In the 22-page opinion written by Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr., the Court of Appeals said Bhatt’s fence case “hints at plenty of potential trouble” for the Purple Line and the recreational trail. The court described both as “a pair of public works projects . . . cherished by the government and some citizens of Montgomery County.” The Court of Appeals found that railroad lines, even ones that are privately owned, legally have been considered devoted to public use, akin to highways. Because no one may claim adverse possession to such public land, the court said, the previous owners of Bhatt’s home could not have assumed ownership of the trail land from the freight rail company.
Same effect of what was decided in 1994 or 1999.
This is good news for those who want to see the Capital Crescent Trail completed to Silver Spring.
The ruling against a Chevy Chase resident who argued that he owned a 14-foot strip of trail land because it had been fenced into his back yard for decades marks a victory for Montgomery County. The decision means the county won’t have to re-purchase land from property owners who have argued that they took “adverse posession” of land along the trail shoulders by building there when it was owned by a freight railroad company.
The county plans to rebuild the recreational trail, known as the Georgetown Branch Trail, alongside the train tracks, but thousands of mature trees will be cut. If the state secures $900 million in federal funding, it plans to begin Purple Line construction later this year or in early 2017 and open the line to service in 2021.
Here's more from Bethesda Magazine which includes a copy of the decision.
in December 2014, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge dismissed the citation on the basis the county failed to prove the land was a public right-of-way.
Court of Appeals Judge Glenn Harrell wrote in the decision released Friday that the former railroad route was a publicly-owned right-of-way. The court also said it has remained a publicly-owned right-of-way since 1988, when the county bought it under the Rails-to-Trails Act.
Bhatt's complaints have some validity to them, but this one
“If the County believed that the property behind the fence belonged to it, I do wish that it had taken appropriate action in the 1980s, rather than waiting all these years,” Bhatt said Saturday.
is probably not one of them. Even with all of this, he was probably a net winner because they didn't make him push his fence back in the 1980's.
And then there's this
In the decision, Harrell cited a verse from the Grateful Dead song “Casey Jones” to explain how allowing Bhatt to claim the land “hints at plenty of potential trouble” for the Purple Line project