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FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RIGHT OF WAY FHWA & The Uniform Act. The Fifth Amendment. “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” What is “ just compensation ”? . The Uniform Act. Public Law 91-646 (1/2/71) amended by Public Law 100-17 (STURAA 1987)

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Federal requirements for right of way fhwa the uniform act l.jpg


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The Fifth Amendment

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

What is “just compensation”?

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The Uniform Act

  • Public Law 91-646 (1/2/71) amended by Public Law 100-17 (STURAA 1987)

  • Title I – General (definitions, etc.)

  • Title II—Uniform Relocation Assistance

  • Title III—Uniform Real Property Acquisition Policy (including appraisal, just compensation)

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The Purpose of the URA

  • The historic purpose underlying the Uniform Relocation Act (URA) is:

  • For acquisition:  Treat owners fairly and consistently, encourage acquisition by agreement, minimize litigation, and promote confidence.

  • For displaced persons:  Treat individuals fairly, equitably, consistently, and do not cause disproportionate injury.

  • For agencies:  Act efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.

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Just Compensation

“In no event shall such amount be less than the agency’s approvedappraisal of the fair market value of such property.”

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The Appraisal Process

  • Real property shall be appraised before initiation of negotiations.

  • Owner has a right to accompany the appraiser.

  • Appraisal must be approved by the agency.

  • Agency may waive the appraisal when property has low FMV.

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The Acquisition Process

  • Acquisition by negotiations

  • Appraisal and appraisal waiver

  • Ninety-day notice

  • Coercion

  • Uneconomic remnants

  • Right to donate property

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Improvements & Uneconomic Remnants

  • If the acquisition leaves the owner with an uneconomic remnant (little or no value or utility to owner), agency must offer to acquire.

  • Agency must acquire an equal interest in all buildings, structures, or other improvements which must be removed.

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Displaced Persons

  • Displaced person--any person who moves from real property or moves personal property from real property. Includes:

  • Residential tenants & owners

  • Businesses, farms, non-profit organizations

  • Personal property only

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Relocation Assistance

  • Moving expenses for personal property

  • Replacement housing payments for tenants & owners (residential)

  • Business reestablishment

  • Advisory assistance to all

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Federal Regulations

  • 49 CFR Part 24 – The Uniform Act implementing regulations; applies to all Fed agencies.

  • NOTE: 23 CFR Part 710 covers R/W program administration and applies to FHWA only.

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart A

  • Purpose

  • Definitions

  • General administrative requirements

  • Records and reports

  • Appeals

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart B

  • Criteria for appraisals

  • Appraisal review

  • Basic acquisition policies

  • Tenant-owned improvements

  • Incidental expenses

  • Donations

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart C

  • General relocation requirements

  • Relocation notices

  • Relocation planning

  • General payment claim requirements

  • Illegal aliens

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart D

  • Moving and related expenses:

    1. Residential

    2. Business, Farm, NPO

    3. Personal Property Only

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart E

  • Replacement housing payments:

  • Owners

  • Tenants

  • Last resort housing

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart F

  • Mobile Homes:

    1. Moving expenses

    2. Replacement housing payments

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49 CFR Part 24 Subpart G

1. State certification

2. Monitoring and corrective action

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Lead Agency Oversight

  • The Federal Highway Administration is the lead agency for URA compliance.

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Program Oversight

  • State shall assure “…that acquisitions and disposals are made in compliance with legal requirements of State and Federal laws & regulations.”

  • 710.201(b)

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  • The State “is responsible for complying with current FHWA requirements, whether or not its manual reflects those requirements.”

  • 710.201(d) …AND

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The State is Responsible ...

  • “…for imposing sanctions in cases of material non-compliance.”

  • 710.201(h)

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Just Compensation

  • “…shall be approved by a responsible official of the acquiring agency.”

  • 710.201(j)

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Right of Way Certification

Authorization to advertise can proceed when certain conditions, per 23 CFR 635.309 are met, including:

“A statement is received from the State certifying that all individuals and families have been relocated or had housing made available …”; and, a Cert 1, 2, or 3 is completed.

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R/W Certifications 1 and 2

1. All R/W acquired, including legal and physical possession. All occupants moved.

2. Not all R/W acquired, but right to occupy and use obtained.

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R/W Certification 3

  • Acquisition/right to use not complete, may be some occupants remaining.

    Per 23 CFR 635.309(c)(3):

    “The State may request authorization on this basis only in very unusual circumstances. This exception MUST NEVER BECOME THE RULE.”

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Where to get more information:

  • www.fhwa.dot.gov/realestate

    (Local agency in California, please contact your local Caltrans Right of Way for any further questions office at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/row/localprog/index.htm)

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