The Real Property Division assists city departments in all facets of real estate transactions – providing strategic advice and purchasing property rights for city projects ranging from street rights of way and utility easements to parks. We also sell city-owned property when it becomes surplus.
Real Property Division's specialized services include preparation and review of all city real estate transaction documents, valuation services, site searches, property management, market and lease analysis, title and escrow support and relocation assistance.
Our goal is to help the city complete projects efficiently and effectively.
Street Vacation Process and Forms
Street Vacations Information
What they are:
A street vacation is a decision by the Bellevue City Council to abandon a public street (also referred to as "right-of-way") which then reverts to private ownership and is returned to the property tax rolls.
How are they accomplished:
Any owner of real estate abutting a street or alley may petition the council to vacate said street or alley.
A petition must be filled out by the petitioner and signed by the owners of more than two-thirds of the property abutting upon the part of said street or alley sought to be vacated.
A petition packet can be obtained from Patti Ebert in the Real Property Division of Civic Services. Assistance with filling out the petition can also be obtained if needed.
The petition is filed by the applicant with the City of Bellevue, at the City Clerks Office, Bellevue City Hall. A fee of $1,650 is collected at that time.
Note: It is highly recommended that the applicant contact the Transportation Department, Right-of-Way Use Division (Tim Stever, 425-452-4294) prior to submitting the petition and fees. A cursory review will be done by the Transportation Department to determine if the right-of-way proposed to be vacated has future plans for use and the feasibility of the petition reviewing the positive recommendation by the Transportation Department. This is not a mandatory step, but is advised as once the petition is filed the fee of $1,650 is non-refundable.
City Council Action:
A written report (resolution for City Council action) is prepared by the Real Property staff with input from other city departments analyzing the merits/demerits of the proposed vacation. The resolution along with a verbal report is delivered to the City Council. At that time, the Council will fix a time when the petition will be heard at a public hearing which shall be no more than 60 days, nor less than 20 days after the date the resolution is passed. Any person may speak for or against the proposal to vacate at the public hearing.
The Council then weighs the following points to determine whether or not to vacate:
- Will the vacation somehow serve the public better?
- Is the street needed for public use?
- Is the cost of maintaining the street greater than the benefits?
- Would a different street be better, or more useful to the public?
- Will conditions change in the future to provide a greater use or need than previously exists?
- Have surrounding and abutting property owners objected to the proposed vacation?
If any of items 1-4 are affirmed and 6 is denied, the vacation may be granted. If item 5 is affirmed or protests have been filed (item 6), the vacation may be declined.
If Council approves to vacate, the petitioner then pays a post-hearing fee of $1,100, plus $1,500 for appraisal fees. Once the appraisal is completed, if the cost was in excess of $1,500 the petitioner must pay that amount also.
There can be substantial costs involved once the Council decides a vacation is appropriate. The City must be compensated for the value of the land vacated:
- If the right-of-way is owned in fee simple (i.e. if the city purchased it), then the applicant must pay the city 100% of fair market value as determined by an appraisal.
- If the property is in public custody through a gift, quit claim, deed of dedication, plat dedication, etc., and our title interest is less than fee simple, the applicant must pay the city 50% of fair market value as determined by an appraisal. If said interest has been dedicated as public right-of-way for 25 years or more, than compensation is at 100%.
- If the property was deeded to the city by a person who now requests the vacation, the vacation will be accomplished at no cost except for normal processing fees (pre-hearing and post-hearing fees).
Property Trade in Lieu of Payment:
In lieu of monetary compensation, the city may accept a grant or dedication of property useful for street or other purposes. (Must be of equal value and is at the discretion of the City Manager.)
Additional information about any element of the street vacation process may be obtained by calling Patti Ebert in the Real Property Division of Civic Services at 425-452-5203.