New York Highway Law § 205. Highways abandoned




1. Every highway that shall not have been opened and worked within six years from the time it shall have been dedicated to the use of the public, or laid out, shall cease to be a highway;  but the period during which any action or proceeding shall have been, or shall be pending in regard to any such highway, shall form no part of such six years;  and every highway that shall not have been traveled or used as a highway for six years, shall cease to be a highway, and every public right of way that shall not have been used for said period shall be deemed abandoned as a right-of-way.  The town superintendent with the written consent of a majority of the town board shall file, and cause to be recorded in the town clerk's office of the town a written description, signed by him, and by said town board of each highway and public right-of-way so abandoned, and the same shall thereupon be discontinued.

2. There may also be a qualified abandonment of a highway under the following conditions and for the following purposes, to wit:  Where it appears to the town superintendent and said town board, at any time, that a highway has not become wholly disused as aforesaid, but that it has not for two years next previous thereto, been usually traveled along the greater part thereof, by more than two vehicles daily, in addition to pedestrians and persons on horseback, and it shall also appear to the superintendent of highways of the county in which such town is situate that a qualified abandonment of such highway is proper and will not cause injustice or hardship to the owner or occupant of any lands adjoining such highway after such superintendent shall have held a public hearing thereon upon giving at least twenty days' written notice to such owners and occupants of such lands of the time and place of such hearing, they shall file and cause to be recorded in the town clerk's office a certificate containing a description of that portion of the highway partly disused as aforesaid and declaring a qualified abandonment thereof.  The effect of such qualified abandonment, with respect to the portion of said highway described in the certificate, shall be as follows:  It shall no longer be worked at the public expense;  it shall not cease to be a highway for purposes of the public easement, by reason of such suspension of work thereon;  no persons shall impair its use as a highway nor obstruct it, except as hereinafter provided, but no persons shall be required to keep any part of it in repair;  wherever an owner or lessee of adjoining lands has the right to possession of other lands wholly or partly on the directly opposite side of the highway therefrom, he may construct and maintain across said highway a fence at each end of the area of highway which adjoins both of said opposite pieces of land, provided that each said cross fence must have a gate in the middle thereof at least ten feet in length, which gate must at all times be kept unlocked and supplied with a sufficient hasp or latch for keeping the same closed;  all persons owning or using opposite lands, connected by such gates and fences, may use the portion of highway thus enclosed for pasturage;  any traveler or other person who intentionally, or by wilful neglect, leaves such gate unlatched, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and the fact of leaving it unlatched shall be prima facie evidence of such intent or wilful neglect.  Excepting as herein abrogated, all other general laws relating to highways shall apply to such partially abandoned highway.  This section shall not apply to highways less than two rods in width unless it shall appear to the town superintendent at any time that such a highway has not, during the months of June to September inclusive of the two years next previous thereto, been usually traveled along the greater part thereof by more than ten pedestrians daily.

Any action or proceeding involving the abandonment or qualified abandonment of a highway made pursuant to this section must, in the case of abandonment, be commenced within one year from the date of filing by the town superintendent as provided in subdivision one of this section.



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