Utah Department of Transportation Utah Department of Transportation UDOT.UTAH.GOV Department Directory
A UDOT Project

UNDERSTANDING RIGHT OF WAY AND FREQUENTLY ASKED RIGHT OF WAY QUESTIONS

To comply with Utah and Federal statutes and regulations, UDOT maintains a manual that describes it policies and practices for all phases of the Right of Way program.  For your convenience, the following is a brief overview of the information found in the manual.  

UDOT’s Right-of-Way

Right-of-Way: Land and property that UDOT owns and maintains for highway use - this property may include land which sits outside of the actual roadway. When UDOT needs to purchase additional land for transportation improvements they purchase additional “right-of-way” property from landowners.

  1. During UDOT’s environmental process, a preferred alignment was developed which gave a general idea of where roadway features would be added and which properties would be directly impacted and right-of-way purchased.
  2. UDOT is now in the design phase of the 2000 West project. During this phase, engineers refine the alignment to exact detail. The features of the roadway are determined as well as the exact width of the highway. Combining these items determines the “footprint” of the new road and also identifies how much land is needed from each property owner.
  3. Right-of-Way engineers determine how much property needs to be purchased from each parcel of land. They also collect deeds and other documentation about the existing property and then place the property lines on the roadway design plans. Engineers must also resolve boundary differences (which is common).
  4. Engineers also look at how much area will be needed from property owners for the contractor’s equipment to perform their work. The property agreement allowing the contractor access to property is known as a temporary construction easement. 
  5. Once the Right-of-Way engineer determines how much property is needed, he or she prepares the deeds and other documents necessary to purchase the parcel of land.  In some cases, this necessitates purchase of the entire parcel, including the home.  Sometimes, only a portion of the property is needed. In those instances, the owner maintains ownership of the unpurchased portion. 
  6. All Right-of-Way documents are checked for accuracy and then those documents are given to appraisers to start the appraisal and acquisition process

Right-of-Way Property Acquisition

To help you be better informed, UDOT has prepared two informational flyers outlining what you can expect once the department begins acquiring property as part of this project. We hope you will find this information useful as you make preparations based on how this project may impact you.

Over the last few weeks and within the next several weeks, UDOT representatives have or will contact you personally.

We plan to have all acquisitions complete early in 2016 in order to start construction on this needed project.  Your property may require a survey for engineering purposes. Your cooperation is appreciated in allowing surveyors access to your property.

For your convenience, UDOT has a website at www.udot.utah.gov.

Property Acquisition Program

What you can expect if UDOT is required to acquire your property as part of this project.

  1. If you are a property owner, you will be contacted by an appraiser or an agent who will make a valuation of your property. As a property owner, you should point out any features that may affect the value of your property. The appraiser or agent will need to know if the property is yours or is shared with other parties. It is also helpful if you can tell the appraiser or agent about other nearby properties that have sold.

    You can be assured that UDOT will conduct an Appraisal that complies with all regulations
    1. Appraiser (non-UDOT employee) and agent will meet with you to preview the property
    2. Appraisal done by industry standards – not county assessor value
    3. Property and all improvements are valued – landscaping, sheds, RV parking
    4. Appraisal is reviewed by an independent appraiser (non-UDOT employee)
    5. Appraisal report is reviewed by UDOT to establish just compensation
  2. Next, you will be contacted by an acquisition agent who will have a prepared offer to purchase your property at the appraised value. UDOT follows the Constitutional principle of Just Compensation. This means all settlements must be based upon an appraisal or some other legitimate assessment or quantification of fair market value.

    If you are required to relocate UDOT follows these steps to assure you as much help as the laws of the State of Utah allow.

    A Relocation Study will be performed that takes into account the costs of locating to property that is very similar to that being acquired.
    1. Agent contacts the property owner for an interview
    2. Identifies property owner needs and preferences
    3. Property search is made to identify comparable properties that are available
    4. Replacement home is identified only to establish replacement housing payment
    5. Relocation study is completed and reviewed by UDOT
    6. Relocation agent will explain the relocation package to you which includes replacement housing, mortgage interest differential, and moving expenses
  3. Your property may fall into one or more of three types of acquisition: 
    1. Fee Simple Title – The State acquires all interest and rights to the property.
    2. Easement – The owner retains title, but the State acquires the right to use a property for specific purposes.
    3. Temporary Easement – The State acquires the right to use a property for a temporary period of time. This easement typically expires at some point in time – often after three years or when the project is completed.
  4. The Acquisition and Payment
    1. Property owner is contacted by the agent for an appointment
    2. Offer and relocation study is presented 
    3. Property owner can take time to review and ask questions
    4. Once all concerns are addressed, paperwork is signed
    5. After the Right of Way Agreement is signed, our goal is to have you paid within 30 days. Of course this schedule can be affected if there are mortgages, judgments, unpaid taxes or liens on your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I know if any of my property will be acquired?

Most property owners will be notified by the end of 2015. Any remaining property owners will be notified once the final engineering design of the project is completed in April 2016.


What is the acquisition process?

UDOT  acquires property at fair market value, as determined by the appraiser's valuation, an independent review, and UDOT’s approval. We will make every effort to reach an agreement with the owner during negotiations. The owner may provide additional information for UDOT to consider. 


How long does the acquisition process take?

Under normal circumstances, from three to six months from beginning to end.  Specific dates can be discussedwith your acquisition agent once the process has started.


How is the value of my property determined?

By law, UDOT must pay "fair market value" for private property. The fair market value is determined by an approved, independent appraiser. The appraiser evaluates the property and also researches the area for properties with similar characteristics that have sold recently.


Will the project make my home worth less?

No. By law, appraisers must ignore any influence of the project in determining value.


How are unique things about my property included in the value?

The property owner has the right to be present during the appraisal and can bring to the appraiser's attention any characteristics pertinent to the appraisal.


Do I get a copy of the appraisal report?

Yes.  A copy of the appraisal report will be provided.


How does the state acquire homes?

There is a process that UDOT must  follow when acquiring land for a roadway project. This process is defined in federal and state law, which requires government agencies to provide just compensation for any acquired property. Property acquisition procedures are described in detail on UDOT's website. 


What assistance will I receive if I am relocated?

There is a federal relocation assistance program that provides benefits for all those who are displaced by a roadway project (including residents, tenants, businesses, non-profit organizations, and farmers).
As part of this program, the State provides assistance in identifying replacement property. Replacement property must be functionally equivalent to the property that is being acquired.

In addition, as part of the relocation assistance program, the State pays for eligible relocation costs. Relocation costs include moving costs (packing, storage, shipping, etc.) as well as other costs associated with the relocation. The relocation payment is separate from the payment for the fair market value of the property itself. Additional information about relocation assistance is available on UDOT's website.


I rent the home where I live. What happens to me if the property where I live is acquired for the project?

Your relocation agent will discuss in detail any relocation benefits you are eligible for.  See UDOT website for eligibility.


If UDOT only needs part of my property, how will I be compensated?

In the event a project only impacts a portion of an owner's property, UDOT will pay fair market value for the land and improvements that are actually impacted. This value is determined by the appraiser, an independent appraisal review, and UDOT’s final approval.


What if I do not accept UDOT

Property owners have several options if they do not agree with UDOT’s offer. If such is the case, we encourage you to share your concerns with the acquisition agent who can advise you on these options.