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Installing fence on property line.. oops, gas line is also on property line.

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Installing fence on property line.. oops, gas line is also on property line.

Old 09-03-2015, 07:34 AM
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Default Installing fence on property line.. oops, gas line is also on property line.

I'm not quite sure the right approach here.

Fencing in the backyard of an investment property. Get the required permits etc etc. Call to have utility lines marked, as there's a 5' utility easement along the back of the property. (pretty normal around here)

According to the gas co, the gas line is buried directly on the property line which of course is exactly where I intend to place the fence. I believe their "recommendation" is no fences within 2' of their line.

Both neighbors (and basically all houses up and down the street) have wood fences on top of this line. I have none currently.

If I move the fence 2' into my property to avoid the line, I am concerned about the long term implications of "giving up" that 2' of my property. (not to mention the house has a tiny backyard, 2' would be a significant change)

I'm a bit perplexed. First that they'd lay the line directly on the property line, and second that assuming the line runs straight, every other house would have build a fence directly on top of said gas line. In fact I just pulled a huge ficus hedge off the same line, and the marking guy actually spray painted the line directly up to a 20' tree that's also on top of it.

Do I just start digging (carefully) and see what I find?
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:36 AM
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Pickaxe and video.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:38 AM
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For contractors who get locates, they hand dig to find the located utility before proceeding with additional work.

Given your concerns, I'd hand dig and see how far down that line is buried. IF it's a ways down....meh. If it were my house, I'd put the fence up.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:42 AM
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Placing the rear fence 2' off the line as the utility company requires does not mean you relinquish ownership of that strip of land. What it might mean is that the neighbors behind you, if there are any, will get to enjoy that extra 2' but they won't own it.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
I'm not quite sure the right approach here.

Fencing in the backyard of an investment property. Get the required permits etc etc. Call to have utility lines marked, as there's a 5' utility easement along the back of the property. (pretty normal around here)

According to the gas co, the gas line is buried directly on the property line which of course is exactly where I intend to place the fence. I believe their "recommendation" is no fences within 2' of their line.

Both neighbors (and basically all houses up and down the street) have wood fences on top of this line. I have none currently.

If I move the fence 2' into my property to avoid the line, I am concerned about the long term implications of "giving up" that 2' of my property. (not to mention the house has a tiny backyard, 2' would be a significant change)

I'm a bit perplexed. First that they'd lay the line directly on the property line, and second that assuming the line runs straight, every other house would have build a fence directly on top of said gas line. In fact I just pulled a huge ficus hedge off the same line, and the marking guy actually spray painted the line directly up to a 20' tree that's also on top of it.

Do I just start digging (carefully) and see what I find?
At least when we used to do some trenching and bury some cable or pipes, we would go something close to 2 feet. When covering it back we would put 6 -12 inches back of filling and a yellow warning type right on top warning there was a buried cable or pipe, and then the rest of the filling.

If you go slow, you may find something like that tape and then go from there.
Also, I've seen design drawings matching "As built" drawings that may put the gas pipe RIGHT on your property line. but when you go to dig it, may have 2-3 feet of "margin error".

If I were you, I would try to locate and follow the gas pipe underground first, and then decide if you can put the fence on top of the property line. You may be perfectly fine.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:44 AM
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Any chance of the neighbor behind you putting up a fence and being two feet on their side of the property line? If so just run the side fences back to meet them.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:55 AM
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How do you feel about taking the fence down, or getting a call from your tenant that found it had been taken down, after you put it on the utility easement? As a supervisor for a NG utility company, I know this is well within our rights and it has happened. Plus, I don't think that I would want to be caught digging up a utility line after having it already marked out and being told the requirements of the landowner by the utility company.

To add: The line was put right on the property line probably so the two landowners on either side have an equal "share" of the easement.

Last edited by burtonboards32; 09-03-2015 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:56 AM
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http://www.sunshine811.com/ ....before you soft dig.

Easements are one of those sucky things in life. Just know if whoever owns that line needs to do something your fence will be gone.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by blackdawg View Post
http://www.sunshine811.com/ ....before you soft dig.

Easements are one of those sucky things in life. Just know if whoever owns that line needs to do something your fence will be gone.
And so will all the neighbors' fences built in the easement. If the gas line is fairly new HDPE material, it's not likely to be disturbed again in your lifetime unless one of your near neighbors hasn't yet connected their house to the line. I'd dig carefully to find how deep the line is buried, which could easily be 3'-5' below grade, but no less that 2'. Fence posts are typically set in holes 1/3-1/2 the above-ground post height. So, for a 6' high fence, 2' deep post holes.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by burtonboards32 View Post
How do you feel about taking the fence down, or getting a call from your tenant that found it had been taken down, after you put it on the utility easement? As a supervisor for a NG utility company, I know this is well within our rights and it has happened. Plus, I don't think that I would want to be caught digging up a utility line after having it already marked out and being told the requirements of the landowner by the utility company.

To add: The line was put right on the property line probably so the two landowners on either side have an equal "share" of the easement.
I have no problem with one of the utilities coming into their easement and destoying anything I put there, that's fine, that's the deal with easements - it just never occured to me that the gas pipe itself would be directly where everyone puts their fences - my concern isn't so much them ripping it up, my concern is can I even safely put it there (which everyone else has done..)

I obviously don't intend to go to town with a gas powered trencher in the area, but when I look up and down the block and see everyone has a fence on the property line I'm somewhat baffled as to the safety etc. We're not talking about 2 acre lots, the lots are 70x100 and I just happened to buy the one where the previous owners were too cheap to have a fence installed.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:37 AM
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Just a thought...

