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32 Potential Problems loss of access or a major degradation in highest and best use to the landowners' residual land. In an extreme example, MDT has anticipated some potential new problems with this ODOT once had to compensate a landowner $2.5 million for system. The new system does not indicate an access on a the land taken and damages to the remaining property when deed, whereas the earlier system indicated where the access it was necessary to acquire all access from a commercial was allowed on a recorded document. MDT is addressing development to establish a freeway, even though the prop- this by including a reference to the right-of-way plans and the erty owner did not become landlocked. access control resolution on every deed. In other instances, purchasing access rights is not a costly In addition, there have been concerns about additional investment. This can occur when ODOT only purchases requests for access during right-of-way negotiations. control at specific accesses and/or when the landowner Although not shown in the plans, right-of-way agents receive maintains acceptable access to alternate roads in the "after" requests for additional accesses. The new guidelines are writ- situation. ten in such a manner that if additional access is desired, and if landowners can show a need, additional access points can Once access is acquired, ODOT prefers not to dispose of be allowed. Although a concern, these issues are not new to it. However, in limited circumstances, ODOT will allow a the program. The old program received the same requests; modification to existing access control. To do this, abutting however, there were no guidelines for the process. Many property owners must apply for a permit to access the road. times the additional access was granted as a method to com- Permits are granted by ODOT at no charge; however, they plete the negotiations. The new program requires that the often come with requirements and restrictions. The property right-of-way agent obtain permission before approving the owner must locate their access where ODOT finds the least additional access. If the additional access is inconsistent with disruption to the through traveling public. They may also be the plan developed for the corridor, MDT can use its police required to build crossovers, acceleration and deceleration powers to deny the landowners additional access. This lanes, or install traffic signals and signs. Often, for signifi- process ensures fair and consistent treatment for all property cant developments, ODOT requires Traffic Impact Studies at owners within a project. the applicant's expense. If the access rights are owned by ODOT in easement or Next Steps fee simple, the department must also convey the necessary MDT is currently implementing the police powers approach access rights at the same time the permit is issued. If the on a project-by-project basis. As part of the process, MDT access rights are owned in fee simple, then the rights are plans to update their manuals and other documentation to appraised to determine their fair market value, and the support their new direction. landowner must agree to pay for these rights before the trans- fer of ownership of the access rights and the issuance of any necessary permits. Fair market value of the fee owned access OHIO rights to be conveyed are established by an appraisal that considers the value of the property without the new access The Ohio DOT (ODOT) may acquire access rights on any and the value of the property with the access. The appraiser type of project that is constructed, whether it is an Interstate also accounts for necessary zoning change costs, utility costs, freeway or other roadway. The decision to acquire access by construction costs, and entrepreneurial profits. Once the complete or partial access control is made at the time the value is determined through this process, ODOT will settle project plans are being developed and depends on the situa- for that amount from the landowner as compensation for tion. Through right-of-way acquisition, ODOT uses the ODOT's conveyance of the access property rights. opening width in the access control line to memorialize their control of access. For example, ODOT will leave 12-ft open- Statutorily, ODOT cannot charge for easement vacations; ings for a single residence, but wider openings for other land therefore, there is no landowner payment when the access uses. Although ODOT may only allow for a driveway that is rights are owned solely by easement. FHWA does not par- a specific width depending on the desired land use, they will ticipate in the acquisition of easements in Ohio. Additionally, provide a wider limited access break to accommodate curb FHWA cannot approve the disposal of easements (or release radii when necessary. This is defined in the deed, as shown of access controls) where federal funds were used in the by examples from Ohio in Appendix D. acquisition of easements, because ODOT cannot charge for the release of easements. Once the decision is made to acquire access rights, it is the right-of-way acquisition staff's responsibility to acquire If a landowner desires an access where ODOT does not them. The rights are appraised, and ODOT pays the full fair own access control rights, the landowner is still required to market value as defined to the landowners under Ohio law. apply for a permit. If the permit is approved, the landowner This can sometimes be very expensive when there is a total is provided with a permit to do the necessary work in the