Vacate Road and Right-of-way

WHAT IS A ROAD VACATION?

A road or right-of-way vacation is governed by R.C.W. 36.87. It is a process where land owners can have the public's interest in roads or right-of-ways removed.  

  • A Standard right-of-way is 60' wide.  Right-of-ways in excess of 60 ft. maybe petitioned to vacate as surplus.  Some surplus rights may require market value be paid to the County.
  • There may still be encumbrances on the portions vacated, as only the County/Public interest in the road is removed. Washington State Legislature Complete Chapter 36.87
  • The Assessor determines how the rights are divided.  Generally the rights are divided in half, each half going to the land owner on either side.  If the road was platted and only serves parcels on one side, the vacated road would revert to those parcels only.

WHO ASKS FOR A VACATION?

Generally the person who wants the road or right-of-way which abuts their property vacated will be the "Principal Petitioner". Any other neighbors who want the same road or right-of-way which abuts their property vacated under the same petition can sign the petition as "Co-Petitioners".  GCPW generally requires that all owners on both sides participate.  The law requires majority of ownership of all parcels be involved and in agreement to the petition.

WHO DECIDES IF THE ROAD IS VACATED?

The Grant County Board of Commissioners is empowered with deciding if a road and/or right-of-way will be vacated. The Commissioners rely on recommendations from the County Engineer and on testimony at a public hearing which must be held before a road can be vacated. They are responsible for protecting the general public's interest and the vacation is at their discretion. A favorable recommendation from the County Engineer and no opposition to the vacation at the public hearing are helpful in obtaining the vacation.

When the road has been vacated by operation of law, or statute, the Board of Commissioners adopts by approving or denying a resolution recognizing the statutory vacation.  Approval of the resolution is recorded, so a legal document is generated; this can help to remove clouds on title where the right-of-way is larger than the standard 60'.

HOW LONG DOES A VACATION TAKE?

It usually takes four to six weeks before the public hearing can be set. This can be done only after the petition is returned, with the proper signatures, to the Department of Public Works for processing.  The County Attorney and County Engineer must both review the petition; the Building Department and the Assessor are also included in our process.

 A Notice of Hearing is signed by the Board.  The Notice of Hearing must be posted on the area to be vacated, on ingress/egress locations or at both ends, for a minimum of 20 days.  The Notice must be published in the public notice section of the official county newspaper at least 2 x in the 2 weeks preceding the vacation.  

No other Notice is required by law, but you can request a Notice of Hearing be e-mailed to you.  We also post the Notices on the GCPW website and on the GCPW Facebook page.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The basic petitioning fee is $125.00 by check or money order.  The vacation will not be reviewed without payment.  Payment will not be posted until after the Notice of Hearing is signed by the Board.  If the petition is denied before signing, the check or money order will be returned.  If the petiton takes longer than 6 months, the original check will be returned in exchange for a newly dated check before the Notice is signed.

You may contact the Road Information Services person for information, to submit information for or against, and to ask about progress of a petition.  Currently, the Road Information person is Barb O'Neill : [email protected].

Vacation Petition Packet