Chapter 14.21


14.21.010    Purpose.

14.21.015    Definitions.

14.21.020    Initiation of vacation.

14.21.030    Petition procedures.

14.21.040    Vacation procedure.

14.21.050    Hearing examiner review and recommendation.

14.21.060    City shall retain easements.

14.21.070    Compensation.

14.21.080    City council decision.

14.21.090    Application of zoning district designation.

14.21.100    Recording of ordinance.

14.21.110    Record of survey required.

14.21.120    Costs of vacation to be paid by applicant and control of property.

14.21.010 Purpose.

This chapter establishes the procedures, notice requirements and fees for the vacation of public rights-of-way within the city in conformance with the authority granted to the city by Chapter 35.79 RCW. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.015 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this chapter:

A.    “Administrative official” means the community development director, or his or her designee.

B.    “Applicant” means the person or persons who petition to vacate any public right-of-way, or the person or persons who propose or are the proponents of a city council initiated vacation procedure.

C.    “City” means the city of Yakima.

D.    “Linear frontage” means the length, in feet, of the property abutting the public right-of-way.

E.    “Owner” means any person or entity with an ownership interest in any real property abutting a public right-of-way. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.020 Initiation of vacation.

The owners of an interest in any real property abutting any public right-of-way who may desire to vacate the public right-of-way, or any part thereof, may petition the city council. In the alternative, the city council may itself initiate a vacation by resolution. The petition or resolution shall be filed with the city clerk. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.030 Petition procedures.

A.    The petition shall be in a form prescribed by the administrative official and shall be signed by the owners of more than two-thirds of linear frontage of the property abutting the portion of the public right-of-way sought to be vacated.

B.    Every petition shall be accompanied by the following:

1.    A title report for all properties adjacent to the proposed vacated right-of-way;

2.    A vicinity map showing the general area of the proposed vacation;

3.    A legal description of the property to be vacated;

4.    A copy of the record of survey, if available, for the subject right-of-way proposed for vacation, and abutting properties, streets and alleys within one hundred feet on all sides of the proposed vacation;

5.    Written evidence of any and all utility easements, or reservations, whether public or private, pertaining to the public right-of-way proposed for vacation, and, if the subject right-of-way encompasses any private utilities, a letter from all utility companies within the right-of-way consenting to the vacation shall be required and submitted to the city of Yakima; and

6.    A written narrative describing the reasons for the proposed vacation, the physical limits of the proposed vacation and the public benefit of the proposed vacation.

C.    Every petition for the vacation of any public right-of-way or any part thereof shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount established by the city to defray the administrative costs incurred in processing the petition and publishing, posting and mailing notices. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.040 Vacation procedure.

A.    Setting of Hearing. Upon receipt of the petition, the administrative official shall determine whether the petition has been signed by two-thirds of the property owners abutting the right-of-way to be vacated. The two-thirds shall be determined by the linear frontage of property abutting the area of the proposed vacation. If the petition has been signed by the requisite percentage of such owners, the administrative official shall bring the petition before the city council, and the city council shall by resolution fix the time when the petition will be heard by the hearing examiner, which time shall not be more than sixty days nor less than twenty days after the adoption of the resolution. Where the city council initiates the vacation by resolution, that resolution shall fix the time when the proposed vacation will be heard by the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner will compose a recommendation and forward it to the city council for final decision.

B.    Staff Report. The administrative official shall prepare a report concerning the proposed vacation for the hearing in front of the hearing examiner. The staff report shall evaluate the advisability of the proposed vacation based on a development services team (DST) meeting and/or submitted application materials. The report shall address the criteria to be considered in determining whether to vacate the public right-of-way, and such other information as deemed appropriate by the administrative official. In preparing the report, the administrative official shall solicit comments from the police department and the fire department. The administrative official may solicit comments from other governmental agencies and utility companies having jurisdiction or utilities within the boundaries of the city. The report shall be submitted to the hearing examiner and to the petitioner and his or her representative not less than seven calendar days before the hearing.

C.    Notice of Hearing. Upon the passage of the resolution fixing the time for hearing the request for vacation, the city clerk, or the administrative official, acting under direction and supervision of the city clerk, shall give not less than twenty days’ notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing by:

1.    Posting a written notice in three public places in the city, one of which shall be City Hall;

2.    Publishing written notice once in the city’s official newspaper;

3.    Posting a minimum twenty-four-inch by thirty-six-inch notice sign in a conspicuous place at each end of the public right-of-way sought to be vacated describing the proposed vacation and the date, time and location of the public hearing; and

4.    Mailing written notice to all petitioners at the addresses on the petition and all owners of property abutting the public right-of-way proposed to be vacated, as shown on the records of the Yakima County assessor, not to exceed ninety calendar days prior to the date of the public hearing. The administrative official shall send the same written notice to the representative of the petitioners at the address on the petition and any interested parties listed in the title reports provided by petitioners, if applicable.

a)    The written public notice shall include a statement indicating, “The City Council shall decide whether or not to vacate the street or right-of-way. The hearing examiner will conduct the required public hearing and make a recommendation to the City Council. Any party wishing to be informed of the time, date, and place of the City Council meeting for the proposed vacation should submit a written request to the City of Yakima Planning Division, or sign the parties of record form at the public hearing.”

D.    Protest. If fifty percent of the abutting property owners file written objection to a city council initiated vacation with the city clerk prior to the time of hearing, the city shall be prohibited from proceeding with the resolution and vacation. The fifty percent ownership shall be measured in linear footage of property abutting the area of the proposed right-of-way vacation. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.050 Hearing examiner review and recommendation.

