Easement Agreement

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The following is the relevant part of the Easement Agreement, taken from Book 1120 Page 8 of County Records.

PG&E claims that the easement agreement grants it the right to complete discretion as to how it treats easement land .

1) The easement document clearly stats that PG&E must avoid "unreasonable" interference with our use of our land. Why is this statement here? It can only be here to serve as a restriction on PG&E's rights. It is therefore an important point to determine what is reasonable, clearly a vague word.

If the affected homeowners were asked what is reasonable, almost all would state their belief that PG&E's new policy is not. If PG&E were asked, it would perhaps state its belief that it is. You the reader might consider their actions reasonable. Still, in case of conflict, how could homeowners and PG&E possibly agree as to exactly what is reasonable? The word is simply too vague, and purposefully so.

Therefore, there seems to be really only one reasonable way to determine what is reasonable. That way is to look at precedent.

In the case of a prescriptive easement, for example, 5 years of precedent is considered sufficient to establish expectations of what should be considered reasonable.

This pipe has been in the ground for 68 years, and the actions of PG&E and homeowners during that time should clearly spell out what the expectations of each are as to what is reasonable. PG&E has set a clear precedent for its expectation of reasonableness, and homeowners have had in some cases 5 decades of experience becoming accustomed to PG&E's understanding of what constitutes reasonable. It can by no measure be considered reasonable for PG&E now to unilaterally determine that it has the right to completely redefine as it sees fit what the notion of reasonable should entail. PG&E now wants to uproot trees that it has allowed to grow here for the entire existence of the pipeline, and to a height of over 100 feet. PG&E wants to unilaterally shatter major expectations of reasonableness that it has allowed every person living in the affected area to develop throughout our entire time living here.

When each of the current homeowners bought our land, we bought on the expectations that PG&E itself established and promoted. There was no reference to a pipeline in the title insurance, and the presence of 100 foot trees speaks for itself. PG&E did nothing over the decades to dissuade us from developing expectations as to what is reasonable. PG&E was aware of the trees, and clearly did not mind.

Now, PG&E claims the unilateral discretion to significantly reduce our personal perceptions of the value of our homes, as well as the market values for resale. PG&E considers that we deserve no compensation for its sudden and extreme shift in policy.

The city and some homeowners have come up with alternative actions that are significantly better for the the interests of safety and for the interests of the city. The City of Mountain View formally requested that PG&E consider these proposals. PG&E did not even address any homeowner recommendations, and reacted to the city by simply ceasing communication with it.

2) PG&E claims that the easement agreement grants it aerial rights to easement land, even though there is no evidence of that in the agreement. One PG&E representative even agreed that PG&E has no such right. The PG&E bully simply changed the subject.

3) PG&E claims that trees are not allowed in the easement land. How can it make such a claim, when PG&E has allowed trees in the easement for 70 years, some growing well over a hundred feet tall? The last line in the citation above clearly indicates that structures are not allowed. The fact that trees are clearly not indicated in the list of what is not allowed, together with the fact that PG&E has ignored the presence of trees for 7 decades, is clear evidence that trees are allowed in the easement and that PG&E is aware of that fact.

4) PG&E's goal of safety is a good one. Its plan to ruthlessly uproot the lives of several Californians, using lies, bullying, and corporate threats, with no interest in compensation for the pain that it is causing, is not good. It is not ethical. It is not acceptable.