Chapter 17.12
STREET VACATION PROCEDURE*

Sections:

17.12.010    Definition.

17.12.020    Reserved.

17.12.030    Petition – Right to make.

17.12.040    Petition – Contents – Signature.

17.12.050    Petition – Filing fee.

17.12.060    Petition – Hearing – Time fixed.

17.12.070    Petition – Withdrawal prohibited.

17.12.080    Hearing – Posting notice.

17.12.090    Hearing – Decision.

17.12.100    Reserved.

17.12.110    Reserved.

17.12.120    Petitions – Supplemental – Conditions.

17.12.130    Granting – Conditions.

17.12.140    Granting – Portion of petitioned area.

17.12.150    Title to vacated street or alley.

*    For provisions on street vacation, see Chapter 35.79 RCW.

17.12.010 Definition.

The term “owner of an interest in real estate” means the owners of fee title, mortgagees and contract vendees. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 246 § 1(a), 1957).

17.12.020 Reserved. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996).

17.12.030 Petition – Right to make.

The owners of an interest in any real estate abutting upon any street or alley may petition the city council to vacate the street or alley or any portion thereof, or the city council may itself initiate such vacation procedures by resolution. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1201 § 1, 1986; Ord. 246 § 2, 1957).

17.12.040 Petition – Contents – Signature.

The petition shall describe the street or alley or a portion thereof desired to be vacated and shall be signed by owners of more than two-thirds of the private property abutting upon the part of the street or alley sought to be vacated. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 246 § 3, 1957).

17.12.050 Petition – Filing fee.

The petition properly signed shall be filed with the city clerk upon payment of a filing fee, which shall be paid into the general fund of the city to aid in defraying of expenses incurred by the city in checking the sufficiency of such petition and investigating or reporting the facts and shall not be returned to the petitioners regardless of the city council’s action on such petition. The amount of such fee shall be established by resolution of the city. In the event that the filing fee, computed on petitioner’s estimate, proves to be insufficient as evidenced by the city investigation, the balance of the fee shall be paid before notices of hearing are mailed. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1306 § 25, 1988: Ord. 246 § 4, 1957).

17.12.060 Petition – Hearing – Time fixed.

A.    Petition Method. If signed by the owners of more than two-thirds of the property abutting the portion of the street or alley to be vacated, at a regular council meeting following the filing of such petition, the council, by resolution, shall fix a time when the petition shall be heard and determined, which time shall not be more than 60 days nor less than 20 days after the date of passage of such resolution.

B.    Resolution Method. In cases where vacation is initiated by city council resolution, the resolution shall include the date for a hearing on the vacation. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1201 § 2, 1986; Ord. 246 § 5, 1957).

17.12.070 Petition – Withdrawal prohibited.

No petitioner may withdraw their petition or their consent after the council has set a time for hearing, although the petitioners may be heard at the public hearing, to present any information which bears upon the public advantage to be served or harmed by the proposed vacation. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 246 § 6, 1957).

17.12.080 Hearing – Posting notice.

A.    Petition Method. At least 20 days prior to the hearing, the city clerk shall issue a written notice which shall be posted/mailed as follows:

1.    Posted in three of the most public places in the city; and

2.    Posted on a conspicuous place on a portion of the street or alley to be vacated. The notice shall contain a statement that a petition requesting vacation has been filed or a resolution passed to vacate the portion described in the notice, along with a statement of the time and place set for the hearing on the matter;

3.    Mailed to each property owner within 300 feet of any property abutting upon any part of the street or alley sought to be vacated.

B.    Resolution Method – Additional Notice. In all cases where the proceeding is initiated by city council resolution, in addition to the above required notice, a similar notice shall be sent by mail at least 15 days before the hearing to each owner of any property abutting upon any part of the portion of the street or alley sought to be vacated. Ownership shall be determined as shown on the rolls of the county treasurer, and directed to the address shown thereon.

C.    Resolution Method – Divestiture of Jurisdiction to Proceed. If 50 percent of the abutting property owners file written objections to the proposed vacation with the clerk, prior to the time of hearing, the city shall not proceed with the resolution. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1201 § 3, 1986; Ord. 246 § 7, 1957).