A.    The hearing on the petition or proposal shall be held before the hearing examiner upon the day fixed by resolution or at the time to which a hearing may be adjourned. If the right-of-way vacation is requested by petition, the petitioner or his or her representative shall be present at the hearing. In its consideration of the proposed vacation of the public right-of-way, the hearing examiner shall render a recommendation based on the following criteria:

1.    The public benefit, reason for, and limitations of the proposed right-of-way vacation;

2.    Whether the vacation would deny sole access to a public street or alley for any property;

3.    Whether the proposal is consistent with existing plans of the city, such as the six-year transportation improvement plan, the urban area comprehensive plan or other official city plans and policies;

4.    Whether the vacation is appropriate with existing and anticipated zoning and land use; and

5.    Whether there are any public or franchised utilities in the right-of-way to be vacated and, if so, whether they will be relocated, or whether an easement will need to be reserved.

B.    Following the hearing, the administrative official shall forward the hearing examiner’s recommendation to the city council for an open record public hearing at a regularly city council scheduled meeting. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.060 City shall retain easements.

The city shall retain easements and/or the rights to exercise and grant easements in respect to any vacated property for the construction, repair, and maintenance of public or private utilities or services. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.070 Compensation.

A.    The applicant shall compensate the city in an amount which does not exceed one-half the appraised value of the area so vacated. If a public right-of-way has been part of a dedicated public right-of-way for twenty-five years or more, or if the subject property or portions thereof were acquired at public expense, the city may require the owners of the property abutting the public right-of-way to compensate the city in an amount that does not exceed the full appraised value of the area vacated.

1.    The value of the vacated property shall be determined by an independent appraisal of the vacated property, paid for by the applicant, in the event the value of the vacated property exceeds twenty thousand dollars. The value of the vacated property may be determined by an independent appraisal of the vacated property, paid for by the applicant, if the value of the property does not exceed twenty thousand dollars. All appraisals shall take into consideration the public improvements within the right-of-way to be vacated, according to their original or depreciated value as may be appropriate in the judgment of the appraiser.

2.    If the applicant does not choose to have an independent appraisal, and the value of the vacated property does not exceed twenty thousand dollars, the value shall be determined by the planning division’s valuation. The planning division’s valuation shall be one hundred ten percent of the planning division’s valuation of said public right-of-way or any portion thereof based on Yakima County assessor’s market land value of the properties directly surrounding the area of the proposed vacated property.

3.    No compensation shall be required if a public right-of-way is vacated and the ownership reverts to the state of Washington, city of Yakima, Yakima County or any public school district.

4.    No compensation may be required if the city has not purchased, maintained, or made any improvements to the public right-of-way, there is no planned or anticipated public purpose existing for maintaining the public right-of-way as determined by the planning commission or development services team (DST), and the public right-of-way has been a dedicated right-of-way in the city for at least five years.

B.    Every ordinance hereinafter enacted by the city council to vacate any public right-of-way, or any portion thereof, shall provide that such ordinance shall not become effective until the applicant or the owners of the property abutting upon the public right-of-way, or portion thereof, so vacated, have compensated the city in the amount required as part of the vacation. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.080 City council decision.

A.    Following consideration of all evidence and testimony at the meeting, the city council may adopt or reject the examiner’s recommendation, or remand to the examiner for additional public testimony, in accordance with the following:

1.    If the city council determines to grant the vacation, the action shall be made by ordinance with such conditions or limitations as the city council deems necessary and proper to preserve any desired public use or benefit. The ordinance shall contain a provision retaining or requiring conveyance of easements for construction, repair and maintenance of existing and future utilities and services, and any other requirements of this chapter.

2.    The city council, in approving a vacation request, shall specify that the vacated portion of the public right-of-way shall belong to the abutting property owners, one-half to each, unless factual circumstances otherwise dictate a different division and distribution of the public right-of-way to be vacated.

3.    If the city council denies the vacation, it will adopt a resolution supporting such decision with appropriate findings of fact.

4.    If the city council desires additional public testimony and/or evidence, it may remand the matter to the examiner with instructions concerning the particular matters or issues for which it desires additional public testimony and evidence. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.090 Application of zoning district designation.

The zoning district designation of the properties adjoining each side of the public right-of-way to be vacated shall be assigned based on the zoning district of the abutting property to which ownership of the vacated property will revert, and all areas included in the vacation shall then and henceforth be subject to all regulations of the extended districts. The adopting ordinance shall specify this zoning district extension inclusive of the applicable zoning district designations. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.100 Recording of ordinance.

A certified copy of the ordinance vacating a public right-of-way, or part thereof, shall be recorded in the office of the Yakima County auditor by the city at applicant’s expense. A copy of the recorded ordinance shall be provided to applicant. All conditions of the ordinance and this chapter shall be fully satisfied prior to recording of the ordinance. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.110 Record of survey required.

Following the city council’s passage of the ordinance, and prior to recording, a record of survey prepared by a registered surveyor in the state of Washington, at the expense of the applicant, shall be submitted by the applicant to the administrative official. Such survey shall include an exact metes and bounds legal description and any and all easements for construction, repair and maintenance of existing and future utilities and services. It shall also contain the professional stamp and signature of the registered surveyor, and the proponent indicating acceptance of the vacated property. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).

14.21.120 Costs of vacation to be paid by applicant and control of property.

All direct and indirect costs of the vacated public right-of-way from public to private ownership including, but not limited to, title company charges, copying fees, and recording fees, are to be paid by the applicant. The city assumes no financial responsibility for any direct or indirect costs for the transfer of the vacated property. Additionally, the city shall retain control of all proposed vacated public rights-of-way until payment is received. (Ord. 2016-028 § 1 (part), 2016).