BRENTWOOD -- Students will be able to use a popular shortcut opposite two campuses here after all once school districts have sealed a right-of-way agreement with the landowner.
Trustees of both Liberty Union High and Brentwood Union school districts have agreed to purchase the right to use a path that runs through a swath of farmland between Heritage High and Adams Middle schools and Mountain View Drive.
The document, which has yet to be signed, proposes to pay the landowner $100 annually for five years in exchange for allowing students to use a 12-foot wide strip of land across his property.
The deal is expected to solve the littering and vandalism that have plagued the landowner and a farmer who leases acreage from him: As part of the agreement, the districts will accept responsibility for maintaining the shortcut, which includes repairing fences that trespassers repeatedly have torn apart and knocked down in the past.
No-trespassing signs notwithstanding, many students traditionally cut through the open space to and from school, some because they live in the Deer Ridge subdivision that abuts Mountain View Drive and others because their parents dropped them off and picked them up on that street rather than battle gridlock.
American Avenue, which runs in front of Heritage High and dead-ends at Adams Middle School, has been snarled with traffic twice a day for years.
"Ninety-nine percent of those kids were fine. It's the 1
Sparks from some vehicle once set his crop on fire, he added, and he's paid to have fences repaired on multiple occasions.
The last straw was when a woman recently asked who would be liable if someone suffered an injury while crossing the property, which prompted McCauley and the landowner to get Brentwood police involved in enforcing trespassing laws.
The districts plan to install steel posts at both ends of the path to keep traffic out, said Wayne Reeves, director of project development for Liberty Union High School District.
In addition, the terms of the lease call for a fence along the southernmost side of the footpath so that pedestrians and bicyclists don't venture onto the land that McCauley is cultivating.
Reeves says he hopes the right-of-way agreement will have the necessary signatures by the end of the week.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141.