Letter Re: Pros and Cons of Property On or Near a Utility Easement

The use of utility easements as bug-out routes has been mentioned here and elsewhere (e.g., the [online shareware] novel “Lights Out” by Halffast.) It seems to me, living next to one would have both pluses and minuses. Plusses: Handy access in case you need to bug-out and clear lines of sight (in at least two directions). Minuses: (If you choose to stay put) the necessity of monitoring bug-out traffic at least and the potential of defending your retreat from such traffic at worst. Are there other advantages or disadvantages? In the final analysis, would you recommend purchasing property adjacent to or near utility easements? Thanks, – d’Heat

JWR Replies: One other disadvantage might arise before TEOTWAWKI: an easement may be used from time to time by a utility company for repairs, maintenance, or system upgrades. I have a friend in California that had planted a vegetable garden on the power company easement running through the back of his property. One summer, just two weeks from the harvest of most of his crops, the power company, with no prior notice, exercised their right to take down the fences and “pass through” with their trucks to perform some sort of maintenance. Nearly all of the plants were trampled beyond viability. At least they did a good job of putting the fences back up.

In my estimation, it is advantage to have a easement near your home if your intention is to relocate to a stocked retreat elsewhere after things appear to be getting Schumeresque. (Since major highways and freeways might be jammed with traffic.) But it is a disadvantage to have an easement near your intended retreat since it would constitute another avenue of approach for intruders.