Can the City resolve my property boundary dispute with my neighbor?

BY PAUL ROBERTS, CITY ATTORNEY

QUESTION: Can the City resolve my property boundary dispute with my neighbor?

Answer: In short, no.

The city’s involvement in establishing boundaries between properties is limited to our review of plats for adequate square footage and verifying setbacks for new construction. The city does not employ a surveyor to ensure that fences are placed exactly on boundaries or that other markings meet precise boundary descriptions; that is the seller’s responsibility.

Nor does the city file criminal citations against those who are exercising plausible property rights in such cases. We do not prosecute someone for taking down a fence or bush on a mutual border, for instance, or for trespassing on land that may belong to either party. A police or code enforcement officer cannot determine an exact property boundary.

When two abutting neighbors dispute a boundary, whether it be due to fencing, vegetation, or other uses, it is a civil dispute between those neighbors – the only way the government will resolve the difference is through a District Court Judge, after a party brings suit against the other.

If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend that you do your best to work out an amicable arrangement.

Do you have a community question?
Submit your question to proberts@syracuseut.com.

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