Chapter 11.28


11.28.010    Definitions and scope.

11.28.020    Requests to close or abandon.

11.28.030    Hearings—Notice.

11.28.040    Request of comments prior to closing or abandoning.

11.28.050    Action by Council.

11.28.060    Withdrawal of request.

11.28.070    Subdivision requests.

11.28.010 Definitions and scope.

A.    As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated unless a contrary meaning is clearly intended from the context in which the term appears.

“Abandon” means to permanently surrender, relinquish or cede property with the intent of not resuming one’s right or interest.

“Close” means to prevent current and/or future motorized vehicular access.

“Right-of-way” means streets, roads, alleys, pedestrian walkways, water mains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers, storm drainage rights-of-way or any other rights-of-way that are under the jurisdiction of the City.

B.    Proceedings covered by this chapter. This chapter applies to the closing or abandoning of all rights-of-way. The provisions are the same for rights-of-way that have been used and those that have never been used; however, requests for closures of improved rights-of-way that are used by motorized vehicular traffic are also subject to any and all adopted ordinances and procedures concerning traffic management. This chapter determines how the City must exercise its authority if the City:

1.    Has the authority to close or abandon the right-of-way; or

2.    Has been asked to comment on the closing or abandoning of a right-of-way. (Prior code § 11-51)

11.28.020 Requests to close or abandon.

A.    Who May Make a Request. If a person has an interest in the closing or abandoning of a right-of-way within the City, the person may request that the City consider the closing or abandoning of a right-of-way. The request must be in writing. The Council may also initiate a consideration of whether or not to close or abandon a right-of-way.

B.    Contents of a Request. The request must include:

1.    A legal description and survey of exactly what the person would like the City to consider closing or abandoning. In requests for closures, the requirements for a legal description or survey may be waived;

2.    Certification to the City that written notice of the request to close or abandon a right-of-way has been given to all those persons owning or living on property that shares a common boundary with the right-of-way in question or is located between the proposed area to be closed or abandoned and the nearest cross streets;

3.    An application fee to be established by administrative regulation. (Prior code § 11-52)

11.28.030 Hearings—Notice.

A.    Hearing Required. The City must hold a hearing within 90 days if the City:

1.    Receives a request to consider the closing or abandoning of a right-of-way; or

2.    Initiates a consideration of whether or not to close or abandon a right-of-way.

B.    Notice of the Hearing. The City must give notice of the hearing to the public at least 14 days in advance by:

1.    Sending a written notice to every person who owns or lives on property that shares a common boundary with the right-of-way in question or is located between the proposed area to be closed or abandoned and the nearest cross streets;

2.    Publishing a notice in the City newspaper of record;

3.    Posting a notice at the right-of-way.

C.    Emergency Hearings. If the Council determines that an emergency exists, it may hold a hearing without giving notice 14 days in advance. However, it must give as much notice as practical and it must leave the record of the hearing open for written submissions until a decision is made.

D.    Effect of Failure to Receive Notice. If a person fails to receive notice of the hearing under this section, the City’s action is still valid unless there are other defects in the proceeding. (Prior code § 11-53)

11.28.040 Request of comments prior to closing or abandoning.

A.    Request of Comments Required. If the City has the authority to abandon or close a right-of-way, the City must ask the following entities to comment before closing or abandoning the right-of-way.

1.    The County in which the property is located;

2.    The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission;

3.    The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission;

4.    The Bell Atlantic Telephone Company;

5.    The Potomac Electric Power Company;

6.    Washington Gas;

7.    The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority;

8.    Montgomery County Transportation Department, Transit Services Division;

9.    The State Highway Administration, if applicable;

10.    Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Department;

11.    Any other person who owns or operates property or a public franchise or license if:

a.    The property is located in the right-of-way; or

b.    The operation of the public franchise or license involves regularly scheduled use of the right-of-way.

B.    Failure to Receive Comments. If an entity does not respond to the City’s request for comments within 30 days, the City may assume that the entity has no comments. (Prior code § 11-54)

11.28.050 Action by Council.

The Council may only close or abandon a right-of-way or advise Montgomery County or Prince George’s County that the City consents to the closing or abandoning of a right-of-way if:

A.    The right-of-way is not necessary for current or anticipated public use in the foreseeable future, or for motorized vehicular use in the case of a closing;

B.    The proposed closing or abandoning would not be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Takoma Park in view of any or all of the following considerations:

1.    The Master Plan,

2.    Safe and efficient pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns and flows, together with alternatives, in the immediate neighborhood, both as to local and through traffic,

3.    Changes in fact and circumstances since the original dedication of the right-of-way to be closed or abandoned,

4.    The right-of-way does not provide the only means of access to a property. (Prior code § 11-55)

11.28.060 Withdrawal of request.

A person may withdraw a request to consider closing or abandoning a right-of-way at any time before the Council takes action. (Prior code § 11-56)

11.28.070 Subdivision requests.

A person who has requested and is granted a right-of-way abandonment by the City is responsible for initiating and paying any applicable fees for a resubdivision of the abandoned property with the appropriate County authorities, if necessary, as well as all fees and costs associated with required surveys and plats, in order to complete the abandonment process. (Prior code § 11-57)