The Board of County Commissioners is authorized by state law, RCW 36.87, to eliminate or vacate the right the public holds to use land for roads.
Time and cost
The entire process typically takes four to six months from the time of application. You are responsible for paying all of the county’s costs in processing a road vacation request. The average cost often exceeds $2,500.
County code also requires compensation for right-of-way vacated outside of residential subdivisions where significant public funds were spent to acquire, improve or maintain the road.
The procedure for vacating a road is complicated and must be followed to meet legal requirements.
1. Application - To begin a road vacation, you must submit the following:
- A completed application with the signatures of the owners of the majority of the frontage abutting the property petitioned for vacation. The petition states that property owners believe the road is “useless as a part of the general road system now and in the future and that the public will be benefited by its vacation.”
- Last deeds of conveyance showing ownership of all those signing the application.
- A legal description and map of the existing right-of-way and its origin.
- A legal description and map of the area petitioned to be vacated
- A cash deposit of $1,000.
If at any point during the process you decide to withdraw your application, all costs incurred will be totalled and a refund issued for the remainder of your cash deposit.
Public Works will research the road proposed for elimination and contact other county departments, public agencies and nearby property owners for their input. That will be followed by a conference with you to discuss the findings and recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners.
3. Hearing and decision
The final step is a public hearing before the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The public will have the opportunity to testify in support or opposition to the vacation request. After testimony, the BOCC will make their final decision.
If the vacation is approved, it may be with conditions that must be met before the Final Order to Vacate is processed.
For more information, please call Real Property Services, at (360) 397-6118, ext. 4378 or 4369.