Neighbor Cutting Timber

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Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Anianna » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:11 pm

There is a landlocked patch of property in the woods (literally in the woods) surrounded by other wooded properties, including mine. It is owned by an old man (in his 90s) living in another state and he has failed to pay taxes on it for several years. Recently, the property was marked. From what we understand, he is facing losing the property and intends to sell the timber on it before the county takes it.

Normally, I don’t like telling people what they can do or not do on their own property, but the property in question is a natural habitat in the middle of the woods and includes a creek full of wildlife that connects to the Mattaponi River. Bringing the necessary machinery in will damage the habitat and removing the timber will damage the structural integrity of the environment as evidenced by another wooded property down the road in which much of the timer was cut out and the remaining trees fell like twigs when the wind blew. I am concerned that the activity on his property will damage my property as a result.

As far as we understand, he was able to get an easement to access his property from another property owner who also doesn’t live here but owns an adjacent property. We expect him to begin timbering very soon and I am wondering if there is anything we can or even should do about it. What would you guys do in my situation?
Last edited by Anianna on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Rev » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:14 pm

If he hasn't paid taxes, and it's being taken by the government for that purpose they might be irritated at this move. Maybe.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by crypto » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:05 pm

I'd mind my own business. If he still owns it, he still owns it


ETA: He could turn it into a parking lot if he wants. Its property, not a wildlife refuge.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by duodecima » Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:59 pm

crypto wrote:I'd mind my own business. If he still owns it, he still owns it


ETA: He could turn it into a parking lot if he wants. Its property, not a wildlife refuge.
Subject to whatever local zoning ordinances are, yes. I don't know if there are any such ordinances? Sounds like not, since another neighbor was able to do so.

I don't suppose y'all are in a position to buy it from him, or to get together with a couple neighbors and each buy the part contiguous to your property?
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by PistolPete » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:18 pm

crypto wrote:I'd mind my own business. If he still owns it, he still owns it


ETA: He could turn it into a parking lot if he wants. Its property, not a wildlife refuge.
I agree. If you have concerns about what is done to it, make him an offer. It sucks when neighbors don't keep up their property to our standards, but it's just part of having neighbors.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Anianna » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:39 pm

We would love to buy it and one of our neighbors is in a position to buy it, but the owner won't sell. He came to ask that neighbor if they would allow him an easement to his property, but they turned him down. He didn't come to us to ask for an easement (which would have made more sense since we are on the side of the creek he wants to timber and one of the problems he said he is having is getting the equipment over the creek - the easement he got requires that he cross the creek to cut down the trees).

There could be legal issues and I am researching that. We are in part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and there are certain places that cannot be legally cut due to impact on waterways. Considering that the man hasn't paid the taxes on the land, I am concerned that he doesn't give a darn about any legal issues regarding what he does to the property. I could be wrong.

I have no intention of harassing the man about doing anything legal on his property. I'm mostly concerned about the impact his actions will have on my property and if there is anything I can do to mitigate that impact.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by feedthedog » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:08 pm

This seems like one of those things that is better left to a professional. I would imagine that there are real estate lawyers who handle things like this all the time. You can't be the first person to have this problem. At the very least, you can ensure that he is forced to comply with the law. I remember Chesapeake Bay watershed regulations being pretty strict and may prevent him from doing a lot of stuff.

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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:55 pm

Check with county zoning on if you could do that to your property. If you can't, then you can go, "Oh, really? Because _____ is."

Now if it doesn't violate zoning laws, just leave it be. Until it's seized it's his land.

My 2 cents.

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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by DarkAxel » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:09 pm

Rev wrote:If he hasn't paid taxes, and it's being taken by the government for that purpose they might be irritated at this move. Maybe.


Yeah, if they know he's having the place logged they're gonna want their cut. I know Breathitt County would rather have the money in hand than whatever they could get for the tax bill at auction.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Rev » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:30 pm

DarkAxel wrote:
Rev wrote:If he hasn't paid taxes, and it's being taken by the government for that purpose they might be irritated at this move. Maybe.


Yeah, if they know he's having the place logged they're gonna want their cut. I know Breathitt County would rather have the money in hand than whatever they could get for the tax bill at auction.
They'd take the taxes owed from the proceeds I'd think, and he'd be stuck with a nasty piece of land he still needs to spend money on taxes. He won't be able to sell it.

