Chapter 12.16
VACATION OF STREETS AND ALLEYS

Sections:

12.16.010    Statement of purpose.

12.16.020    Petition for vacation.

12.16.030    Petition fees.

12.16.040    Appraisals.

12.16.050    Notice of hearing.

12.16.060    Protest.

12.16.070    Staff report.

12.16.080    Hearing.

12.16.090    Easement for utilities and services.

12.16.100    Vacation of waterfront street.

12.16.110    Compensation for vacation.

12.16.120    Posting and mailing notices – Recording ordinance.

12.16.010 Statement of purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish procedures, notice requirements and fees for the vacation of streets and alleys within the city of Lynnwood. This chapter is intended to implement the authority granted to the city of Lynnwood by Chapter 35.79 RCW and to conform to its provisions. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.020 Petition for vacation.

A. Petitions Authorized. The owners of an interest in any real estate abutting upon any street or alley desiring to vacate the street or alley or any part thereof may petition the city council to make such vacation.

B. Elements of Petition. The vacation petition shall include a legal description of the property to be vacated prepared by a licensed surveyor. This requirement may be waived for good cause by the public works director.

C. Filing of Petition. The petition or resolution shall be filed with the city clerk, and the petition shall be signed by the owners of more than two-thirds of the property abutting upon the part of such street or alley sought to be vacated.

D. Council Resolution for Vacation/Council Action on Resolution or Petition. After receipt of petition for vacation, or after the city council’s own motion on its own resolution for vacation, the city council shall adopt a resolution fixing a time when the petition will be heard and determined, which time shall not be more than 60 days nor less than 20 days after the date of the passage of the resolution. (Ord. 3404 § 3 (Att. A), 2021; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.030 Petition fees.

A. Prehearing Fee. Every petition for the vacation of any street or alley or any part thereof, shall be accompanied by an initial nonrefundable payment to the city of a fee as shown in Chapter 3.104 LMC, to defray the administrative costs incurred in processing such vacation petitions. The fee shall be paid into the general fund of the city.

B. Appraisal and Other Fees to Be Paid. In addition, at the time of filing the vacation petition, the petitioner shall deposit $1,000 with the public works director to cover the appraisal and other costs for a street or alley abutting property which is zoned single-family residential; provided, however, the deposit shall be $2,000 to cover the appraisal and other costs for a street or alley abutting on property zoned for nonresidential uses and multiple-residence, or high-density. In the event that the appraisal or other cost is less than the amount deposited, the vacation compensation payable to the city shall be reduced by the difference between the deposit and the actual cost, or in the alternative, such difference shall be refunded. In the event the costs are more than the amount deposited, the vacation compensation payable to the city shall be increased by the difference between the deposit and the actual cost, or in the alternative, such difference shall be separately billed and paid by the petitioners prior the approval of the vacation. Costs include any professional consultant studies (for example, wetland, traffic) determined by the public works director to be reasonably necessary to evaluate the vacation. Any such consultants shall be retained by the city. Petitioner may request that the public works department not retain appraisers or consultants until the department makes a preliminary decision of whether it supports or opposes the petition, provided, such request shall not be determinative on department action. For good cause documented in the public works department file, the public works department may utilize an alternative valuation method, subject to final city council approval.

C. Fees for City Waived. No fees are required if the city initiates a street vacation. (Ord. 2699 § 21, 2007; Ord. 2656 §§ 1, 2, 2006; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.040 Appraisals.

The public works director is authorized to obtain appraisals from qualified, independent appraisers of such streets or alleys as are recommended for vacation, and is further authorized to obtain appraisals from qualified, independent real estate appraisers of the fair market value of the alternate right-of-way land proposed to be granted or dedicated to the city for street or alley purposes in lieu of a cash payment in the manner contemplated by LMC 12.16.110. In such instance, an additional appraisal deposit fee shall be paid for the appraisal of such parcel(s), and according to the fee and time schedule provided in LMC 12.16.030. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.050 Notice of hearing.

A. Notice to Be Provided. Upon the passage of the resolution, the city clerk shall give 20 days’ notice of the pendency of the petition by a written notice posted in three of the most public places in the city, and a like notice in a conspicuous place on the street or alley sought to be vacated.

B. Elements of Notice. The said notice shall contain a statement that a petition has been filed to vacate the street or alley described in the notice, together with a statement of the time and place fixed for the hearing of the petition. The notice will state that the council shall hold a public hearing on the proposed vacation in the manner required in this chapter. In addition, the notice posted on the alley or street proposed to be vacated shall indicate that the area is public access, it is proposed to be vacated, and that anyone objecting to the proposed vacation should attend the public hearing or send a letter to the city council indicating his or her objection.

C. Notice Where Council Initiates Vacation by Resolution. In all cases where the proceeding is initiated by resolution of the city council without a petition having been signed by the owners of more than two-thirds of the property abutting upon the part of the street or alley sought to be vacated, in addition to the notice herein above required, there shall be given by mail at least 15 days before the date fixed for the hearing, a similar notice to the record owners or reputed owners of all lots, tracts, or parcels of land or other property abutting upon any street, alley, or any part thereof sought to be vacated, as shown on the rolls of the county treasurer. (Ord. 3404 § 3 (Att. A), 2021; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.060 Protest.

If 50 percent of the abutting property owners file written objection to council-initiated vacation with the city clerk prior to the time of the hearing, the city shall be prohibited from proceeding with resolution. (Ord. 3404 § 3 (Att. A), 2021; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.070 Staff report.

