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EXPLANATION OF VACATION PROCEEDINGS

The processing of a request to vacate a public easement such as street, alley, walk or other public easements within the City of Los Angeles are governed by the provisions of the State Streets and Highways Code and the Los Angeles City Administrative Code. It is a legislative act of the City Council terminating any stipulated public rights within the area proposed to be vacated.

WHAT PURPOSE DOES A VACATION SERVE?

Vacation means the complete or partial abandonment or termination of the public right to use a street, highway, or public service easement. The area vacated would then revert to the owner of the underlying fee interest for their own use. Included under vacation proceedings are the following types of public rights-of-way:

A. Public street, alley or walk

B. Future street, alley or easement
1. Dedicated by a subdivision tract or parcel map that recorded LESS THAN 25 years previously.
2. Offered for dedication by a separate instrument and having NO "Rejection Clause".

C. Public Easements (other than (A) above) may be vacated but only when combined with a request for vacation of (A) and/or (B) above.

Usually the City of Los Angeles is only an easement holder of the rights-of-way of public streets, alleys or walks and the adjoining property owners have the underlying fee interest. However, it is advisable for the petitioner to contact a title company to perform a title search of the underlying fee interest of the proposed vacation area prior to submittal of the application. In addition, in some instances, the City of Los Angeles owns the underlying fee interest. In these situations, a request for purchase of the City owned property must be processed through the appropriate City Agency.

Note: Occasionally a vacation is filed in conjunction with a development project. In order to promote orderly development, evaluate and mitigate significant environmental impacts, and promote public safety and the general welfare, the street vacation request in conjunction with a major development project might not be accepted. The applicant will be directed to process a subdivision map through the City Planning Department to achieve the result of abandoning and terminating the public right-of-way while adequate reviews of the project impacts will be performed.

If you think your vacation request would fall into this category, please contact the Vacation Section at (213) 202-3480 for a preliminary evaluation.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS? (FEES AND OTHER COSTS)

In accordance with the City Administrative Code, the payment of a $14,980 fee deposit with the application will be required to process a vacation request regardless of the type of vacation. Some city agencies may require additional fees to be deposited to cover costs during the referral and investigation process. Also, if an Environmental Determination or a Coastal Development Permit are required, additional fees must be deposited.

This deposit is only an estimate and any deficit will be billed at a later date, prior to the recordation of the Resolution to Vacate.

Please make the check payable to:
City of Los Angeles
Bureau of Engineering


OTHER COSTS: Conditions of the vacation approval may require that the applicant dedicate additional easements adjoining his/her ownership for public street or alley purposes and/or construct necessary improvements such as concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks, sewer and/or storm drain facilities, street lights, street trees, etc. All costs incurred for the processing of any required dedications, the construction of required public works facilities, and the relocation or protection of any affected public utilities or any other such facilities located within the vacation area, are to be borne by the applicant.

HOW MUCH TIME IS REQUIRED?

The Bureau of Engineering will review the vacation application and transmit it to other City departments, public agencies, and affected public utilities for their comments and recommendations. The average time to prepare a report to the City Council to either conditionally approve or deny the vacation request is approximately 6 to 9 months. If an Environmental Determination or a Coastal Development Permit are required, the time to prepare a report can increase by approximately 6 more months. An additional 6 to 12 months are usually required to complete the processing of the vacation request. The actual time varies with the scope and complexity of the vacation request and requires the applicant to comply as expeditiously as possible with the conditions of the vacation.

Vacation proceedings not completed within 2 years of the date of the City Council public hearing approval of the vacation request will be terminated.

WHAT ARE THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS? (SEE ATTACHED FLOW CHART)

INVESTIGATIONS, REFERRALS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND REPORT: As the public street system belongs to the general public, there are many agencies (City of Los Angeles and other public utilities) who may be utilizing or have an interest in the public right-of-way proposed to be vacated. City agencies such as the Bureau of Engineering, Planning Department, Department of Transportation, Fire Department, Department of Water and Power and others, along with affected public utility companies such as the Gas Company and Pacific Bell, will be sent referrals for their comments and recommendations on the proposed vacation. Upon receipt of their responses, a report will be prepared by the Bureau of Engineering and submitted to the City Council through the Public Works Committee for their consideration.

ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINATION: The processing of vacation applications is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the City's Environmental Guidelines. The applicant will be required to complete an Environmental Assessment Form as part of the vacation process. If the vacation is not deemed as being categorically exempt from the CEQA Guidelines, it will be forwarded to our Environmental Management Group for review. This will extend the required processing time for the vacation beyond that which is discussed in this handout and/or shown on the flow chart.

COUNCIL ACTION: Based on the recommendation of the Public Works Committee, the City Council makes its findings for conditional approval or for denial of the vacation request.

PUBLIC HEARING: Other than summary vacations, a public hearing will be scheduled for the City Council to hear testimony on the vacation request from any interested persons. After the public hearing, the City Council makes a final determination on the vacation request.

SUMMARY VACATION: In certain situations as detailed in the State Streets and Highways Code, the vacation of public streets or alleys may be processed without a public hearing. In these cases, the City Council considers the City Engineer's report and acts without the hearing.

RESOLUTION TO VACATE: A Resolution to Vacate will be submitted to the City Council for consideration along with the City Engineer's report. After all of the required conditions have been complied with by the applicant and any deficit processing costs have been paid, the Resolution to Vacate will be delivered and recorded in the office of the Los Angeles County Recorder. The vacation proceedings will then be completed and the applicant and adjoining owners will be mailed a copy of the recorded Resolution.

APPLICANT'S RESPONSIBILIES

PUBLIC WORKS IMPROVEMENTS: The conditional approval of vacation applications requires conformance to the Highways and Freeways Element of the General Plan and to the street improvement policies for private developments. The applicant will be responsible for the costs of constructing any required street, sewer and storm drain improvements including the planting of street trees and the installation of streetlights and fire hydrants.

PUBLIC UTILITIES: All costs in connection with the relocation or protection of any affected public utilities or any other such facilities located within the vacation area are to be borne by the applicant.

RIGHTS OF OTHER PROPERTY OWNERS: The City of Los Angeles requires the consents and waivers of damages of all property owners adjoining the public right-of-way proposed to be vacated. In addition, the consents and waivers of other property owners may be required as determined by the City Engineer or City Council.

REVERSIONARY RIGHTS: It is the applicant's responsibility to determine the ownership of the underlying fee interest of the public right-of-way proposed to be vacated. In the majority of cases, the City has only a public easement for street, alley, walk, or other purposes and the vacation only removes this easement. The underlying fee interest can best be determined by a title report from a Title Company. The Bureau of Engineering may require the submittal of a title report.

HOW TO BEGIN VACATION PROCEEDINGS

A. Fill out the attached application completely. If possible, the signatures and/or consents of all property owners abutting the public right-of-way proposed to be vacated and of those who make use thereof for ingress and egress to their property should be included. Applicants may obtain information necessary to complete items 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d on the attached application, at the nearest Engineering District Office.

Central District Permit Counter
201 N. Figueroa Street, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012-4801
Tel: (213) 977-6057

Valley District Engineering Office
Marvin Braude Constituent
Service Ctr.
6262 Van Nuys Blvd., 2nd Floor
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Tel: (818) 374-5081

West Los Angeles District Office
1828 Sawtelle Boulevard, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310)575-8609

Harbor Engineering Office
638 S. Beacon Street, Suite 427
San Pedro, CA 90731
Tel: (310) 732-4677

B. Fill out the attached Environmental Assessment Form.

C. Include, in the completed application, an annotated print of a district map (8 1/2" x 14" is adequate) showing the following: (See sample attached)

1. The public right-of-way proposed to be vacated

2. The properties owned by the applicant (or the owners being represented by the applicant)

3. Any other owners whose properties adjoin the area proposed to be vacated.

NOTE: Applicants may purchase prints of the district map from any Engineering District Office or from:

Central Records Section* 1149 S. Broadway, Suite B-10 Los Angeles, CA 90015 Tel: (213) 847-0700 *Phone for hours of operation

D. Initial fee deposit payment of $14,980.00.

E. If the vacation is in conjunction with a development project: plot plan, site plan, etc. of the proposed project.

F. Mail or return the fully completed application and map to:

Bureau of Engineering
Land Development Group
201 N. Figueroa Street, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 202-3480