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Thread: Buying a home and land with state right of way....advice?

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Default Buying a home and land with state right of way....advice?

    So we have decided we want to move to out of anchorage for good. Looking at an awesome place but it has state right of way attached to it. The land backs up to the mountains and chugach state park, and has old Glenn highway frontage. What is there to worry about with the state? Can they take possession ? Has anyone dealt with this kind of land issue? Thanks to all



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    Exactly what does the right of way......."SAY"

    What is your understanding as to what the rig of way is for.

    I would be very careful in that part of Alaska.

    Have you talked to "Title" company........???? What will they guarantee (Read Insure)......???

    When did the right of way get established.......Date.....was there compensation.......???

    Can the right of way be "Vacated"......???

    Get all information in writing........If you go forward with the closing, you could choose to record any relevant documents when the deed is recorded.

    In real estate matters........."If it Ain't in writing" It is NOT enforceable for any party to the transaction.

    I would also talk to your property insurance company........Do they cover Mud-Slides, Avalanche, Erosion.....etc....???

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    How large is the parcel and what type of right away is it? If the parcel is large enough, then a right away may not be too big of an issue. When we bought our place, we knew that there was/is a right away along our back side, but that goes with being on a section line.

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    I would be careful with that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    How large is the parcel and what type of right away is it? If the parcel is large enough, then a right away may not be too big of an issue. When we bought our place, we knew that there was/is a right away along our back side, but that goes with being on a section line.
    It is 1.03 acres. I'm assuming from what I've been led to understand that the right of way is along the highway frontage, which would make sense. We are looking into it deeper.
    AGL: yeah we are trying to find out everything, last thing I want is to buy the place and then have it stripped from us later. We are being cautious. The place is exactly what we want, and just outside our price range but certainly doable. almost seems too perfect.



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    Does it say the right of way is for road "ONLY"........Sometimes utility companies will attempt to use road right of ways. It sounds like a no big deal, but I would check for any EASEMENTS. I thunk your biggest issue might be mud'slides, or avalanche. Homes have been destroyed and people killed in the homes in that area.

    How wide is the road right of way.........???



    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    It is 1.03 acres. I'm assuming from what I've been led to understand that the right of way is along the highway frontage, which would make sense. We are looking into it deeper.
    AGL: yeah we are trying to find out everything, last thing I want is to buy the place and then have it stripped from us later. We are being cautious. The place is exactly what we want, and just outside our price range but certainly doable. almost seems too perfect.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the right of way has to do with the highway frontage? Regardless, a right of way is just as it says; the state, and generally the public has the "right of way" within that corridor. That means at any time the state may come along and develop or make improvements to (widen) existing development within that corridor i.e. build a road or improve an existing road. All section lines, unless expressly vacated, are generally reserved by the state as public transportation rights of way, so your situation isn't uncommon. My property is bounded by such a section line. The odds of the state building a road on my property line is very remote, and I have never had any individuals walking through my property along the section line, but they have every legal right to do so (and if they did, I would lose up to 50' of property). That's what a right of way is all about.

    Edit: We were posting simultaneously.... So the highway right of way should be pretty straightforward. You'll want to look at the survey plat and determine the location of the right of way relative to existing improvements, and determine how much (if any) additional ground you would lose if the right of way was fully developed (assuming it's not already), and decide if that would be acceptable to you or not.

    You generally don't have any say over a public right of way. Easements are a different matter. An easement is granted by the landowner to a specific person or entity (such as a utility company) to cross your land in some manner. The easement allows ONLY that person or entity to cross your land , and only for the purposes defined in the easement agreement. An easement clearing (such as for a power line) remains your private property. It does NOT allow for public right of way.
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    Section Lines are "Easements".........and NOT Right of Ways. There is a massive difference between them. Only the entity that has a easement can use the easement.......Not the general public.



