Instructions For Petitions For Easement Vacations Within The Unorganized Borough, Outside Of Local Platting Authorities

I. PETITION:

A. A petition form, supplied by and submitted to the Easement Vacation Unit of the Survey Section of the Division of Mining, Land & Water (DMLW) of the DNR, containing the signatures of all the landowners directly affected must be completed.

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 maps, plats, or documents 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

  • Other requirements specific to section line easements and RS2477 vacations.

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. APPLICATION FEE, ADVERTISING AND POSTAGE COSTS:

The petitioner must pay the application fee and the cost of advertising the public notice (including all postage associated with public notice).  The petition must be accompanied by a check or money order for $750.00 for the application fee and made payable to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

In accordance with 11 AAC 53.730(d) a public hearing will be held. A Notice of Public Hearing will be published in a newspaper of general circulation. Notices will also be mailed certified/return receipt to the petitioner, all owners of record within 500 feet of the petition area and each affected public agency and utility. When all advertising and postage costs are determined, the petitioner will be notified and must submit to this office a check or money order made payable to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

If the petition is approved, in accordance with 11 AAC 53.730(e) the petitioner will be notified by certified/return receipt mail. The petitioner must reimburse the department for this postage as well.

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. The petition packet will be reviewed by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF), DNR regional office, and affected state agencies. A Preliminary Finding and Decision will be prepared. Then a public notice will be published. After the close of the written comment period, a public hearing will be held. Then the Director of the Division of Mining, Land, and Water will make a Final Decision to approve or disapprove the petition. This Decision will be subject to a 20-day appeal period before any vacation document may be signed.

The department’s decision of whether it is in the State's best interest to vacate is based on consideration of the comments received by mail and E-mail, DOT/PF, affected State agencies, and research by DNR staff.

In addition to the comments received, DNR staff and DOT/PF 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. This submittal is subject to a review fee of $200.00.

B . The DNR Finding and Decision and State Platting Resolution become 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.

V. Alternative:

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.

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