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Public Works

 

Permits & Information Packets

 

 

Approach Permit:

 

WHAT IS AN APPROACH PERMIT?

 

An approach permit is a permit that allows a property owner to construct an approach from their property onto a County road.

 

WHO ASKS FOR AN APPROACH PERMIT?

 

A property owner who is developing his/her property or their Contractor.

 

WHAT IS THE PROCESS?

 

Before a property owner installs an approach, they are required by RCW 36.75.130-150 to apply for an approach permit. The approach application is filled out and returned to the Public Works office. The property owner is also asked to flag the approach location at the point where it connects to the County Road so that no errors are made during inspection. After the approach permit application has been submitted, an inspector will be sent out to inspect the location. He/she will determine if the location has safe visibility, whether it needs a culvert or not for drainage, needs to be paved back, etc. Once approved the approach permit will be sent to the applicant. At this point the property owner is free to construct the approach according to the conditions of the approved application.

 

WHO DECIDES IF AN APPROACH PERMIT IS TO BE ISSUED?

 

The inspector with guidance from the County Engineer as necessary.  The County Engineer has statutory authority over this process.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS AN APPROACH PERMIT?

 

The process can take up to 3 weeks but normally takes 1 week.

 

Application to Construct Approach onto County Road 357KB 2013/06/03

 

 

Right of Way Permits:

 

WHAT IS A WORK IN THE RIGHT OF WAY PERMIT?

 

Work in the right-of-way of County roads requires a permit from Grant County Public Works per RCW 36.75.020 and 050. Contact Grant County Public Works if you are not sure whether a street or road is under County or City jurisdiction.

The right-of-way is more difficult to identify on unimproved roads or streets, (i.e. no curb and/or sidewalk), please call Public Works to confirm the location of the right-of-way.

Permits for simple sidewalk and/or driveway approach work can be obtained through the Public Works Department by using an APPROACH PERMIT.

Permits for placing utility lines, street construction or performing similar work must be obtained through Public Works.

Application to Perform Work on County Road Right-Of-Way 309KB 01/02/2014

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Operations/Traffic/mutcd.htm

 

           Franchise Agreement:

         WHAT IS A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT?

A Franchise Agreement is an agreement between Grant County and a property owner or Utility Company that allows the installation of a utility (i.e. waterline or power line, etc.) inside a County Right-Of-Way.

        WHO ASKS FOR A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT?

Typically a utility company or a property owner who wants to install a private water, private electrical, private sewer line, etc., over or along a Grant County road.

        WHO DECIDES IF A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT IS TO BE ISSUED?

The Board of County Commissioners, after a public hearing on the request.

        HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT?

This is generally a 60 day process.

        HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost is $150.00.

Franchise Information Packet 848KB 2011-02-09

 

Right of Way Research Requests:

 

WHAT IS RIGHT-OF-WAY?

 

Right-of-way is a blanket term used to describe the area owned or held in easement by Grant County for maintaining road surfaces, ditches, sidewalks and paths.  The standard is 60 feet, although some roads may have more or less, and in some cases may vary greatly over a short distance.

The right-of-way is in thousands of paper documents in files and in different locations.  Sometimes research has to been done in archives on-line or in Douglas County.  As such, it can sometimes be time consuming and require several days.  To expedite this process, Public Works has developed a form to help you put in a request to our office.  You may e-mail this document to the Roads Information Tech at boneill@co.grant.wa.us or if accompanying a permit, to the Permit Tech at sdart@co.grant.wa.us.  You may mail the form or drop it by the Public Works Office at 124 Enterprise St SE Ephrata, WA 98823.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?  There is no cost for this research.  We will e-mail back scanned documents if an e-mail address is provided.  If you pick up documents at the counter, there is a $.10 per page fee.

Right-of-Way Request Form and Map 109KB 11/26/2013

 

          Road Vacations:

        WHAT IS A ROAD VACATION?

A road or right-of-way vacation is governed by R.C.W. 36.87. It is a process where land owners can have the public's interest in roads or right-of-ways removed. Although the right of way may have been vacated, the rights and interests of private individuals and utility companies may still encumber the road or right-of-way. These private individuals typically live about the road or right- of-way that is vacated, and historically have used these roads for access, or own land in the same plat. Similarly utility easements may also still encumber the areas vacated. What is given up in the vacation process is only the right of the general public to use the vacated road or right-of-way.

        WHO ASKS FOR A VACATION?

Generally the person who wants the road or right-of-way which abuts their property vacated will be the "Principal Petitioner". Any other neighbors who want the same road or right-of-way which abuts their property vacated under the same petition can sign the petition as "Co-Petitioners".

        WHO DECIDES IF THE ROAD IS VACATED?

The Grant County Board of Commissioners is empowered with deciding if a road or right-of-way will be vacated. The Commissioners rely on recommendations from the County Engineer and on testimony at a public hearing which must be held before a road can be vacated. They are responsible for protecting the general public's interest and the vacation is at their discretion. A favorable recommendation from the County Engineer and no opposition to the vacation at the public hearing are helpful in obtaining the vacation.

When the road has been vacated by operation of law, or statute, the Board of Commissioners generally adopts a resolution recognizing the statutory vacation so as to remove clouds on title.

        HOW LONG DOES A VACATION TAKE?

It usually takes four to six weeks before the public hearing can be set. This can be done only after the petition is returned, with the proper signatures, to the Department of Public Works for processing. If the vacation is done by resolution the time and date of the hearing must be posted on the area to be vacated and it also must be published in the public notice section of the official county newspaper.

        HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The basic petitioning fee is $125.00.

Road Vacation Information Packet 131KB 12/10/2013

Revised Code of Washington (RCW) on Vacations: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=36.87

 

Information on Petitions for Road Improvement District (RID)

 

What is an RID?

