Hackettstown, NJ asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New Jersey

Q: Who owns/has rights to a paper street if the township has not developed it for more than 50 years? What rights do we hav

A builder has bought lots behind the two front abutting properties for residential development. The builder asked the two abutting property owners to vacate or sign his lawyer's legal paperwork ceding their portions of the paper street to him. The builder can access the property for development from another street bordering his lots. Rumor has it that he wants this paper street in order to create a private road for his 5 house development as it's less expensive for him to develop. Allegedly, the township doesn't want to pave, maintain a new road, therefore the private road is a cheap option. Otherwise, the township would require him to pave. A utility pole would need to relocate in front of one of the properties and there would be additional traffic. A township employee alluded that if the abutting owners didn't vacate the paper street to him, the township may have to pave that portion of the paper road and the builder would have his portion of the paper street private. Our rights?

1 Lawyer Answer
Morris Leo Greb
Morris Leo Greb
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Rockaway, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Anyone may improve the road subject to municipal requirements as the municipal 'owns' the right of way. If an application to vacate the private road, one half goes to each property that abuts the right of way. It would be worthwhile speaking to the municipal engineer to determine whether the municipality would be interested in vacating the right of way.

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