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Subdivision frustrated over servitude, parish says some might need to move fence

DENHAM SPRINGS - Residents in one neighborhood are frustrated to find out that their property lines are not where they thought.

Livingston Parish is now telling some of them that their fences might need to move. Scott Grimes moved to Arbor Walk subdivision in Denham Springs a few years ago and built a fence around his yard that backs up to a drainage area.

"The original intent was I wanted to have backyard access, I wanted to have a nice backyard fenced-in," Grimes said.

He says that before the 2016 flood, his HOA maintained the drainage ditch area. But about three years ago, Grimes says the parish took over the job and that crew discovered some residents had built their fences in the servitude.

"They determined they didn't have enough access in some areas so they started their survey process to determine people they deemed were over the servitude," Grimes said.

Survey stakes showed up around the servitude in July. That's when Grimes learned that his fence was mere inches over the servitude line. He hired someone to move his fence about a foot back toward his house for $1,500. Grimes says he thought he was in the clear until hanging tags showed up on front doors in the neighborhood telling residents to contact the parish. That's also when more wooden stakes showed up, this time even farther into Grimes' property line.

The Livingston Parish Department of Public Works says there about 33 lots in the Arbor Walk subdivision that are affected. To properly clean the drainage ditches, the parish says it needs proper clearance from everyone. Now with the addition of the new stakes, residents like Grimes aren't sure where that is.

"How do they determine where the servitude is if it's not defined by the plot map that the parish approved? Then where is the servitude?" Grimes said.

At least one resident has removed their fence altogether and Grimes is worried he'll have to move his fence again.

"It's going to take more of my private backyard space," he said.

Friday, 2 On Your Side learned there is a meeting among the parties involved early next week. The information regarding correct servitude lines and properties will be made available then. The parish said people have until January 1, 2020, to make necessary changes if need be.

Grimes says he heard from the parish and the subdivision developer, DSLD, which says it'll be placing correct servitude markers in the neighborhood next week. The parish apologized for the confusion and offered to assist in moving Grimes' fence if it's still deemed over the servitude.

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