The Fleming Road Alliance reveals that 96% of Fleming Road is on private property in this email to county board members:
To: Ken Koehler, Chair, McHenry County Board; County Board Members,
From: Fleming Road Alliance, Re: Update on Fleming Road Alliance Position on Improvements for Fleming Road.,
Dear County Board Representatives:
Natural Heritage Corridor: As you all may know, sixteen homeowners have placed Natural Heritage Corridor easements on their property that extend 60’ into the property from the center of the road (their property line).
Five more easements are in the process of being completed and we expect several more in the near future.
The easements are held jointly by the Land Conservancy and The Village of Bull Valley.
The individual landowner continues to own the land.
This is an opportunity for MCDOT to be a leader in Context Sensitive Solutions by embracing and working with the Natural Heritage Corridor.
We have suggested to MCDOT the benefits of creating a new road classification called Heritage Road to enhance their work into the future.
We ask you to support this progressive concept.
ROW: The topic of right-of-way (ROW) is of particular interest because for the most part, along Fleming Road, there is NO ROW belonging to the County.
The only exception is where the property owner was forced to grant ROW as a requirement for the County’s approval to subdivide.
Everyone else owns to the middle of the road.
Yet MCDOT insists on drawing a line on the design options and labeling it variously as ROW, estimated ROW, existing ROW or estimated-existing ROW.
Simply put, Right-of-Way DOES NOT EXIST for over 96% of Fleming Road.
MCDOT has a prescriptive easement to the road that includes the road bed itself and nothing else.
The insistence on including a ROW line on a map by any name or proclaiming it verbally is insulting because we know better. It could also intimidate some homeowners into conceding right-of way when “the negotiator” knocks on their door with an air of authority, resulting in an unconstitutional “taking” of property. TranSystems agreed they would turn off the ROW line from the design options on display at the upcoming public meeting. That’s a start.
Now we need acknowledgement that there is no ROW.
Fleming Road residents own to the middle of the road. They want the road in the same footprint.
MDOT is constrained by the prescriptive easement and the Heritage Corridor. The Natural Heritage Corridor makes a clear statement that the residents of Fleming Road do not intend to concede ROW.
It is also unconscionable for MCDOT to state that if they do acquire ROW they will just convert the prescriptive easement that is currently the road bed, into a fee simple to “clean up the deed” (without payment). A prescriptive easement is NOT the same as fee simple ownership. It is a very limited right to the specific area – the road bed itself. Converting ownership without negotiated payment also constitutes a taking. Property owners’ taxes are based on ownership of their whole parcel in fee simple, with the property line to the middle of the road.
Fleming Road Alliance Organizing Committee
Ed Bennett, Mary Moltman. Lisa Rhoades, Marti Jadd, Linda Ramsey, Stanley Jarosz, Phyllis Keinz, Kevin Keesee, Emily Berendt, Deb Staley, Bjorn Mattsson
Someone here misunderstands the meaning of ROW. Governments rarely own the land on which their roads are built. Instead they have an easement for road purposes across land belonging to others. This easement is what is known as a right of way.
This is a master stroke! If the county wishes to proceed they will need to exercise eminent domain. Which drives up the cost of the project considerably. Of course the County may decide to fight the right of way claim by using some sort of “adverse possession” claim due to it being a road with a practical right of way in existence.
Best of luck to the property owners along Fleming Rd.
BTW – Owning to the center of the road is the case along Thompson Rd, at least the east-west part on a good part of the road.