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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Building behind Railway Line
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george415
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 11:24
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Hello All

I have some acres zoned to allow a hunt camp of 1000sq ft on the muskoka area but my property is behind a rail line ....

Worried that if I submit a building permit application they will ask how I intend to access the property

Any thoughts ?

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 15:12
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Certainly you have some legal access to your own land, usually chunks land locked will have some sort of easement.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 15:34
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Quoting: toyota_mdt_tech
Certainly you have some legal access to your own land, usually chunks land locked will have some sort of easement.


Poor assumption. In the NF area close to me a person bought some acreage many years ago and back then the system was kinda sloppy. He found he has no legal right to access his property except over some neighboring private land ( not through the NF), and the recorded deeds have no mention of any access.

Quoting: george415
Worried that if I submit a building permit application they will ask how I intend to access the property


Does the recorded info at the county clerk make any mention of access? For the past 15 years or so my county has been careful to insist that needed access be noted in their records, and noted by a survey. But older parcels sometimes have flaws as noted above. To cross a rail line you may need special permission.

I see you are in Canada. I'm in the US, so how things are done may be different.

Rory
Member
# Posted: 4 Jul 2019 17:21
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George I’m no expert but I’m in Ontario and I also bought property that is blocked off by a rail line. Unfortunately, If there is no road leading to the property they likely won’t issue you a build permit period. If there is a private access road along the rail line that does reach your property your best bet will probably be to get permission to use the road from the rail company before applying for any permit. Unfortunately If it’s an organized township without road access you don’t have a lot of options.

Houska
Member
# Posted: 11 Jul 2019 11:05 - Edited by: Houska
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I'm behind a railway line, in Ontario.

There are 2 dimensions to this.

First, building permits. This varies by jurisdiction. Generally, in Ontario, to build even a seasonal *residence* you need to be adjacent to a public road, or be able to demonstrate you have right of access via a private road over registered rights of way (easements) and/or with access agreements (e.g. township road allowances, railway crossings, etc.) over others' property. In some jurisdictions, those conditions are relaxed for *hunt camps* but you typically in some way still need some form of documented right of way.

Second, private railway crossings (which is what you may need) in Canada are governed by the Canadian Transportation Act, and with the Canadian Transportation Agency stepping in formally or informally when landowners can't agree with the rail company. Rail companies don't like private crossings for safety reasons.

Fortunately, section 103 of the CTA provides a framework how a landowner adjacent to a rail line can require the rail company to allow a private crossing if it is necessary for access to the land. Unfortunately, the costs of establishing and maintaining the crossing are borne by the landowner, and can range from a few hundred $ for a simple farm crossing over a low-traffic single rail line, to several hundred thousand $ if the combination of vehicular and rail traffic requires signals and/or terrain changes for safety. In addition, the rail company may resist or attempt to negotiate conditions more stringent than they are allowed by the CTA, so it may take a long time to negotiate and/or require going to the CTA tribunal to force a decision. It's a lot easier if the crossing is already established than if you are building a new one.

Your rights are better if s. 102 of the CTA applies (simplified: if the railway bisected someone's land and there is an uninterrupted chain of you and previous owners owning the land on both sides of the railway), in which case the crossing is at the rail company's expense.

As a starting point, see https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/publication/crossings-a-resource-tool and consult your local township what form of access documentation they need for a building permit. Good luck.

NorthRick
Member
# Posted: 12 Jul 2019 15:24
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Sounds like you may need a helicopter.

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