Plus side, if he does get it claimed after cutting it all down, you could probably bid on it for cheap and make an orchard or something.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by angelofwar » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:55 pm

While I respect your outlook on the wild life aspect, I also perpetuate individual liberty. I don't think he should pay taxes on it, and I also think he should be able to do what he want with it, within the law. I do also, however, think he should look at it the way you are, and leave it the natural habitat it is. But, the county could take it, sale it, and then BAM, a trailer park goes up....
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by 3cyl » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:24 pm

purchase the timber rights

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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Rev » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:35 pm

angelofwar wrote:While I respect your outlook on the wild life aspect, I also perpetuate individual liberty. I don't think he should pay taxes on it, and I also think he should be able to do what he want with it, within the law. I do also, however, think he should look at it the way you are, and leave it the natural habitat it is. But, the county could take it, sale it, and then BAM, a trailer park goes up....
It has no road to it. It'd be difficult to put in a trailer park.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by angelofwar » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:53 pm

Rev wrote:
angelofwar wrote:While I respect your outlook on the wild life aspect, I also perpetuate individual liberty. I don't think he should pay taxes on it, and I also think he should be able to do what he want with it, within the law. I do also, however, think he should look at it the way you are, and leave it the natural habitat it is. But, the county could take it, sale it, and then BAM, a trailer park goes up....
It has no road to it. It'd be difficult to put in a trailer park.
I spent a few of my teenage years in a trailer park, it was just the first thing that came to mind...LOL! It could be a development, highway, etc. What companies will do is buy swathes of land, until they get there 200 acres, and then throw up a housing development. I have 15 acres in Arkansas, about 11 of it wooded (old growth). We made a road to the field no problem. Go there in about 20 years and you'll see the most awesome BOS in existence! In all seriousness, though, I love my land...we have tons of wild-life, from deer, to wild turkeys, to otter, and I would tear a single bit of it up, so I can see where the op is coming from. However, if my neighbor wanted to cut down 20 of his trees, I agree he has the right to, all though I may not agree in his reasoning.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Rev » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:59 pm

I'm just saying they'll have a problem selling it once they claim it. You'd need to get permission to put in a driveway and utilities since it sounds like it is surrounded by other peoples properties.

I would notify whomever he owes taxes to that he plans on selling it, because that will ruin whatever they might get from selling it. They might not care, but yet again they might.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by grennels » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:12 pm

In Ohio I think it is against the law to sell a landlocked property.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Anianna » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:34 pm

grennels wrote:In Ohio I think it is against the law to sell a landlocked property.
It is illegal to sell landlocked property in many states, but not here in VA. There are a lot of landlocked properties around us - many of them are just owned by hunters who just want to have a spot to put their tree stands. One of those hunters has permission to park on our property and take his four-wheeler across the neighbor's property to get to his landlocked parcel. Some don't get so lucky getting permissions and some don't even bother asking and don't seem to care if they get caught trespassing.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Tater Raider » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:35 pm

Anianna wrote:
grennels wrote:In Ohio I think it is against the law to sell a landlocked property.
It is illegal to sell landlocked property in many states, but not here in VA. There are a lot of landlocked properties around us - many of them are just owned by hunters who just want to have a spot to put their tree stands. One of those hunters has permission to park on our property and take his four-wheeler across the neighbor's property to get to his landlocked parcel. Some don't get so lucky getting permissions and some don't even bother asking and don't seem to care if they get caught trespassing.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Slugg » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:57 am

Rev wrote:
DarkAxel wrote:
Rev wrote:If he hasn't paid taxes, and it's being taken by the government for that purpose they might be irritated at this move. Maybe.


Yeah, if they know he's having the place logged they're gonna want their cut. I know Breathitt County would rather have the money in hand than whatever they could get for the tax bill at auction.
They'd take the taxes owed from the proceeds I'd think, and he'd be stuck with a nasty piece of land he still needs to spend money on taxes. He won't be able to sell it.

Plus side, if he does get it claimed after cutting it all down, you could probably bid on it for cheap and make an orchard or something.
I was gona say that, you might get lucky with clear land.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by procyon » Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:45 am

As much as it would irritate me in your place, I would probably let him clear cut it.
Especially if you would like to aquire it.

From the way you talk about hunters owning landlocked parcels, I am guessing that you have the same issue we have in my area with people buying land to hunt on for outrageous prices - just to have a place to hunt on - and not being particularly worried about their neighbors at times.

If the land gets clear cut - most folks wanting a hunting parcel won't be very interested. And farmers won't be super excited as the ground will take a lot of work to clear of the stumps/roots/debris - and with no sure access to bring in heavy equipment it will be even more difficult.

