Short Plat requires neighbors help

13 Replies

I have 2 acres in the city (Puyallup, Wa) with an 1800sf SFR on one end of the property rented to the same family for 8 years. The city will allow me to divide into 3 additional lots.

I have an easement from the neighbor's property to the backside of my property but that does not qualify as access for development purposes.  The neighbor does not want me to develop behind him and so has stalled, declined help, etc...  I am looking for ideas to get him to do a lot line adjustment and trade him equal land so the easement becomes a legal access parcel (his side-yard for an extended back yard).   

Any ideas are greatly appreciated! 

Reach out to @Karen Margrave on this one. 



@Curtis Bidwell  


I always try to talk to people around what I develop and see what their fears, apprehensions and wants are.  Do the land owners you need the easement from owner occupants? Are you planning for more rentals behind their home? Are you buildiing homes that will increase their property value? People are probably motivated by the same things you are. A small peice of land in trade for 2 or 3 more rentals properties behind their home probably doesn't sound like a good deal.  Money motivates most people..ask them if there is a sum that would possibly inspire them to be on board and see what they say.  This is where I woud start. 

@Kenneth Bell  Thanks for your input.  This is  a very nice upscale neighborhood.  The homes we would put in will compliment the surrounding homes.  This is not a renters neighborhood, and we would be building for homeowners.  

I have spoken to them twice myself and then hired a facilitator who has drawn up some options.  They have been receptive to listen to him but not willing to give up full access to us.

You got to make it worth their time to get them to consider. Have you thought about making a drive way side of the home that you have rented?

Joe Gore

@Curtis Bidwell  

I would assume there are no other property owners adjacent that you could access the property through? What are they willing to do?

@Joe Gore and @Kenneth Bell  No, there are no other access points. I have considered a long driveway but then I'd be required to engineer, pave and sidewalk the primary access road that borders a creek for several hundred feet. Accessing through the easement is direct, much shorter, no hill to navigate, no gravel road, and comes off the nicer neighborhood - which I can use to promote my property with w/o paying hoa dues because even though we access through the development I would not be in the development. 

It sounds like you know the answer. An "equal trade" in this situation is not equal at all. You want the neighbor to trade some thing he values for something he does not. There is no way to do it without considerably sweetening the pot. I tell you frankly, if it were me, I wouldn't be "stalling." I would have told you to take a hike until such time as you were willing and able to make me an offer I cannot refuse.

Which in my case, and very possibly his, would be an abive-market offer on my house. It sounds like he doesn't want to live with three houses behind him (and three houses worth of traffic buzzing past the window where his side yard used to be!). I would try to buy him out, not just buy access.

@Richard C.  You are right in that it will likely take some "pot sweetening"!  My facilitator and I have discussed exactly what you said about purchasing his home.  I will likely have to involve an equity partner to do so.  

Part of the property trade was to give him more useable space.  Currently his easement is 60' which he cannot utilize for anything permanent.  The trade only involves 30' which would remove the remaining easement while freeing up the other 30', plus extending his yard to the rear to create a visual buffer.  

Really still not an even trade, honestly.  And in any case, an even trade only works where both sides value the outcome.  Which is not the case here.  Projects like you describe usually only happen without the approval of the abutters if they are asleep at the switch or don't understand the power they have in the situation, which doesn't sound like is the case here.

UPDATE!  My land use consultant has continued to build the relationship with the adjoining property owner.  The owner is now ready to move and due to consistent contacts we just got offered first position to purchase his home.  We made him an offer and included a letter from my lender.  I got the signed off PSA yesterday!  

He wanted $400k, we settled at $360k. I gave up the curtain rods, but kept all the appliances! 

I can now get the easement changed to a parcel and short-plat my land into 3 additional building sites.  I bought this home Oct '03 with this in mind.  It has taken this long to work with the city and neighbor to make it happen.  

I realize that this post is from three years ago but I was curious how it went @Curtis Bidwell 

@Tierra Petersen Great timing! We just filed the final papers for our Boundary Line Adjusment THIS WEEK! After numerous previous submittals over the last 18 months we finally got approval from the city to submit our finals and get them signed off by the county. What a journey it has been!

A year ago, the family we bought this for (who was supposed to purchase it, separated and left us a MESS! 2.4 acres of hoarder-ville! We have cleaned, hauled, remodeled, relandscaped, etc... all while waiting on the city to give approval. The Master Builders Association have threatened to boycott the city! The city engineer was fired (finally), and hopefully things are free to move forward. We have followed their rules, adjusted to their new rules, submitted to their ever-changing requirements, delays, unorthodox procedures, etc...

At this point our plan is to sell the original home with 1acre (hopefully listing mid-January), leaving the remainder with the adjacent home that has the easement and now almost 1.5 acres to short plat. We plan to begin the short plat process in January.  

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