America the Messy Yard Police State
Tolleson steals access to mans front yardYou can always count on being screwed by government! You would figure they settle things like this before they steal your property!
Tolleson in court battle with resident over access to property
by David Madrid - Feb. 15, 2010 02:27 PM
The Arizona Republic
A Tolleson resident and the city are locked in a court battle over the man's property and his access to that property.
Richard East, 61, says a recent court judgment vindicates him, and the city can end his lawsuit against it by giving him back access to his yard.
Tolleson says the judgment was in the city's favor, and referred The Arizona Republic to its attorney, who did not return calls.
Tolleson did receive a partial judgment in its favor, but it had asked for summary judgment, which, if granted, would have ended the case in the city's favor. The court case goes on.
East filed a claim against the city after it widened 91st Avenue to three lanes and he lost access to the two gates he used to haul hay to his animals. Then the city tore down his main front gate and replaced it with a block wall, according to East.
Survey documents indicate the land the city claimed as its right of way is actually East's property.
East has asked the court to grant him compensation for the taking of, and damage to, his property.
But he hasn't lost all the access to his one-acre plot, just what he needs to get a hay-delivery truck onto his land. The north side of his house where his driveway is located has a carport that prevents a hay truck from entering his yard, he said.
Tolleson did not respond to his claim, so legally that meant the city denied the claim. The issue then went to Maricopa County Superior Court.
The court granted the city a partial judgment on Feb. 1, saying East has no legal right to access to 91st Avenue.
City Manager Reyes Medrano Jr. said the judge considered only the issue of 91st Avenue access in the hearing, and Judge Joseph Heilman ruled in the city's favor.
"There was a decision, a judgment in court a couple of weeks ago with regard to access off 91st Avenue where the judge agreed that the access off 91st Avenue, or the lack thereof, does not hinder the access to the rear of his property, but if anything, I would rely on our attorney, to give you a better description of that," Medrano said.
"But that's pretty much the gist of what the judge ruled, so now that leaves us any other issues he (East) may have on the northern side of the property. Beyond that, that's pretty much all (the information) we can offer right now," Medrano added.
East's attorney, Glen Hallman, with Phoenix-based Gallagher & Kennedy, said the judge may have ruled on only one issue that day, but there are more issues still at stake.
"If you talk to the city and it says, 'Look here, our motion was granted,' as the saying goes, 'There's the rest of the story,' " Hallman said.
"The judge agreed, and we didn't contest, that we don't have an absolute right to access directly onto 91st Avenue. But the argument they were making is far broader, saying, 'Hey, he's got his driveway and that's access, and it's his building of the car porch that keeps the large vehicles from getting back in there.'
"I made the point, that A, dumping hay in the driveway is not an option. B, The car porch was there before, and having a car porch is not quote unquote unreasonable."
East doesn't understand why he can't just drive down the wide sidewalk to his gate, pointing out that the city trucks drive on the sidewalk all the time. [ Of course their is a double standard. The government rulers can do what ever they want, even if it is against the laws they created. Us serfs and peons can't. ]
He says he has the photos to prove it.
"So the judge has made it clear that the access for regular passenger vehicles into the driveway does not mean that he (East) has reasonable access, because the highest and best use of the property is that of a horse property," Hallman said. "He is entitled to compensation for the diminution of the value of the property caused by the city's completely taking away his ability to access the rear of the property with oversized vehicles.
"So while we haven't actually won the case in terms of judgments being entered, the lawsuit continues on, but the lawsuit continues on with his damages to be determined. And obviously the city could mitigate those damages very substantially by undoing at least one of two things it did to block oversized-vehicle access. If the city were to give him back his access to 91st Avenue or to remove the wall off Lillian Lane . . . obviously then his damages would be substantially less, and the city would be off the hook for basically everything other than attorney's fees and that sort of thing."
East likes the wall the city built, and he doesn't want the city to have to spend money to tear it down. He says all he wants is access to his side gate.