How do I legally enforce access to my real property?
The Wyoming Supreme Court in December 2019 gave guidance on how to to measure the amount to be paid for taking a private road for access.
In the Timchula, case (S-19-0034) Ms. Timchula owned a Section of property but she did not have any legal access. She asked the court to designate a route along an existing road that was already subject to easements. The route she asked for would have crossed two sections owned by another owner. The other owner proposed a different route.
The court held a necessity hearing and determined that Ms. Timchula satisfied the statutory requirements for establishment of a private road and that access to her property was necessary. The court appointed three viewers to assess the proposed routes and submit recommendations to the court regarding the route for the private road and damages.
The viewers recommended that the court designate a route where the route would be at the same point proposed by Ms. Timchula.
The Court stated that a "before and after" appraisal should be conducted as follows:
Viewers and appraisers must first, (1) determine the value of the property over which the road crosses before the private road is established; second, (2) determine the value of the property over which the road crosses after the private road is established; and third, subtract the "after" value from the "before" value, which equals the damages due the owners of land over which the road crosses.
The Wyoming Supreme Court also held that damages may include reasonable compensation for any improvement on the lands over which any private road is to be granted.
The Court also stated that the viewers and appraisers should determine and separately report the before and after value of each separately owned parcel of affected land. The district court would further instruct the viewers and appraisers to explain the factors that affect each before and after value.