CHANGE IN EASEMENT POLICY
For 75 years the Chandler Heights Citrus Irrigation District (“District”) has maintained a policy that east-west pipeline easements must remain open and unobstructed at all times so District personnel could most efficiently operate the irrigation system, and repair both irrigation and domestic pipelines.
However, times have changed and the Board has decided to update that policy. The District still recommends that east-west easements remain open and unobstructed, but the District generally will not take action against property owners that put up fences or otherwise obstruct easements, but reserves the right to do so if the District determines such action becomes necessary. Construction of buildings on easements will still be prohibited by County building regulations. This change of policy is not intended to violate or modify any existing subdivision CC&Rs within the District. By allowing reasonable obstructions, the District is not abandoning, waiving or estopped from enforcing any of this easement or other rights, nor is such permissive construction the basis for any adverse claim against the District or its rights.
The District still has the right to access the easements and right of ways for repairs and maintenance. (Judge’s decision in the Nossaman case 2007) We expect property owners or tenants to recognize that if they choose to obstruct an easement, they are doing so at their own risk . The District will not be responsible for fences or landscaping that we have to move or damage to complete repairs. The District will be responsible to return the work site to finish grade only.
From the District’s point of view, a best-case easement obstruction would be a fence on the property line with gates (14 ft.wide) big enough for a backhoe to come through at each property line. If there are dogs or other animals on the property, then there would need to be some way to keep them out of the easement temporarily while repairs take place. The District will maintain keep a number of sections of portable fence to secure a work site from animals and small children, but it may not be a perfect solution in all situations.
The worst-case situation for you as a property owner is a major water break in your easement that prevents water service to other residents. In this type of situation, the District will call out a crew to repair the problem regardless of the time of day or day of the week. The work continues until water service is restored to all residents. Note that this kind of problem does not permit rescheduling for a convenient time. The work will be done immediately.
The type of problem determines how fast the District starts work. Some problems can be scheduled for repair in a week or two. Some need to be done within a few days. And some need to be done right now.
Because of this change and the increasing number of new fences and walls, the District will have to make additional changes on how we deliver irrigation water. The District will deliver the water into each block for the ordered number of hours and after that time the irrigation will move to the next block It will be the responsibility of people on that block to open and close their ports at the proper time. Since the District will be unable to monitor each lot, the District will not get involved in disputes about irrigation water that take place within a block. We will leave those issues for you to settle with your neighbors.
There are also neighborhood valves connecting to the District main that serve a private pipeline to two to five homes. You may be used to having the Zanjero open and close these neighborhood valves. If these valves end up behind a fence or on blocked easements, then the Zanjero will not operate them any more. It will be up to you and your neighbors to open and close them properly and on time. Other water districts in Arizona have used this irrigation delivery method for years and it is now time for the District to use this method. We recognize that this new way of operating will require some adjustment and cooperation by all involved.
We look forward to working with you to successfully implement this new policy . ..