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Why would this be a blow to the Purple Line? Lots of properties are being condemned for the line. This is just one more, and only a few other people did this.

And while taking homes gets political sympathy, there is little sympathy for an adverse possessor who gets paid for the land he gained by trespass.

Ajay Bhatt: https://youtube.com/watch?v=q-8GVi2Fdi4?

Jim nailed it. This is only a minor annoyance for the Purple Line, not a serious blow.
Governor-Elect Hogan could spell real trouble, however.

I guess my thought was that there are several people who have built on the ROW. It may be that they own the land they've built on and thus will need to be compensated and/or removed via eminent domain. Perhaps that is no big deal.

It's strange logic. The judge says he doesn't have to remove the fence because it doesn't belong to the County. But it also doesn't belong to Bhatt. Logically, then, it belongs to one of the heirs of the people who deeded to the railroad.

I'll ignore the adverse possession comment by the judge. No one with an understanding of current real estate law would suggest such a thing. I doubt there has been a successful adverse possession case in Montgomery County in 50 years.

I find it confusing too. The county is arguing that it owns a right-of-way as an easement, which would give them the right to "rite of passage" but allow the owner of the land to "use if for any purpose that does not unreasonably interfere with the use of the easement." This would seem to be what Bhatt wants.

But Bhatt is arguing, and the court agrees, that the land was granted to the railroad as fee simple, which I take to mean the railroad owned the land - easement and all.

From what I can tell, fee simple is MORE ownership than a right-of-way/easement.

Perhaps the issue is that the law bans building the fence on the Right-of-way, but that this isn't a right-of-way, it's city owned land. Which is even weirder to me.

Clearly there is something I'm missing.

In fact, the part of the County code in question is Section 49-10(b). This is a law banning obstruction of the public right-of-way.

So the argument the court appears to be making is that Bhatt built the fence on County owned land, not a County Right-of-way, and so the citation was wrong. Perhaps, if they'd cited him for building on County land.

Except that the judge goes on to say that Bhatt might own the land due to adverse possession, in part because fee simple land is easier to take than an easement or right-of-way.

There's a difference between the "public right-of-way" and a private right-of-way. The public right-of-way is the roads, and the land along the road which is reserved for use associated with the road. If the public ROW is unused, usually the adjoining landowner has some right to use it, such as to build driveways and walkways that cross it to grant access to their property or landscaping and the like. There is a whole body of law having to do with public ROW's.

A private ROW is negotiated between two individuals and gives one limited rights to the property of the other. What's confusing in this case is that the private ROW happens to be owned by the county, but it's still a private ROW. So this isn't a public ROW case, it's a property line case.

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