Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.
In some areas, the local government doesn’t own the land adjacent to the road and instead will have an easement with the landowner. This easement is commonly called a right-of-way, and often the owner of the land gave the government the right to use the land more than a century ago for a road. If the government owns or has an easement over any area of land, the government has the right to use that area for roadway traffic, which includes ensuring clear vision near curves and at intersections.
As a result, the local government has the right to remove growing crops to ensure clear vision and safe roadway use, but the local government isn’t necessarily required to remove obstructions. So, the farmer may be liable for accidents that occur as a result of the obstruction of vision caused by tall crops.
As the hot summer days couple with high humidity in our region, farmers’ crops will ideally grow tall and produce bountiful yields. In particular, corn often grows taller than the windows of motor vehicles.
In some townships and municipalities, owners of land adjacent to a road may own the land up to and under a road. If a local government does not own the land upon which a roadway and its berm/shoulder is located, the local government will usually have an easement, which is commonly called a right-of-way. In those cases, some landowner gave the local government the right to use the land for a road, perhaps a grant of use made more than a century ago.
Read more about easements and the removal of crops to allow clear vision for drivers in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Grains, trains and automobiles
Source: LimaOhio.com, “Legal-Ease: Grains, trains and automobiles,” by Lee R. Schroeder, June 10, 2017