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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.
Although the right of way may have been vacated, the rights and interests of private individuals and utility companies may still encumber the road or right-of-way. These private individuals typically live about the road or right- of-way that is vacated, and historically have used these roads for access, or own land in the same plat.
Similarly utility easements may also still encumber the areas vacated. What is given up in the vacation process is only the right of the general public to use the vacated road or right-of-way.
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".
The Grant County Board of Commissioners is empowered with deciding if a road 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 generally adopts a resolution recognizing the statutory vacation so as to remove clouds on title.
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. If the vacation is done by resolution the time and date of the hearing must be posted on the area to be vacated and it also must be published in the public notice section of the official county newspaper.
The basic petitioning fee is $125.