Chapter 12.16

12.16.000    Chapter Contents


12.16.010    Scope and purpose.

12.16.020    Petitions to vacate.

12.16.030    City council action to vacate.

12.16.040    Public Works Director Recommendation.

12.16.050    Scheduling for City Council action.

12.16.060    Written objections.

12.16.070    City council action.

12.16.080    Compensation.

12.16.090    Appraisal.

12.16.100    Criteria for approval.

12.16.110    Limitation on vacations of streets abutting bodies of water.

12.16.120    Records.

12.16.010 Scope and purpose

This chapter shall apply to petitions to vacate public rights-of-way within the city. Its intent is to assure that the vacating of city streets and alleys, or portions thereof, will not be detrimental to private properties or the general welfare. It is intended to protect existing traffic service levels, prevent a loss of future opportunities for safe and convenient traffic circulation and assure compliance with the city’s long range transportation and land use goals and objectives. The city’s streets and alleys are considered to be community resources and their abandonment through these procedures should further, rather than detract from, the public interest.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.020 Petitions to vacate

The owners of an interest in any real estate may petition the city council to vacate any abutting street or alley, or portion thereof, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and RCW Chapter 35.79. Such petitions shall be filed with the city public works department and shall include the following:

A.    A complete petition application on a form provided by the public works department. Said 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;

B.    A complete list of all owners (including mailing addresses) of property abutting and within three hundred feet of exterior boundaries of the subject rights-of-way proposed to be vacated.

C.    An accurate legal description of the rights-of-way proposed to be vacated. Said legal description shall be prepared by a land surveyor, title officer or equivalent qualified professional.

D.    An accurate, scaled drawing of the affected rights-of-way and all properties within five hundred feet. The public works director may require that this plan include existing buildings, utilities and other improvements proximate to the affected rights-of-way;

E.    If the petition is related to a specific development plan and/or permit application, the petition application shall include a proposed site plan;

F.    The required application fee as established by resolution of the city council;

G.    If necessary in order to verify the precise location and impact of the proposed vacation, the public works director may require that a licensed surveyor survey and stake the boundaries of the affected rights-of-way. Said survey shall be at the expense of the applicant.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.030 City council action to vacate

The city council may, by resolution, initiate an action to vacate public rights-of-way. Such resolution shall be forwarded to the public works department for processing in accordance with this chapter.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.040 Public Works Director Recommendation

Upon receipt of a complete petition application package, the public works director shall consider the proposed vacation with respect to criteria set forth in Section 12.16.100 and establish a recommendation to the City Council.

(Ord. 6967 §1, 2015; Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.050 Scheduling for City Council action

After consideration by the Public Works Director, the petition application shall be scheduled for public hearing before the Olympia City Council. Notice of such hearing shall be given not less than twenty days in advance of the day of the hearing. Required notice shall include:

A.    The posting of written notice in a prominent and conspicuous location at Olympia City Hall;

B.    The posting of written notice in a prominent and conspicuous location on the subject street or alley; and

C.    The mailing of written notice to all property owners abutting and within three hundred feet of the boundaries of the rights-of-way to be vacated.

(Ord. 6967 §2, 2015; Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.060 Written objections

Pursuant to RCW Section 35.79.020 if fifty percent or more of the abutting property owners file a written objection to the proposed vacation with the public works department prior to the time of the hearing, the city shall be prohibited from proceeding with consideration of the petition application.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.070 City council action

Upon conducting and completing a public hearing the city council shall approve, approve in modified form or deny the petition to vacate public rights-of-way. Said decision shall be based upon criteria set forth in Section 12.16.100. Any action by the city council to approve a vacation petition shall be in the form of an ordinance. Such ordinance shall contain the following:

A.    A legal description of the affected rights-of-way,

B.    The method of calculation for required compensation;

C.    Any conditions deemed necessary by the city council.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.080 Compensation

Where required by ordinance, compensation due to the city shall be received by the city clerk-treasurer within ninety calendar days of the date of adoption of the ordinance. Failure to pay the entire amount of required compensation shall void the ordinance and nullify the vacation specified therein. The clerk-treasurer shall certify on the face of the ordinance whether or not the payment is received pursuant to this section. In no event shall such compensation exceed the permissible amount set forth in RCW Chapter 35.79.

(Ord. 4962 §2(Part), 1988).

12.16.090 Appraisal

Compensation must be based upon the appraised value of the affected rights-of-way, or, where circumstances make obtaining an appraisal infeasible, based on another determination of fair market value. An appraisal of the affected rights-of-way shall be made by an appraiser acceptable to the city attorney, or if the city attorney determines that obtaining an appraisal is infeasible under the circumstances, the city attorney may approve an alternative method for determining the fair market value of the affected rights-of-way. The cost of the appraisal or other determination of fair market value is the responsibility of the petitioner(s).

(Ord. 7283 §1, 2021; Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.100 Criteria for approval

No petition to vacate a street or alley shall be approved unless all of the following criteria can be met:

A.    The proposed vacation will not be materially detrimental to other properties in the vicinity, nor will it endanger public health, safety or welfare. Typical detriments or endangerments include, but are not limited to: depriving property of reasonable and convenient access; increasing traffic safety hazards; or decreasing transportation service levels.

B.    The subject rights-of-way is not needed for general access, emergency services, utility facilities or other similar public purposes, nor is it necessary as part of a long range circulation plan, pedestrian/bicycle pathway plan or street improvement plan. Providing easements, relocating facilities or implementing other similar alternatives equal or superior to the existing or planned facilities may cause the petition to comply with this criteria;

C.    The subject vacation is consistent with the adopted Olympia Comprehensive Plan and all other related land use and circulation regulations and policies, including but not limited to the Engineering Design and Development Standards and Titles 17 (Subdivisions) and 18 (Zoning) of the Olympia Municipal Code;

D.    The subject vacation would not directly or indirectly result in an adverse impact on historical or cultural resources, the natural environment or otherwise negatively affect an environmentally sensitive area as defined by Chapter 18.76 of the Olympia Municipal Code.

(Ord. 7045 §3, 2016; Ord. 4962 §2 (part), 1988).

12.16.110 Limitation on vacation of streets abutting bodies of water

In no event shall any petition be approved if it is inconsistent with the provisions of RCW 35.79.035, regulating the vacation of rights-of-way abutting bodies of water.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).

12.16.120 Records

Upon adoption of an ordinance enacting a vacation, the city clerk-treasurer shall receive and maintain the permanent record.

(Ord. 4962 §2(part), 1988).