17.12.090 Hearing – Decision.

At the time of the hearing on the vacation, or at such time as the same may be continued by the city council, the matter shall be considered and those desiring to speak on the vacation shall be heard. Following the hearing, the council shall determine whether to grant the petition and/or proceed with the vacation. Such determination shall include, but not be limited to, consideration of the following criteria:

A.    Whether a change of use or vacation of the described portion shall better serve the public good; or

B.    Whether the street, alley or portion thereof is no longer required for public use; or

C.    Whether the use thereof as a public way is of such public benefit as not to justify the cost of maintenance; or

D.    Whether the substitution of a new and different way would be more useful to the public; or

E.    Whether conditions may so change in the future as to provide a greater use or need than presently exists; and

F.    Whether objections to the proposed vacation are made by owners of private property (exclusive of petitioners) abutting the same. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1201 § 4, 1986; Ord. 246 § 8, 1957).

17.12.100 Reserved. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996).

17.12.110 Reserved. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996).

17.12.120 Petitions – Supplemental – Conditions.

Supplemental petitions, or objections, containing signatures of additional persons or owners of abutting property petitioning for and consenting to such vacation may be filed as a part of, and considered with, the initial petition; provided, that such supplemental petitions shall not extend the description of the area sought to be vacated or such new or different condition to such vacation. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 246 § 12, 1957).

17.12.130 Granting – Conditions.

If the city council determines to grant the vacation, such action shall be made by ordinance with such conditions or limitations as the council deems necessary and proper to preserve any desired public use or benefit.

A.    Easements. If the city council deems that to grant the vacation shall be to the public’s interest and advantage, the council may, by ordinance, vacate such street, alley or part thereof, reserving to the city an easement or the right to exercise and grant easements in respect to the vacated land for the construction, repair and maintenance of public utilities and services and may impose such other conditions or limitations as it deems necessary and proper to preserve any desired public use or benefit.

B.    Rededication. If the council finds that future development of undeveloped land abutting such street or alley may alter or increase need or public use in such strip, such vacation may be granted only upon execution of a covenant running with such abutting land to rededicate such a portion upon a declaration of public use and necessity by the council.

C.    Waterfront. The city shall not be authorized or have authority to vacate such street or alley, or any parts thereof, if any portion thereof abuts on any body of water unless such vacation is sought to enable the city to acquire the property for port purposes, boat moorage or launching sites, park, viewpoint, recreational, or educational purposes, or other public uses.

D.    Compensation.

1.    Any ordinance granting a street vacation may provide that it shall not become effective until the owners of property abutting upon the street or alley, or part thereof so vacated, shall compensate the city in an amount which does not exceed one-half the appraised value of the area vacated, except in the event that the street or alley has been part of a dedicated public right-of-way for 25 years or more or that the subject property or portions thereof were acquired at public expense, compensation may be required in an amount equal to the full appraised value of the area vacated.

2.    Where vacation or transfer of a public way is applied for by or on behalf of a nonprofit entity or another governmental agency, entity, or jurisdiction, or where the city council finds that approval of the vacation provides substantial public benefit, the city council may waive any compensation except filing fees normally required by this chapter. A transfer or vacation of property for which compensation has been waived under this section shall be accompanied by a covenant providing that the city shall be compensated at current fair market value at the time of any future sale or lease of the subject property by such other agency, entity, or jurisdiction.

E.    Recording. Upon its effective date, a certified copy of the ordinance granting vacation shall be recorded by the city clerk and in the office of the auditor of the county in which the vacated land is located. (Ord. 2224 § 1, 2017; Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1211 § 1, 1986; Ord. 1201 § 6, 1986; Ord. 246 § 10, 1957).

17.12.140 Granting – Portion of petitioned area.

If, after a hearing, the council determines that the petition cannot be granted in whole, but that a vacation of a portion of the area described in the original petition may be vacated, the council may, by ordinance, vacate such portion in accord with the provisions of BMC 17.12.130. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 246 § 13, 1957).

17.12.150 Title to vacated street or alley.

If any street or alley in the city is vacated by the city council, the property within the limits so vacated shall belong to the abutting property owners, one-half to each; provided, however, no vested rights shall be affected by the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1633 § 1, 1996; Ord. 1201 § 7, 1986).