Responsibility for alleyways

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Victoria Town Manager seeks to answer questions about who is responsible for the upkeep of parcels of land and alleyways that lie between two residential properties, whether the responsibility lies with the adjoining property owner, the Town of Victoria or the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Due to the recent flooding in the area as a result of Tropical Storms Florence and Michael, property and roadways in the area continue to see damage.

Rodney Newton, town manager, said the county received an estimated 6 inches of water in two hours during the worst of Hurricane Florence, and while he said he does not have a good estimate of the flooding during Tropical Storm Michael, he estimates that areas of the county received somewhere between 8 and 10 inches of rain within four hours.

“Unless an alley has gone through the property vacation and abandonment process and (was) legally vacated by ordinance by the town the alley ownership still remains with the town,” Newton said. He said helping maintain the parcels of land that are located in between residential properties is considered the responsibility of the adjoining property owners, according to the town ordinance. The owners would be responsible for maintaining the upkeep of the land up to the center line that would separate the two properties.

Newton said VDOT maintains all of the roads and right of ways in the town with the exception of three small streets.

Newton said the town council recently voted to abandon four alleyways that included a portion of 15th Street, located at an intersection with Washington Avenue; a portion of 10th Street between Poorhouse Road and Wilson Avenue; a portion of Ninth Street and Forest Avenue and a portion of Forest Avenue.

Newton said that the request to vacate the unopened streets “were generated by citizens that owned the property adjacent to the unopened streets.”

If a property owner is unsure if he or she owns a parcel of land in between their neighbor’s property, or if their neighbor is not maintaining a parcel considered an alleyway, Newton said the property owner can speak with the town office.