You're in Florida? Gas lines may not be buried as deeply there as up here, where they are usually below the frost line, but 2' is supposed to be the minimum depth for a distribution line. If you're putting in a 3' high chain link fence, probably no issue having it directly on top of the gas line (beyond the risks mentioned above). If you're putting in a 6' solid wood fence- the kind a hurricane could blow down, I'd keep it far enough away from the gas line that having a fence post blowing over won't result in mechanical stress to the gas line.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
I have no problem with one of the utilities coming into their easement and destoying anything I put there, that's fine, that's the deal with easements - it just never occured to me that the gas pipe itself would be directly where everyone puts their fences.

I obviously don't intend to go to town with a gas powered trencher in the area, but when I look up and down the block and see everyone has a fence on the property line I'm somewhat baffled as to the safety etc. We're not talking about 2 acre lots, the lots are 70x100 and I just happened to buy the one where the previous owners were too cheap to have a fence installed.
That's all well and good, I am just telling you my point of view from a utility operations standpoint. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to tell my equipment operator to load up the backhoe and have fun after a land owner has requested a dig safe, has been told the requirements, then disregarded all of the previous discussions and installed the fence directly over my line. Go ahead and do what you feel is necessary, I am just trying to potentially save you some unneeded headache and expense.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:49 AM
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The gas line has to be buries at x- number of feet below ground level. find out what that is.

SOP
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by burtonboards32 View Post
That's all well and good, I am just telling you my point of view from a utility operations standpoint. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to tell my equipment operator to load up the backhoe and have fun after a land owner has requested a dig safe, has been told the requirements, then disregarded all of the previous discussions and installed the fence directly over my line. Go ahead and do what you feel is necessary, I am just trying to potentially save you some unneeded headache and expense.
No worries. I am pretty sure the gas company won't hesitate to bulldoze down every fence on the block if they feel like it, they're not going to feel any better or worse about mine.

I'm just surprised with all the planning that goes into laying out a neighborhood that nobody stopped and said 'hey, isn't this right where everyone will put their fence?

It is actually a bit comical with the orange spray paint leading right up to the center of a 15" trunk of a ~30 year old tree.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Flot View Post
No worries. I am pretty sure the gas company won't hesitate to bulldoze down every fence on the block if they feel like it, they're not going to feel any better or worse about mine.

I'm just surprised with all the planning that goes into laying out a neighborhood that nobody stopped and said 'hey, isn't this right where everyone will put their fence?

It is actually a bit comical with the orange spray paint leading right up to the center of a 15" trunk of a ~30 year old tree.
On second thought, I think you should just put the fence in because, well, everyone else is doing it! Best of luck.

PS - don't ask a question that you may not like an answer to...
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by burtonboards32 View Post
That's all well and good, I am just telling you my point of view from a utility operations standpoint. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to tell my equipment operator to load up the backhoe and have fun after a land owner has requested a dig safe, has been told the requirements, then disregarded all of the previous discussions and installed the fence directly over my line. Go ahead and do what you feel is necessary, I am just trying to potentially save you some unneeded headache and expense.
There are no requirements in FL for you to "not" build over a utility variance, that I am aware of.
Once you locate the utility, your only duty is to not hit it.

Furthermore, any utility who tells their folks to "go to town" because they don't like something that was done on the rightfully owned property above the utility, and somebody heard it, would probably have to pay the property owner for unnecessary additional damage to access that utility.

Lots of small fenced lots here in FL and I have to believe what OP might do, and what his neighbors did, is VERY common.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:23 AM
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I have an easement on my property as well for a storm drain that runs between the properties.

There is a fence above it. (The fence is on my neighbor's property, it is his fence, he paid for it).

My understanding from the lawyer who reviewed my survey is that the fence is fine, it will only be an issue if they have to dig up the storm drain. Then they may or may not put it back. They usually *do* put it back since they understand that it's sort of a PITA while they'd be working at the house.

Honestly: None issue. (Just use care when you/they dig!!!)
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:42 AM
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They did the planning. They planned for the gas line and associated easement. Then people decided to build a fence or whatever in the easement. If the utility needs to use that easement the fence is gone. Pretty simple.

Not likely to be an issue and really a little bit of fence isn't the end of the world to replace in the off chance it gets demolished.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:44 AM
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I wouldn't go near the gas line. You've been instructed to stay two foot back. If you inadvertently damage the gas line while you're installing the fence the consequences could get extreme. There was a house explosion in my area not too long ago and it was attributed to a contractor who had inadvertently dinged the gas line while installing a new sewer line for the home owner. A person died in the explosion and a little girl was hurt pretty bad. The sewer line work had been done years prior to the gas line explosion. IMO, best just to abide by the regulations on this one.
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad1 View Post
I wouldn't go near the gas line. You've been instructed to stay two foot back. If you inadvertently damage the gas line while you're installing the fence the consequences could get extreme. There was a house explosion in my area not too long ago and it was attributed to a contractor who had inadvertently dinged the gas line while installing a new sewer line for the home owner. A person died in the explosion and a little girl was hurt pretty bad. The sewer line work had been done years prior to the gas line explosion. IMO, best just to abide by the regulations on this one.
he wasn't instructed to stay 2' back. He said he believes their recommendation is to stay about 2' away.

In the real world? You have absolutely no idea how many utilities are stacked upon eachother everywhere, especially along major roadways. Electrical, fiber optic, gas, water, you name it.

He did the right thing by doing the locate. Now, with that locate, as said, the line could technically be (or by law should be) within 2' of either side of the mark line as law allow variance. So, it may not even be directly under the line but 2' into his neighbor's property.

OP can hand-dig and he should be fine.

Honestly, no post hole digger is going to break a gas line, unless you're the hulk. (If he is putting up a stockade fence and using a hand post hole digger)
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