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Section 2: Acquisition of Land for a Real Property Site

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Site Selection

The department coordinates site selection with the Maintenance Division (MNT), which is responsible for all charges and costs. The department’s environmental coordinator should examine the land for the proposed site to determine whether any environmental assessments may be needed. This determination is made in coordination with the Environmental Affairs Division.

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District Submission Requirements

As soon as possible after MNT has concurred in site selection, the department will:

  • provide the ROW program office in Austin with a current title commitment. The commitment is valid for ninety days from the effective date and should be updated when necessary.
  • advise the ROW program office in Austin if all easements and other items listed as exceptions on Schedule B of the title commitment are compatible with the intended use of the site
  • advise the ROW program office in Austin about any title curative that will be required. Common title curative matters include tax liens; deed restrictions; boundary line discrepancies; encroachments of improvements; gas pipelines; and oil and gas leases held by production.
  • a metes and bounds description on letter-size paper signed and sealed by a Registered Professional Land Surveyor (RPLS).
  • a letter-size survey plat prepared by an RPLS

If the proposed sellers of the surface estate for the site do not own the oil and gas rights, then the department will need to investigate this ownership with the title company. MNT has authorized the department to pay for a mineral title search, if this is necessary.

After at least 51 % of the mineral owners are identified, then the department will coordinate obtaining a release of mineral surface rights from these owners. If an active oil and gas lease covers the minerals under the land for the proposed site, then the department will obtain a release from the owner of the lease. The ROW program office in Austin is available to coordinate research at the Texas Railroad Commission to verify active oil and gas leases.

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Appraisal

The ROW program office in Austin advises the department to have the land appraised.

The department will choose a state certified appraiser from TxDOT’s approved list and will require that TxDOT approved forms are to be used.

The department approves the recommended value for the land without review from the ROW program office in Austin, and sends a copy of the approved value form ROW-A-10S to the ROW program office in Austin.

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Offer and Counteroffer

The department makes a written offer to the owner(s) to purchase the land for the approved value.

If the owner(s) make a counteroffer to TxDOT’s offer to purchase the site for the approved value, then the department should forward a memorandum to MNT with a copy to the ROW program office in Austin outlining the reasons for accepting or rejecting the counteroffer. MNT will evaluate the counteroffer and advise the department how to proceed. If TxDOT accepts the counteroffer and agrees to purchase the land for an amount above the approved value, then the owner(s) should write the department a letter containing the terms of the sale. The department will forward this letter to the ROW program office in Austin.

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Deed, Memorandum of Agreement, and Closing

After an agreement has been reached between the owner(s) and TxDOT to sell the property, the ROW program office in Austin will assist the department in preparing the Deed and Memorandum of Agreement. The Comptroller requires a Memorandum of Agreement even though its use for acquiring right of way has been discontinued.

The department submits the following to the ROW program office in Austin:

  • an updated title commitment
  • a certified copy of the signed deed
  • a copy of the signed Memorandum of Agreement

The department prepares a Payee Identification Form with joint payees being the title company and the seller(s).

The department prepares and submits a Billing Statement, Form 132, and sends it to the department’s accounting section. Then the department’s accounting section will prepare a voucher to request the warrant.

The ROW program office in Austin provides the Finance Division (FIN) with copies of the title commitment, signed deed and memorandum of agreement, and preliminary closing statement. FIN forwards these to the Comptroller for issuing the warrant.

FIN forwards the warrant to the department, and the department closes the transaction.

The department obtains the title policy. The department should be sure that a deletion of arbitration provision form, if applicable, has been furnished to the title company so that the arbitration provision will be deleted from the title policy.

The department sends the billing statement for paying the title policy premium and expenses, unless the seller has paid for the title policy. Send the original recorded deed and original title policy with the billing statement to the ROW program office in Austin.

The ROW program office in Austin will process the billing statement to obtain a warrant for paying the title company expenses.

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