Instructions For Petitions For Easement Vacations Within The Unorganized Borough
A. A petition form containing the signatures of the landowners directly affected must be prepared.
B. Obtain the names and mailing addresses of all property owners, local utility companies, and Native Corporation landowners within 500 feet of the petitioned area.
C. Required Submittal:
In addition to A and B above, obtain or prepare a map or plat of the area showing the following information:
- The petitioned vacation action clearly indicated.
- Current property boundaries, existing and dedicated rights-of-way and easements within 500 feet.
- All vacated section line easements on the property and within 500 feet.
- Existing roads, trails, utilities, structures, and driveways located on the property within the area proposed for vacation.
- Topographical maps covering the area proposed for vacation and the alternate access.
- It is not required, but it may also help the decision process if the petitioner specifically addresses, in writing, the following points concerning the existing easement and the alternate route:
Underlying Land Ownership
Current Public Use Patterns
Practicality of Use
Land Management Policies
D. A RS 2477 or section line easement vacation, must comply with Chapter 26 SLA 98, AS 19.30.410. It states that agencies of the State “may not vacate a right-of-way acquired by the state under former 43 U.S.C. 932 unless
1. a reasonably comparable, established alternate right-of-way or means of access exists that is sufficient to satisfy all present and reasonably foreseeable uses.
Alternate Means of Access
Before the vacation of a RS 2477 or section line easement is approved, the petitioner must satisfy the department that equal or better access is available. “Equal or better access” means access protected by an easement of record that is adequately wide for the purpose, and at least equally usable considering length, type of terrain, and level of improvement, as the easement to be vacated.
The vacation of a public right-of-way involves giving up of a public right in favor of the landowner. DNR will not approve a vacation unless it determines that the action is in the state’s interest.
E. Mail the above information and a check for the application fee to the Survey Section, Division of Mining, Land, & Water, 550 W 7 th Ave, Suit 650, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-8914.II. Filing Fee and Advertising Cost:
The petitioner must pay the application filing fee and the cost of advertising the public notice. The petition must be accompanied by a check for $750 made payable to the Alaska Department of Revenue, for the filing fee. After the department verifies the cost to advertise the public notice in a newspaper, you will be notified and must then submit to this office a check made payable to the newspaper publisher.
III. State Action:
RS 2477 vacations must be approved by this department (DNR), and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF). DNR will forward a copy of the petition to the DOT/PF. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to coordinate with DOT/PF and meet their approval requirements.
The Survey Section will review the petition for completeness and verify the state’s jurisdiction under AS 40.15.305(e), AS 19.30.410 or AS 29.35.090 for this area, and that fees and costs have been paid. Preliminary Finding and Decision will be released. Then a public notice will be published. After the close of the written comments period, the Director of the Division of Mining, Land, and Water will approve or disapprove the petition. This written Finding and Decision will be subject to a 20-day appeal period before any vacation document may be signed.
The department’s decision of whether to vacate is based on consideration of the comments received by mail and E-mail, DOT/PF, and research by DNR staff.
In addition to the comments received DNR staff will also consider the existing easement and the possible alternate access in terms of underlying land ownership, land management policies, current public use patterns, and practicality of use. These factors establish the scope of the department’s administrative review and finding.
Occasionally, the department may require a field investigation to be conducted by DNR staff at the applicant’s expense. This inspection is to determine the current existing use and condition of the area proposed for vacation, and the adequacy of the proposed alternate route.
IV. Vacation Document:
A . If the petition is approved, at the petitioner’s expense, a survey and plat must be prepared by an Alaska Registered Land Surveyor and submitted for review and approval. These submittals are subject to a review fee of $200.00.
B . The petition approval becomes null and void if a survey plat is not submitted and recorded within 18 months of the platting resolution approval date.
C . DOT/PF approval of the final vacation document is required.
Option other than vacating: An owner of land affected by an unplatted RS 2477 right-of-way may request the department’s approval to relocate the right-of-way elsewhere on that owner’s land. The department will approve the realignment if the realignment provides access reasonably comparable to the original, does not affect land in other ownership, and connects to the original route where it enters and exists the landowner’s land. Such a realignment of an RS 2477 right-of-way within a parcel of land does not constitute a vacation under this section.