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Appellate court upholds easement ruling

January 11, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judgment in favor of the owners of a RV campground regarding an access easement.

Robert and Joy Billetz took over the campground owned by Clyde and Margorie Allmon in 1991. The Allmons retained a two-acre portion of their land abutting County Road 200 North, land that Anthony and Bessie Rehl later purchased from the Allmon estate in 1999. In order to provide access to the Billetz property from County Road 200 North, the Allmons granted an easement for ingress and egress.

The Rehls sued the Billetzes in January 2008 alleging that the ongoing operation of the campground has increased or added to the burden upon their land imposed by the original easement, and the burden “is now unreasonable.” The Rehls argued that the Billetzes could access their property from the county road without using the easement.

The trial court found there may have been a modest increase in the number of vehicles using the easement since it was originally granted, but it did not create a burden on the Rehl property.

In Anthony J. Rehl, Sr. and Bessie A. Rehl v. Robert V. Billetz and Joy A. Billetz, No. 52A05-1105-PL-246, the Rehls claimed that the easement was granted only to allow the grantees ingress and egress, but it does not mention business invitees, customers or others who might be visiting the RV campground.

“Although the grantees named on the 1991 warranty deed (and the 1998 personal representative’s deed) were the Billetzes, we observe that the language creating the Easement does not expressly provide that the Easement benefits the Billetzes as the grantees only. Moreover, the language expressly provides that the Easement ‘is for ingress and egress to lands to the north of said 2 acre tract,’” wrote Judge Elaine Brown. “The implication of this language is that the parties, and the Allmons as the grantors, intended for the Easement to benefit or provide access to the Billetz Property and the campground.”

 

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