If you’re interested in developing your property but are restricted by nearby public roads or utilities, you can request the county vacate their public use to allow you to develop. For example, if you want to build an addition onto your home, but are unable to due to public pipes that are out of use, you could request the city vacate the public pipes and allow you to build.

What Is a Vacation?

A vacation is when a city completely or partially abandons the public use of a road or easement. Roads include all:

  • Streets
  • Highways
  • Paths

Easements can include public utilities, such as:

  • Pipes
  • Sewers
  • Electric Lines

Depending on the circumstances, a vacation may be granted quickly through a "summary vacation" or through a longer process as a "general vacation."

What Is a Summary Vacation?

A summary vacation is a quicker and simpler process to obtain a vacation. In a summary vacation, the county will notify affected property owners and agencies of the vacation request, allow time for a response, and hold a hearing. This can take approximately 6-8 weeks.

However, summary vacations are only available under certain circumstances, such as when the subject public path or easement has been unused, abandoned, or superseded for a period of time.

What Is a General Vacation?

If the requested vacation doesn’t qualify for a summary vacation, it is considered a general vacation. Under a general vacation, the board of supervisors must adopt a resolution of their intention to vacate, notify affected property owners and agencies, allow time for response, and hold a hearing. This can take approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

When Are Vacations Granted?

In determining whether or not to grant a vacation request, counties will consider a variety of factors including:

  • Whether the road or easement is currently being used by the public
  • Whether the road or easement may be used by the public in the future
  • The existence of alternative or superseding roads or easements
  • What affects the vacation will have on other property owners and agencies
  • The hardship on the individual requesting the easement

For example, if the area requested for vacation isn’t being used by the public, will not negatively affect neighbors or public agencies, and would greatly benefit the individual making the request, the county may be more likely to grant the request.

However, if the county is using the land or if a vacation would negatively affect neighbors or public agencies, than the county may be less likely to grant the vacation.

Contacting an Attorney

If you are considering apply for a vacation, you should contact a real estate attorney who can help you submit your request to the county and advocate for its approval.