[Tagging] How to tag: public lands that are accessed by permit?

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Wed Jul 20 13:06:31 UTC 2016

Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl> writes:

> If you need explicit permission, it's access=private, even if there are
> loads of people with that explicit permission. 

The notion that all places that need permission are equivalent is
technically true in a non-useful way.

> To gain access to private property, you have to ask the landowner (or
> their agent). If you want to cross my back yard, you can't - it's
> private. But I can give you explicit permission. 

You have said "private property", but that's not really the right
sense.   I think you mean "any property which is not by law open to all
people, such as a public right of way".

A military base in the US would not be considered "private property", as
it's ownedby the federal government, but you need permission.

> If the land is privately owned but the landowner makes no attempt to
> keep you out, then it's access=permissive. But in this case, you are not
> allowed in without *explicit* permission, so it's private. Unless (in
> the UK anyway) it is a Public Right of Way - then the landowner has no
> rights to keep you out, so the path may be access=yes even though the
> land it crosses may be access=no/private. 

The point that I and Kenny made on imports is that there are two very
different situations:

  private, and really there is no expectation that some random person
  can easily/reasonably get permission or that it's reasonable to ask

  a permit system, where it's controlled somehow, but really you can go
  there after you follow the rules, and there's an expectation that
  permits will be issued to those who ask

This is essentially splitting what you are wanting to call private into
private and permit.  In terms of planning/etc., the notion that
permission will be granted after some application formality is entirely
different from a place where there is no expectation that permission
would be granted absent some pre-existing relationship.   I see this as
a first-class top-level distinction, partly because I don't see the
world through the UK lens of "public right of way vs evertyhing else".

Also, state parks that charge admission in your view should be labeled
access=private; paying for a park pass and filling out a permit
application are more or less the same thing.

Also, we aren't being consistent with such a strict definition.  There
are many shopping malls near me, and the ways have no access tags.
That's wrong, as they aren't public rights of way.  But it is amazingly
rare, almost unheard of, to be told not to be there at least at
reasonable times.  So technically they should perhaps be permissive, but
really that does not match.  Arguably we should have
access=public_invited, which is subtly different from yes in that there
is no legal right.  But I think leaving them untagged (and thus yes) is
just fine and it's a problem that doesn't need addressing.
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