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I live in a neighborhood with private roads. The homeowners pay to maintain them. The roads, while still privately owned, were dedicated to the "public use" so that police, fire, utilities, etc. could access the roads. The dedication reads as:

That we freely offer, grant, and dedicate to those who may purchase said property or any part thereof and to the general public, the use of the streets and roads shown on said plat of property for public use. That we freely offer, grant, and dedicate to those who may rent or purchase said property or any part thereof, and to their invitees or guests and to all government service vehicles and general service vehicles, such as fire, police, garbage, mail, etc. the use of the private drives as shown on said plat of property. That we shall be responsible for maintenance of the private drives as shown on said plat unless we require by recorded covenant running with the land the subsequent owners to be responsible.

There is one road in the neighborhood, actually just a court (ct) that dead ends at the neighborhood boundary. This little road doesn't have any homes on it... it's barely 100' long.

Bordering against our neighborhood, right where this little court deadends is a 55 acre plot that a developer has purchased with the intent of adding a new neighborhood. They want to use our private road to connect to their neighborhood.

Can someone connect a new road to our private roads without our permission?

Since we don't really use the little court that would be used as the connector, could we just dig up the road and turn it into a grassy/wooded space? Does the fact it's been dedicated to the public restrict us from demolishing it if we wanted to?

Location: USA, North Carolina, Forsyth County

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  • This is generic enough to be answerable but I would strongly suggest consulting a legal professional rather than randomers on the internet.
    – Studoku
    Sep 4 at 13:49
  • I assume the end of the court isn't exactly on boundary so they would have to get an easement to connect at minimum. However, if the area is landlocked (no other easyish access to a road) that can argue in favor of an easement and connection. I don't feel sure enough about this to post it as an answer though.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 4 at 14:20
  • They are definitely not land-locked -- there is another road they could connect to, but it isn't as nice as our roads. I think you're right in that the court probably doesnt butt completely against the boundary line, so if they had to get an easement, is that something that us, as homeowners, would have the right to reject?
    – mikem
    Sep 4 at 17:42
  • The process of abandoning a public road is usually governed by statute and usually requires local government approval.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 7 at 16:21
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Can someone connect a new road to our private roads without our permission?

Yes. The first sentence of the dedication expressly gives them permission to do so. Once the dedication was made, they were no longer private roads.

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  • I'm not sure that's the case. In NC, I believe the road dedication is an "offer" to the local municipality that would be responsible for the roads. That municipality has to "accept" the roads, at which time, they own them and are responsible for maintaining them. They have never been maintained by anyone other than the homeowners. That's the nuance I'm trying to figure out. If the road dedication was never accepted, are they infact dedicated to the public, and if not, then could they connect anyway?
    – mikem
    Sep 5 at 1:07
  • @mikem I suspect that even if the dedication was never accepted that they could connect anyway.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 7 at 16:20
  • Since we aren't using the court in our neighborhood and no homes connect to it, and no vacant lots within the neighborhood butt up against it, could we decide to no longer maintain that section and just dig it up and let nature take it over?
    – mikem
    Sep 8 at 4:44
  • PS - On what legal grounds could they connect to a private road if the State never accepted it and they were not in-fact public? And, if they connected, who would be responsible for the maintenance of the roads?
    – mikem
    Sep 8 at 4:46
  • The body of law on rights of access in the absence of an express easement or right of way or public road is extensive. There are easements by implication, easements by estoppel, easements by prescription, and easements by necessity. In some cases there is a private condemnation right as well. The law strongly favors making it possible to access landlocked parcels and has many doctrines that allow this to happen.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 8 at 17:10

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