Local school district has been using our driveway as a bus stop for months without our knowledge or consent - Concerns about property rights and liabilities

Local school district has been using our driveway as a bus stop for months without our knowledge or consent - Concerns about property rights and liabilities
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#81

Yes! Our neighborhood is 4 miles from the schools. The main route is down a 55 MPH state highway with no sidewalks. It got an awful lot of local press when teachers arrived to find students outside in the cold in the dark in the middle of winter, some there for over an hour, because their parent had to drop them off that early so they could proceed to work. There were a couple of kids who walked and it took a number of hours to get there, because the schools are in the middle of a mostly-rural area. It was cruel, it really was.


#82

I dont think there is any confusion, except for not understanding what you think you have to gain from the kids gathering at the corner of your yard instead of in front of your house. Them stopping adjacent to your property isnt an understandable complaint when you are happy with them stopping adjacent to your property 20 feet away.

As has been said, a school bus should not stop in the middle of an intersection, and your driveway appears to be less than 2 bus lengths away from the intersection. Where it is stopping is where it should stop to pick up kids on the NW corner. Your driveway is only part of it as being the nearest landmark.

Why they dont pick up the kids on the NE side of the intersection is a different question (maybe it was designated, maybe the driver is just going to where the kids are gathered), but one you dont seem to be all that worried about either.


#83

I apologize. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes.

That is the mystery of the week. Hey, didn’t the “mystery movie of the week” usually involve murder? No, don’t go there! :laughing:


#84

None of that has anything to do with confirming the number of buses running. Besides, maybe the levy was to help fund additional buses to address overcrowding issues from growing neighborhoods, and when that failed they were forced to go with solution B using existing resources. If they only have the resources to provide busing for 1/2 the high school, they cant provide busing for any of the high school.


#85

Aren’t you getting bored with this by now?

You keep attributing things to me that I haven’t said.

I’m not happy to have the bus stop on our property. I wish they’d stick to using the NE corner for all bus stops - period - forevermore. Then she’d be dealing with any issues and not us.

This may be one of those times when the public good takes priority over private property rights. If my neighbor decides she doesn’t want the bus stop on her corner, and I don’t want it on our corner, and I won’t allow it in our driveway, then where do they put it? Not looking for an answer, because that won’t happen.

What do I have to gain? IANAL. It’d be nice if one chimed in. These are only my thoughts.

It seems to be generally recognized by the school district, the State Education Dept., and the local police, that our driveway is private property. The general public can’t park in it without our permission. We can ask/tell people to leave. We can’t prevent anyone from using the sidewalk to pass through because it is a public right-of-way, but they don’t have the right to remain on the sidewalk and block our ingress and egress to our property.

It does not seem to be generally recognized that the corner sidewalk area is private property in the same sense. It’s entirely within the easement area and is a public right-of-way. It may be “our” corner, but people have the right to pass through and use it for legal purposes. We don’t have exclusive rights to it.

In my state, our liability depends a lot on the status of someone on our property. If you’re an invitee (guest) or a licensee (here to do business with us) and we’re found liable for a hazardous condition on our property, there should not be much of an issue with getting our homeowner’s insurance to pay a claim.

If you’re a trespasser, it’s different. We don’t owe a duty of care to trespassers. Generally, we wouldn’t be held liable. On one hand, that sounds like a good thing. On the other hand, if insurance refuses to pay out an injury claim for a trespasser, like @JoeFriday said, guess who is getting sued? It’s in our best interests to try to minimize the instances of regular, prolonged, trespassing.

If someone is remaining in our driveway without our permission, it’s a trespass situation. If they remain on our corner, they’re not. Within reason, They can’t pitch a tent and make it their home.

Driveway = trespassing with possibly greater potential for insurance claim denial and subsequent lawsuit. Trespasser probably wouldn’t win, but still a big hassle.

Corner = no trespassing, although they’re not invitees or licensee, with greater potential for an easier insurance payout.

And I could be all wrong about that, but that’s my current stance.


#86

Just from a pure safety standpoint, as a parent, would you want your kid being told to stand around and wait in someone’s driveway for the school bus every morning, when there are perfectly safe, open, public corners to wait on?