    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I'm guessing the right of way has to do with the highway frontage? Regardless, a right of way is just as it says; the state, and generally the public has the "right of way" within that corridor. That means at any time the state may come along and develop or make improvements to (widen) existing development within that corridor i.e. build a road or improve an existing road. All section lines, unless expressly vacated, are generally reserved by the state as public transportation rights of way, so your situation isn't uncommon. My property is bounded by such a section line. The odds of the state building a road on my property line is very remote, and I have never had any individuals walking through my property along the section line, but they have every legal right to do so. That's what a right of way is all about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    All section lines, unless expressly vacated, are generally reserved by the state as public transportation rights of way...
    Section Lines are "Easements".........and NOT Right of Ways. There is a massive difference between them. Only the entity that has a easement can use the easement.......Not the general public.
    What are section-line easements? And what do they have to do with R.S. 2477
    rights-of-way? A section-line easement is a public right-of-way, 33, 50, 66, 83 or 100 feet
    wide, that runs along a section line of the rectangular survey system. All 33- and 66-foot-
    wide section-line easements were acquired by the state under R.S. 2477, regardless of
    whether trails have ever been developed along them. Also, some 50- and 100-foot-wide
    easements along section lines have narrower R.S. 2477 rights-of-way “inside” them. An
    R. S. 2477 right-of-way is a type of public easement that the State of Alaska acquired under
    long-standing federal law.
    http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/vacate.pdf.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    To learn more about R.S. 2477 rights-of-way, look for DNR’s fact
    sheet on that topic or visit http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/trails/rs2477/index.cfm
    Thanks iott. I jus sent a message to the dot inquiring what that section of highway falls under and what I need to be aware of. Ill contact BLM after I receive a response from them. Still much to learn and research. It is zoned under R-5 rural res.



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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Does it say the right of way is for road "ONLY"........Sometimes utility companies will attempt to use road right of ways. It sounds like a no big deal, but I would check for any EASEMENTS. I thunk your biggest issue might be mud'slides, or avalanche. Homes have been destroyed and people killed in the homes in that area.

    How wide is the road right of way.........???
    Though mudslide could be a possibility, the land backs up to a nice heavily treed rounded hill around 800-1000 feet high. It's not far from fire lakes.



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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    It is zoned under R-5 rural res.
    If it's within the borough, you should be able to get a copy of the legal survey plat from them. (And that document needs to be provided by the seller as part of your purchase agreement package). I wouldn't necessarily trust any info from DOT.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    I must have had a brain'fart........I misunderstood the location.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    Though mudslide could be a possibility, the land backs up to a nice heavily treed rounded hill around 800-1000 feet high. It's not far from fire lakes.

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    I have a 1 acre parcel with highway frontage. The right of way is not part of my lot, it is adjacent to my lot. Many times that highway right of way is treed and landowners are pissed when the state clears their right of way to the boundaries. This happened north of Willow. I happen to know where the line is and have allowed the trees to grow on MY side of the line.
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    I'll also add that any time you buy property with road frontage you are in risk of the government declaring eminent domain and forcing you to sell the property to them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I'll also add that any time you buy property with road frontage you are in risk of the government declaring eminent domain and forcing you to sell the property to them.
    To clarify, they could do that anywhere, you're just closer to possible large highway projects when you're next to the road.

    If there's a ROW over your parcel, you usually can't put any obstruction in it, I think. I'd generally consider it not mine, for simplicity's sake, though there might be something you can use it for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManOrMoose View Post
    To clarify, they could do that anywhere, you're just closer to possible large highway projects when you're next to the road.

    If there's a ROW over your parcel, you usually can't put any obstruction in it, I think. I'd generally consider it not mine, for simplicity's sake, though there might be something you can use it for.
    I learned today that the ROW issue only involves the old Glenn hwy ROW and extends 25 feet onto the property. Which really isn't a big deal. And that before we moved in, the septic must be updated. $5200. The seller Is motivated however, and is willing to help pay a portion. So now we wait and see what we can negotiate..... Thanks everyone for the advice, it is much appreciated.



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    AKDoug brings up a great point. If the ROW is along the roadway, like it sounds like it is, then plan ahead. If you want some kind of buffer between your property and the road such as a line of trees/brush, don't count on the stuff in that ROW area. At some point down the line, there is a good chance some form of road work will come through and take that out. Make sure to grow a buffer on your property outside of the ROW area so there is something left if they clear the ROW.

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    It has already long been cleared. Jus wasn't sure how far in it went. And wondered about the driveway and possible fencing options and " need to know" stuff



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    A section line easement is also a right of way.


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