The public works department shall prepare a report concerning the proposed vacation, which report should address the criteria (see LMC 12.16.080) to be considered by the city council in determining whether to vacate the street or alley. The report should also include information such as:

A. How and why the street or alley property was originally acquired;

B. Condition of the street or alley property and any improvements;

C. The property owners who will acquire the property if it is vacated;

D. Expected use and benefit to be received by the acquiring property owners;

E. Benefit to the city to be gained by returning the property to private ownership;

F. L.I.D. history involving the street or alley property;

G. Possible future city requirements for use of the street or alley property, such as utility easement, street, open space, walkway, or emergency access;

H. Estimate of the value of the street or alley property. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.080 Hearing.

The hearing on such petition may be held before the city council upon the date fixed by resolution or at the time said hearing may be adjourned to. The city council may grant the petition to vacate the street, alley, or any part thereof by ordinance, with or without conditions, or the city council may deny the petition. The city council’s determination should include, but not be limited to, consideration of the following criteria:

A. Whether a change of use or vacation of the street or alley will better serve the public;

B. Whether the street or alley is no longer required for public use or public access;

C. The condition of the street or alley;

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

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 the owners of private property (exclusive of petitioners) abutting the street or alley or other governmental agencies or members of the general public. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.090 Easement for utilities and services.

Ordinances vacating streets, alleys, or portions thereof may contain a provision retaining or requiring conveyance of easements for construction, repair, and maintenance of existing and future public utilities and services. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.100 Vacation of waterfront street.

A. The city shall not vacate a street or alley if any portion of the street or alley abuts a body of fresh or salt water, unless:

1. The vacation is sought to enable the city to acquire the property for port purposes, beach or water access purposes, boat moorage or launching sites, park, public view, recreation, educational purposes, or other public uses;

2. The city council, by resolution, declares that the street or alley is not presently being used as a street or alley and that the street or alley is not suitable for any of the following purposes: port, beach or water access, boat moorage, launching sites, park, public view, recreation, or education; or

3. The vacation is sought by the city to implement a plan, adopted by resolution or ordinance, that provides comparable or improved public access to the same shoreline area to which the street or alley sought to be vacated abut, had the property included in the plan not been vacated.

B. Before adopting an ordinance vacating a street or alley under subsection (A)(2) of this section, the city shall:

1. Compile an inventory of all rights-of-way within the city that abut the same body of water that is abutted by the street or alley sought to be vacated;

2. Conduct a study to determine if the street or alley to be vacated is suitable for use by the city for any of the following purposes: port, boat moorage, launching sites, beach or water access, park, public view, recreation, or education;

3. Hold a public hearing on the proposed vacation in the manner required by Chapter 35.79 RCW and this chapter;

4. Make a finding that the street or alley sought to be vacated is not suitable for any of the purposes listed under subsection (B)(2) of this section, and that the vacation is in the public interest; and

5. Determine the amount of compensation. The payment shall be delivered to the public works director, who, upon receipt of any such payment, shall transmit the same to the finance director for deposit. In the event that the petitioner has received approval of delivery of an instrument granting or dedicating to the city a parcel(s) of land in lieu of a cash payment as contemplated by LMC 12.16.110, the public works director, at the applicant’s expense, shall obtain a policy of title insurance insuring title thereto in the city.

C. No vacation shall be effective until the fair market value has been paid for the street or alley that is vacated. Monies received from the vacation may be used by the city only for acquiring additional beach or water access, acquiring additional public view sites to a body of water, or acquiring additional moorage or launching sites. (Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.110 Compensation for vacation.

A. Payment for Vacation. Ordinances vacating any street or alley or part thereof which has not been acquired at public expense shall not be passed by the city council until a sum equal to one-half of the fair market value, as shown in the appraisal, of the area is paid to the city; provided, that where the area vacated was part of a dedicated right-of-way for 25 years or more or was acquired at public expense, the city’s public works director may require, in the director’s discretion after considering the public interest, that the sum to be paid to the city be in an amount not to exceed the full fair market value, as shown in the appraisal, of the area vacated, but the required payment shall be in an amount equal to at least one-half of said fair market value. As contemplated by LMC 12.16.100, the full fair market value, as shown in the appraisal, shall be paid upon vacation of the streets abutting upon bodies of water.

B. In-Lieu Transfers of Property. Conveyance of other property acceptable to the city may be made in lieu of the payment required by subsection (A) of this section, whether required to mitigate adverse impacts of the vacation or otherwise. When such conveyance is made for street purposes, one-half of the fair market value, as shown in the appraisal, of the land conveyed shall be credited to the required payment. When the conveyance is made in fee for purposes other than street purposes, the full appraised value of the land conveyed shall be credited to the required payment. When the value of the in-lieu parcel is less than the payment required by subsection (A) of this section, the petitioner shall pay the difference to the city. When the value of the in-lieu parcel exceeds the payment required by subsection (A) of this section, the city shall pay the difference to the petitioner.

C. Vacations of Streets or Alleys Subject to 1889-90 Laws of Washington, Chapter 19, Section 32 (Non-User Statute). The city council’s adoption of a vacation ordinance for those streets and alleys subject to the 1889-90 Laws of Washington, Chapter 19, Section 32 (Non-User Statute) shall not require compensation by the abutting owners. However, the property owners requesting such vacation shall pay the city’s administrative fees described in LMC 12.16.030 for the city’s costs relating to research and processing of the vacation request. (Ord. 3276 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2673 § 1, 2007; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)

12.16.120 Posting and mailing notices – Recording ordinance.

Posting and mailing of the notices provided for in this chapter shall be the responsibility of the city clerk. As required by RCW 35.79.030, a certified copy of the ordinance vacating a street, alley, or portion thereof, shall be recorded by the city clerk and in the office of the Snohomish County auditor. (Ord. 3404 § 3 (Att. A), 2021; Ord. 2208 § 1, 1998)