Colegrove W. Co. v. City of Hollywood

Colegrove W. Co. v. City of Hollywood (1907) 151 Cal. 425 concerned the right of an underlying landowner to lay pipe in a previously dedicated roadway right-of-way. The road in question ran through a lemon orchard in the City of Hollywood--a developed area, by the court's reckoning, despite the property's agricultural use. ( Id. at p. 427.) Discussing the scope of the right-of-way, the court noted that "in city streets the easement of the public is, as a result of the conditions of urban life, more extensive than in roads through sparsely inhabited regions. In cities, it is customary to devote not only the surface of the street and the space above the street to public use, but the municipality may, and frequently does, occupy the soil beneath the surface for the accommodation of sewers, gas and water pipes, electric wires, and conduits for railroads. Where the city undertakes to occupy the space above or below the surface of the street for any purpose within the scope of the public uses to which highways may be put, the use by the owner of the fee must yield to the public use." ( Id. at pp. 429-430.) Colegrove also recognized that the scope of roadway rights-of-way is not fixed but responds to changing societal conditions, noting that " '... this right of the owner may grow less and less as the public needs increase ... .' " ( Id. at p. 430.)