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Section 4: Sale of Right of Way (Fee Simple) No Longer Needed for State Highway Purpose to a GE under the Statutory Priority

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Note: The Right of Way Manual provides guidance for disposition of property interests that are no longer needed for state highway purposes. Unless otherwise stated, procedures outlined below apply to property interests that are no longer needed for state highway purposes.

When the state owns fee simple title to right of way that is going to be sold, the statute requires that it must first be offered to a GE. The department sends a letter by certified mail return receipt requested, along with a sketch or copy of the appropriate right of way map, to a GE advising that the GE has the first opportunity to purchase the right of way. The department’s letter should state that the GE will have thirty days to notify the department if the GE intends to purchase the right of way at the offer price. If the GE donated the original right of way to the state, Commission policy is to sell the right of way. A time limit can be placed for GEs to close a purchase after they submit interest. If two or more GEs are interested in a property, a sealed bid between them will be conducted to determine the purchaser.


Submission Requirements

The department has the option to use the SOPs “Determination of Disposition of Real Property” and “Project Release for Real Property Disposition” to initiate the disposition process.

A submission to the ROW program office in Austin must include:

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  • District Engineer’s statement advising that the right of way is not needed for a state highway purpose and recommending the sale
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  • a copy of the original conveyance document(s) to the state
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  • a survey, which includes an approved metes and bounds description on letter-size paper signed and sealed by an RPLS clearly showing the proposed right of way tract and including a preamble citing the original conveyance document(s) and recording information. If the right of way is on a controlled access highway, the metes and bounds description must include an appropriate control of access clause. This clause should describe where access is denied. There is the option to refer to the appendix of TxDOT’s Right of Way Manual Vol. 4 - Eminent Domain, for guidance in preparing control of access clauses.
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  • as needed, a letter-size survey plat prepared by a RPLS. The plat should show the right of way interest, including metes and bounds, north arrow, scale, legend, full width of the highway clearly indicated, ownership of all adjoining land, control of access lines (if applicable), and any existing drainage structures or utilities in the right of way.
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  • a letter-size area location map with north arrow.

ROW Program Office in Austin Procedure

The ROW Division program office will do the following:

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  • prepare and submit a minute order for the Commission to consider the sale and conveyance of the right of way interest
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  • prepare the appropriate conveyance document
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  • if the sale amount is $10,000 or less, send the document to the Executive Director for signature
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  • if the sale amount is more than $10,000, the Executive Director will concur by signing the document. ROW program office in Austin will forward the document to the Attorney General, who then forwards the document to the Governor’s General Counsel for review. The Governor and Secretary of State sign the document, and it is returned to ROW program office in Austin.
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  • notify the purchaser to send funds for purchasing the right of way to the FIN Division for deposit into the state highway fund or send prepared documents to the appropriate escrow company
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  • If no escrow company is used, after the FIN Division notifies ROW program office in Austin that the funds have been deposited, send the document to the department contact for recording and delivery to the purchaser.

Completion of Transaction

After the purchaser receives the recorded conveyance document, the department will follow procedures outlined under Closing Procedures and Map Notations.

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