other underground features (rock, septic tanks, etc.)
  • Location of existing rights of ways (PennDOT or Township roads etc.)
  • Location of above ground topographic features (large trees, garages, etc.)
  • It may be either impossible or very costly to construct the sewer in any other location.

Why is the sewer where it is and not on the property line where half of the right-of way would be on my property and the other half on my neighbors?

For the most part, topography dictates where the sewer goes.  Sometimes the property line is not feasible location due to grades, distances, or other reasons.

What is the typical width of the right-of-way?

The permanent right-of-way is 25-foot wide for the length of the sewer crossing property.  The right-of-way allows the Authority the right to enter upon the property to operate and maintain the sewers should it ever need repaired.  It is a rare occurrence that there will be a need for maintenance.   The temporary 40-foot right-of-way is used for construction purposes only and is dissolved at the end of the project contract.

How is a right-of-way created?

The most common way to create a right-of-way is to sign an express agreement.  This agreement is a form of a contract.  For the agreement to be valid, it needs to: (1) be in writing, (2) describe the property involved, and (3) be signed by the property owner.  When it is signed, it will be properly recorded at the County Courthouse Recorder of Deeds.  The wording of the right-of-way will describe the details of the agreement.   For example, the agreement may be temporary or permanent; it could grant the right to drive over the land or to build something on the land, or any combination of actions that one could not ordinarily do on another person’s land.