So you might be able to get the land without spending an excessive amount. Then you could replant it as orchards, pasture, or whatever suits your needs.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Nick Adams » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:29 am

Anianna wrote:There is a landlocked patch of property in the woods (literally in the woods) surrounded by other wooded properties, including mine. It is owned by an old man (in his 90s) living in another state and he has failed to pay taxes on it for several years. Recently, the property was marked. From what we understand, he is facing losing the property and intends to sell the timber on it before the county takes it.

Normally, I don’t like telling people what they can do or not do on their own property, but the property in question is a natural habitat in the middle of the woods and includes a creek full of wildlife that connects to the Mattaponi River. Bringing the necessary machinery in will damage the habitat and removing the timber will damage the structural integrity of the environment as evidenced by another wooded property down the road in which much of the timer was cut out and the remaining trees fell like twigs when the wind blew. I am concerned that the activity on his property will damage my property as a result.

As far as we understand, he was able to get an easement to access his property from another property owner who also doesn’t live here but owns an adjacent property. We expect him to begin timbering very soon and I am wondering if there is anything we can or even should do about it. What would you guys do in my situation?
How do you know so much about this guys business? Lots of this sounds like gossip , maybe he is figuring on paying the taxes from what he gets for his timber he is cutting?
As my grandmother used to say " You don't have a nickel in that dime"...I'd stay out of it

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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by crypto » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:19 am

Around here, lots of people buy isolated or landlocked parcels specifically for logging them. There's a lot of good money to be made from that. That's why you can get easements to do it. Some people selectively log if they want to retain woodland, and some people want it clearcut to use for other purposes. I've seen people /completely pay off/ the price of a property from timber sales alone.

One of my friends calls the old-growth hardwood timber on his 100 acres 'his retirement fund' for this precise reason.

Now, if you really want to obstruct his timber sale, you could probably object to you state environmental protection organization and request he get an EIP if your state allows that, but you'll probably be a pariah in your community after that.
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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Mikeyboy » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:21 am

Anianna wrote:There is a landlocked patch of property in the woods (literally in the woods) surrounded by other wooded properties, including mine. It is owned by an old man (in his 90s) living in another state and he has failed to pay taxes on it for several years. Recently, the property was marked. From what we understand, he is facing losing the property and intends to sell the timber on it before the county takes it.

Normally, I don’t like telling people what they can do or not do on their own property, but the property in question is a natural habitat in the middle of the woods and includes a creek full of wildlife that connects to the Mattaponi River. Bringing the necessary machinery in will damage the habitat and removing the timber will damage the structural integrity of the environment as evidenced by another wooded property down the road in which much of the timer was cut out and the remaining trees fell like twigs when the wind blew. I am concerned that the activity on his property will damage my property as a result.

As far as we understand, he was able to get an easement to access his property from another property owner who also doesn’t live here but owns an adjacent property. We expect him to begin timbering very soon and I am wondering if there is anything we can or even should do about it. What would you guys do in my situation?
How big is the property? Are we talking 1 acre, 10 acres, 100? If we are talking about a big piece of land, call the Virginia Department of Forestry
http://www.dof.virginia.gov/mgt/intro-forest-mgmt.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you are talking less than 2 acres, in a wooded area where everyone owns property that they don't maintain and just let nature go, as long as you are not selling soon, I wouldn't worry about it. Honestly it will look like crap for a year, then it will get overgrown by the next year. Within 5 years, it would be overgrown with saplings and small trees and anyone just passing thru wouldn't even know the difference.

This thread does remind me of the Mr. T "Tree Massacre" story. If you like trees and live in a wooded area, don't expect everyone who owns property in that area to think the same way you do. At the end of the day, they bought the land, and as long as its legal, they can do what they want with it.

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Re: Neighbor Cutting Timber

Post by Anianna » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:48 am

I'm not sure I want to stop him if current state laws don't have a problem with it and the issue isn't an aesthetic one as it is literally in the woods and nobody is going to see it save for my family and maybe a hunter that strays too far from where they should be. I want to know if there are ways to protect my trees and my property from damage done on his property. Is there something I can plant or put in place to ensure the structural integrity of the old-growth trees on my property near where he will cut, for example. Should I dam the creek on my property or is there something else I can do to it to protect it from the timber cutting? Is there anything I can do other than let the damage happen and wait for everything to recover or can I help the environment by putting measures in place to help mitigate the damage in the first place?
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