Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | May 25, 2018

Easement News – Map 9

water co map, green brackets

If you own property on Crestline between the County Park and Water Company, or if you drive through those little roads to get to your land, this info is valuable to your property. Map 9 is between the green brackets on the much-used map.

This unusually long post is long over-due.  We’ve had success with deeded easements but I wanted to test the documents to make sure multiple title companies were comfortable with this new-found, wonderful, information.

When I first got my license as a Realtor in 2000, I was very surprised to learn that approximately 90% of Crestline Road was “landlocked”.  Landlocked refers to a parcel of land which has no ‘legal, deeded easement’ to a public maintained road.

Yes, you can drive to your property but most didn’t have a deeded easement.  People were traveling, as the former owners did, with ‘prescriptive rights’ on the same little dirt roads that were established about 100 years ago.

The properties on the paved area of Crestline Road were the easiest to sell with a loan, as they front on a county maintained road. But everything beyond the first property was “landlocked” per the title companies.  The lender guidelines can be very lax, or at times, they can be very tight.  With 20% cash down, the title companies could send an inspector up to photograph ‘physical access only’ and be able to delete the landlocked cloud.  Many cabins were sold and re-sold with physical access only.

However, the Julian Fire of 2003 really started my interest in getting this situation resolved.  An appraiser came up.  He told me of the difficult time the people were having getting permits to rebuild after the fire because so many places were landlocked. Those property owners had to deal with surveyors and neighbors to grant ‘legal, deeded easements’ to their land.  On top of loosing their homes, this was all very time consuming, expensive and frustrating.  I mentioned to the appraiser that I’d had many conversations with title officers, engineers, surveyors and the county trying to puzzle out the road situation with very little success. This has been an on-going project throughout my career.

Finally in fall of 2014, I was on the phone with the County Real Estate Services and mentioned the situation – again.  A intern was in his office as we were going over parcel map numbers.  She left for a few minutes and came back with a subdivision document asking it could be helpful.  That was the ‘gold’ we were lacking all these years.

From the subdivision document, a county letter was provided for ‘Roads Created by Assessor Map 9’.  The letter confirms the 20 foot wide roads were created as PUBLIC ROADS but privately maintained.  This area was called the ‘Palomar Park Subdivision’ and recorded in 1936.

What is also important to note is the roads were not closed at the north and south. Those public roads were created for property owners to the north and south to travel through to their land and cabins outside the subdivision.  We do have several cabins in that area that pre-date the subdivision being built in the teens and 1920s.

The maps show nine roads in the subdivision, perfectly straight, crossing Crestline. However, when the roads were cut in about 100 years ago, there were huge trees and/or  boulders in the way.  So, folks kept some trees and curved the road around steeper topography and everyone was just fine.  Some of the roads still don’t exist at all.  Parts of the road travel on people’s land so are ‘Public Roads as traveled’ which is very common in the back country. In those cases, those areas are “paper easements” on roads “as traveled” with historic and prescriptive rights for landowners traveling through.

Questions?  I’m always glad to answer them.  I’ll be at the PMPO Meeting tomorrow and perhaps we can connect then or anytime that works for you.

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor






  1. That’s great Bonnie, thanks for sharing!! By any chance does the map show any roads over by the fire department that run to or near our property? There’s a road/driveway back there between Crestline and the fire department that goes down to the boarded/vacant cabin next to us, so I’m wondering if that driveway/road was mentioned.

    On Fri, May 25, 2018 at 2:23 PM, Palomar Mountain News wrote:

    > Bonnie Phelps posted: ” If you own property on Crestline between the > County Park and Water Company, or if you drive through those little roads > to get to your land, this info is valuable to your property. Map 9 is > between the green brackets on the much-used map. This unusually” >

    • Oh Jason, your area is a ‘horse of a different color’. Yes, a road does travel down through Map 9 to your area but then into private land without easements. I am glad to talk to you about it.

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