SARATOGA SPRINGS — A local neighborhood on the west side of Saratoga has brought up concerns regarding an access road for which Canadian Pacific Railway uses an easement.
Property owner Joseph Ogden noticed the access road when he first moved to the residential area with his family almost eight-years-ago. After looking into the history of the access road, he began to question if Canadian Pacific actually requires use of the path, or is even legally entitled to it.
“When there was only a couple houses in this neighborhood, use of the access road made sense…maybe it was more out of the way, but the neighborhood now is residential and it’s problematic,” Ogden said.
Adjacent to Grand Ave, Ogden said the easement was originally given to the property owners when the overpass was built so residents could have access to Grand Ave and not become landlocked. From what Ogden has noticed, the only use of the path is from unauthorized vehicles using the road to privately dump garbage on an adjacent parcel of undeveloped land.
“People come in and they bring truck loads because they think that this is something they can get away with. They don’t understand that this is really private property. The railroad and the property owners themselves are the ones that hold the easement,” Ogden said.
The undeveloped parcel of land now holds loads of broken cement, rocks and even a CRT (cathode ray tube) television. As the neighborhood grew with more families and houses, he grew concerned over the path’s overall safety, adding to the environmental concern.
“They have not articulated to us that there is something unique about this particular path that gives them some kind of different functionality,” Ogden said.
He started contacting the railroad company about a year ago, voicing his concerns over the safety and asking if the rail company actually needed access to the path.
He asked: “you have several other access points on the west side as a railroad company and just here in the city, do you really need this? We also noticed we don’t use it a whole lot. It’s not even plowed in the winter…it’s covered in snow for those months and if you’re only using it seldom throughout the year, do you really need it?”
He said at first, Canadian Pacific said they would look into the access road and it’s use, but after nine months of follow-up by Ogden, finally answered they were not willing to submit the use easement.
“They’ve admitted to me that they don’t use it, that they don’t need it,” Ogden said. “My goal, as a citizen and property owner and our goal as a neighborhood here, is to have Canadian Pacific acknowledge that they do not use this access road anymore. They don’t need the access road anymore. It’s private property and the full ownership and full use of it really needs to be returned to the property owners, given that it doesn’t appear to have any extra functionality for the railroad. I know they don’t use it a whole lot and it’s engendering this unauthorized dumping. The safety of our entire neighborhood is in question, including the well-being of our young children. We cannot tolerate this any longer.”