#87

From a pure safety standpoint I’d drive my kid to school myself.


#88

What “open public corner”? The corner sidewalk is as much public space as the apron of your driveway.

There is zero difference between the area between the sidewalk and the road in front of your house, and the area between the sidewalk and road at the corner of the property. Your property rights and potential liability are the same in both places. And there is no more of less issue with the apron of your driveway as with the grass apron the rest of the way around the property. And there is no more or less potential liability (and no more or less trespassing) with a kid running up your driveway as with a kid running across your lawn. You are drawing an arbitrary line, and making it the focus of your argument.


#89

Another possible solution - park your husband or a willing associate in a lawn chair in the driveway with nothing other than boxers and a bathrobe, holding a can of beer and a cigar at that hour of the morning. Folks will avoid your property like crazy!


#90

If that were true, I’d have no right at all to ask anyone to leave the apron of our driveway. People could set up lawn chairs and drink tea in the summer. It would be quite a spectacle, wouldn’t it? If I wanted to go somewhere, I’d have to drive over my lawn.

The purpose of the public easement has to come into play somehow, doesn’t it? Tree services, utilities, street repair, regular pedestrian traffic on sidewalks, are major purposes behind them. The driveway apron doesn’t have trees or grass, but it’s main purpose is providing vehicular access to our private driveway.

This morning I didn’t go outside and the video shows the same car dropped a kid off in our driveway again. Long story short, the kid walked to the corner, came back with another kid. They started a snowball fight on the tree lawn, which is harmless. Then one kid chased the other kid into our driveway, down the apron, and into the street, which isn’t harmless, especially in the dark with kids wearing dark clothing.


#91

You continue to miss the point - if you can kick someone off the apron of your driveway for a given reason, you can kick them off the grass on the corner for that same reason too. I’m not even commenting on if you are right or wrong, just that you are drawing an arbitrary line between the two spaces. If you acknowledge there is “open public space” at the corner, that “open public space” extends across the entire front (and side) of your home.


#92

I’ll have to research the issue some more. From the light reading I’ve just been doing, attorneys have written in response to questions about easements that it depends on what the easement is for and whether it’s for non-exclusive use or not.

I’m just not convinced yet that our driveway apron is meant for general pedestrian public access, even if the sidewalks, and tree lawns are meant for public access. Utilities, yes, definitely. Vehicles, yes, definitely.


#93

I’m not as worried about this as I was. I think having this discussion has helped me a lot. Some of you have made me laugh and I thank you so much for that! I needed it. :smile:

My grandmother used to call me a worrywart, even when I was a kid. I guess that hasn’t changed much. :pensive:

We’re pretty responsible and keep our property in good shape. We don’t have dogs. If any of these kids got hurt because of their horsing around, it’d be pretty tough to find us at fault, I think.

I’ll look into it some more, because I’m really trying to learn about this.


#94

If a kid gets hurt and if they somehow sue you then you counter sue the school district. Right?

Also kudos for your thick skin on this thread.


#95

You’ve never mentioned where you are located, so no one can talk specifically. But this type of easement is pretty standard, and typically a solid 6-10ft off the edge of the street, for the length of the street; not limited to just the sidewalk, and not broken by encroaching driveways or other improvements. That you’ve chosen to pave a 10ft section of the land covered by that easement wouldnt give you any additional property rights that dont already exist with the grass portion.

Just forget the whole “bus stop without my permission” stuff, and, if you feel the need to keep pressing the issue, focus on the kids’ nuisance violations outside the scope of it being a bus stop. Keep telling the school to keep their kids in line, not insisting they pick the kids up 20 feet down the same property line.


#96

I wish, but no. They refuse to admit any culpability in this.

Thank you. :slight_smile:


#97

I wish. That won’t work. Here is a snippet of their official position:

That’s why they said it wasn’t their responsibility if kids were still in my driveway after they called the parents.

Never mind that the kids themselves are violating the 3rd part of that policy.


#98

Don’t forget the accompanying music. ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round…’


#99

Non-liability. One has public access, the other is private property. Pretty straightforward.


#100

How so? They have the same right, or no right, to be anywhere along her property line. And she has the same level of liability anywhere along her property line.