Friday, April 20, 2012

What's in an easement name?!

According to our deed restrictions, the legal entity of Centerpointe was formed in March of 2001.  The legal entity of CenterPoint was spun off from Reliant Energy in October of 2002.  It's a most unfortunate name coincidence that will no doubt continue to trigger regular bouts of confusion, but for the record, we were here first. 


There was a notice in the most recent neighborhood newsletter concerning a new gas pipeline that's supposed to be installed in the Center-something easement.  The notice encouraged residents to attend the public meeting which will be held at the Civic Center (400 West Walker) from 6 to 8 pm this coming Tuesday April 24. 

This prompted me to contact the outreach contractor to try to get a better idea of what exactly is being proposed here. 

According to my phone chat and emails with them, the thing is to be laid in the CenterPoint easement, NOT the Centerpointe easement.  Let me try to explain.

We do, in fact, have a curiously-large utility easement that partially runs behind Walnut Pointe and is then sandwiched between Arlington Pointe and Boxelder Pointe.  It consists of three linear tracts of land whose owner of record is our homeower's assocation, as follows:
Exhibit A, near Calder and Centerpointe Drive.
Exhibit B, in back of Walnut Pointe (primarily).
Exhibit C, between Boxelder and Arlington.
This is what I generally refer to in common speech as "the Centerpointe easement".  It's the only large conspicuous easement that really intrudes into the subdivision. 

OK, so there's that.  But there is also a major easement to the east of us, which in vernacular speech, I've sometimes heard referred to as "the CenterPoint easement".  That's the thing east of the stormwater ponds with all those high-lines. 
This thing.  During last year's drought, this was one of the line sets that they had to clean the salt from using high-pressure water sprays from this helicopter.
If I'm understanding things correctly, this easement actually goes by a number of names:
Good grief.
The public notice announcement referred to it as the "Inner-urban" easement, but I believe it's supposed to be the Interurban easement, which is how City documents such as this one below appear to name it:
The name probably comes from the street that it parallels...
Sorry about the crummy res.
Blame Googlemaps.
...and the street, in turn, may have been named after the original railroad, which Chris John Mallios explains in this GCDN piece.

But I digress.  As I said, Mr. Randy Perry with Emerald Coast Energy Resources LLC (music alert on the URL) confirmed that this new gas pipeline will not be laid in OUR easement.  Given the ambiguity surrounding the naming of these things, I might show up at the public meeting anyway, just to confirm and get more information, but there's that much, at least.

The whole thing raises another series of questions, though.  Why does such a wide easement run through Centerpointe anyway? 

I can take a guess at one reason right off the bat...
Centerpointe's sewage lift station is located at the northeast corner of the easement.  That's that mysterious thing behind the wooden privacy fence near the large tree and near the section of wrought iron fence at the Boxelder cul-de-sac.
This thing. 
(Why does the Googlemobile take so many pics straight into the sun?!)
So they needed to run sewer and presumably water lines back there.  I'm no engineer, but is it really necessary to have a FIFTY FOOT easement just for water and sewer lines?  Why is that thing so wide when much the land could have instead been used to make more generous back yards?  (If you're a Centerpointe old-timer, you might recall that one of the Boxelder homeowners actually DID try to temporarily abscond with some of that land by bumping his rear fence out into the easement, but someone apparently put the kybosh on him as soon as the Arlington construction got underway).  Was that width specified by City code or something?  Even if this gas pipeline is not going to be placed within this easement, is there anything else we can expect to see laid here in the future?  Because it sure as heck is BIG enough to accomodate a lot of stuff if it had to. 

These are the lingering questions that I have.  Perhaps we can get some feedback from the developer.

1 comment:

  1. Easements are for a specific purpose and are not normally for general mixed-use (say water, sewer, and pipelines).

    However, in some instances easements can be complex and overlapping.

    I will be glad to answer your questions or forward you to a variety of publications on easement.

    Paul Smith


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