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Business owners fight over easement and property lines

Although people think about property issues as a residential problem, they also impact commercial properties. Property line disputes aren’t always pretty during construction projects, as one gas station owner recently found out.

The station owner said that he had an easement on the property adjacent to his, claiming it had been used for around 60 years. Now, a Starbucks is going in on that property, and the owner of the coffee shop does not think that there is an easement.

That caused construction crews to build a fence on the area. That move was the first step in an escalating dispute. With the fence in place, a second way into the gas station was blocked, so many customers, especially those in semi trucks that couldn’t turn around any longer, went on to other stations.

It wasn’t over yet. The crews began to cut down palm trees, which the station owner believed were on his property. He called the police, and the crews left. However, they came back around four o’clock in the morning to cut down more. It was all caught on tape.

When the owner contacted the Starbucks owner, he was told there was not an easement and that the coffee shop was going to have a retaining wall on that property. He was also told that more of his trees were going to get cut down, along with the removal of sprinkler and irrigation lines.

The whole thing may come down to whether or not that deeded easement is still in effect. The city has started looking into it to see who actually has a right to use the property.

In these types of complex cases where even basic facts are disputed, it’s critical for both sides to know all of their rights and legal options.

Source:, “Colton gas station owner furious over trees removed on his own property for a Starbucks,” Rob McMillan, Feb. 20, 2018