Railway Converted To Trail Cannot Be Adversely Possessed

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 9:27 am
Land Use Law Report, Volume 46, Number 1

Forty years after a fence closed off a railroad right-of-way, the fence owner was found guilty of erecting a fence in a public right-of-way because the railway’s conversion to a recreational trail kept the property in the public use.

Facts: Ajay Bhatt’s earliest memory of the fence in his yard is from 1977, when he was eight years old and the property belonged to his aunt. Other memories traced the fence back to 1960. Part of the fence enclosed a railroad right of way, which Montgomery County, Maryland has been using as a recreational trail since 1988. In 2013, forty years after the fence’s installation, Montgomery County issued Bhatt a civil citation for erecting a fence and a shed in a public right-of-way.

Bhatt was found guilty of violating the County Code and was ordered to remove the fence and shed. He appea[..]