RID means Road Improvement District.  In 1951, the State legislature established the RID method of improving Public Works and streets.  It used as a model the LID law, which has been used by the cities for street, water and sewer improvement for years.  It has had many changes since 1951, and is now Chapter 36.88 of the Revised Code of Washington.  Briefly, the RID statutes provide for the payment of an improvement by assessing the lots, tracts, or parcels specially benefited.

Why would an RID be formed?

RIDs can be used by any county for the improvement of a county road, bridge, street lighting, or road drainage facility.

How is an RID initiated?

An RID may be initiated by Grant County in a Resolution of The Board of County Commissioners or by petition of the property owners of the area specially benefited by the public work proposed for improvement.  In order for the petition to be considered, the total property represented by owner’s signatures on the petition must have both a majority of the acreage within the proposed RID boundaries and a majority of the front footage measured along both sides of all the Public Works proposed for improvement.

The Board of County Commissioners upon receiving a petition with sufficient owner signatures must hold a preliminary hearing.  Notice of which must be published at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation and notice of which must be mailed to each property owner at least 15 days prior to the hearing.  Signatures may be added to or withdrawn from the petition by contacting the County Public Works Department prior to 5:00 p.m. of the last working day before the hearing.  After the hearing, the Board of County Commissioners may proceed to create the RID and order the improvement.

How are the boundaries of an RID determined?

Each RID shall include as nearly as possible all the property specially benefited by the proposed improvement.  This includes ownership served by easements from the improved Public Works unless the ownerships have demonstrated use of another easement as principal access.  However, ownerships abutting the improved Public Works will be considered as specially benefited even if served by another easement.

How is the cost estimate prepared?  Can the County assess cost overruns?

The construction cost estimate is prepared by the Engineering Division after a field review.  The design and/or scope of the project may not be changed such that the cost is increased more that 10% over that stated in the notice for the original formation hearing held before the Board of County Commissioners.  The only exception to allowing a greater than 10% change is to have a second formation notice and hearing.

If road right of way (public road property or easement) is needed, the cost to buy or otherwise acquire this property will also be included in the total estimated cost.  After the formation of the RID, the County will request donation of any required road right of way.  If right of way is donated the final cost of the assessments will be reduced by the amount saved.  If 100% of the required right of way has not been donated by a set deadline, all deeds will be returned and the County will negotiate settlements for all required right of way. 

If it is not possible to reach an agreement with a particular owner and it is necessary to acquire the right of way to proceed with the improvement the County may institute condemnation proceedings against the owner.  The condemnation costs are also borne by the district.

How is the total cost of the improvement divided among the owners?

The Board shall use the method of assessment deemed most practical and equitable under the conditions prevailing.  Typically, these are:

    The lot method; under which each lot or ownership pays an equal share of the costs.

    The acreage method; under which each ownership pays according to area measured in acres.

    The zone and termini methods; which is a combination of assessment distribution based on frontage
        on the improvement and area within the boundaries of the district.

How much will the assessment be for the average size lot?

This question is not easily answered as the Board sets the method of assessment and the Engineering Division recommends that lot method in cases where the majority of ownerships are of equal, or approximately equal size.  The acreage or zone and termini methods are recommended when the ownership are all of variable sizes.

The Engineering Division has the policy of making the preliminary cost estimates along with a proposed cost distribution method early, so they can be circulated with the petition.

How is assessment paid?  Will it increase my taxes?

The Board also determines the number of years permitted for payment of the assessment.  The assessment may be paid in full within 30 days without penalty or it may be repaid over the determined period at an interest rate set by the Board.

The assessment is in a second lien position after property taxes and is not an increase in the property taxes themselves.  The improvement may cause sales in the area to be higher than before the improvement, but it is difficult to ascertain what fraction of this increase is attributable directly to the improved road.  Of course, as assessed valuations are based on representative sales, property taxes could eventually increase.

When do I pay my assessment?

After the district has been created and all necessary road right of way has been obtained, the County may proceed with the improvement.  If considerable design work is necessary, construction may be delayed for a season to allow time for the surveys and engineering.  Only after all the project costs are in can the final assessment be determined.  A second hearing, with notification similar to the preliminary hearing, at which the Board will sit as a Board of Equalization will determine the final assessment and certify these to the Treasurer for collection.

Before you make any payment, you should wait until after the second hearing and until you receive a notice from the Treasurer of the actual amount of your assessment.

Does the County participate in the cost of an RID?

Under the provisions of RCW 36.88, all costs may be assessed to the property owners within the RID boundaries.  However, the County may participate, if the RID is to improve an existing public county road, not private. 

What is the procedure for improving a private road?

Private Public Works may be improved under the RID statutes provided that it is done for the sole purpose of incorporating the road in the County road system.

Is the County for or against RIDs?

It is possible that someone in the County may tell you he is for or against a particular RID.  This should be taken as a personal opinion and not as County policy, for the County must be careful to maintain a neutral position on all RIDs until they are formed.  This means that the County cannot properly solicit RIDs, nor can they inhibit their formation. It is important to understand that the County can be of assistance in circulating the petition, but the mailings and “leg work” involved in formation must be largely done by the petitioners.

Which Department handles RIDs?

The Public Works Department handles RID processing as well as design and administration of most of the improvement.  This is done at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, which has the ultimate authority.

The County Engineer will assist you in the preparation of the petition and the necessary maps and exhibits for the formation of the district and will relay information to and from various Departments related to the RID.  If you have any additional questions, please contact Public Works at the following address and phone number:

Main Office
Grant County Public Works
124 Enterprise Street S.E.
Ephrata, WA
98823

 

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Ephrata Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00
Phone: (509) 754-6082
Fax: (509) 754-6087
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