In the Matter of:
Right-of-Way Vacation petition by ) UAZO R/W VAC #5-02
U. S. General Services Administration to )
vacate a portion of S. 3rd Street & E. ) Hearing Examiner's Recommendation
Chestnut Ave. at 25 South 3rd Avenue. )
) Examiner No. IU02-8-17
SUMMARY OF REQUEST: The United States General Services Administration has
submitted a petition for the City of Yakima to vacate a portion of the sidewalk and
parking lanes along South 3rd Street and East Chestnut Avenue in the vicinity of the
William O’ Douglas Federal Courthouse at 25 South 3rd Street. The purpose of the request
is to install security bollards to prevent parking along South 3rd Street and East Chestnut
Avenue. Following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, federal buildings around the
country, including the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse, have been subject to
comprehensive security reviews. Pursuant to this review, the General Services
Administration concluded that the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse Building
should be protected from potential vehicle attacks with the placement of 50 cast metal
security bollards, which are intended as a permanent replacement of the existing concrete
jersey and parking barriers. The Yakima City Council set the date of the public hearing
for this right of way vacation on October 15, 2002, by Resolution No. R-2002-134 as
provided for in RCW 35.79.010. The hearing was conducted on December 12, 2002.
From the view of the site, the matters contained in the petition, Development Services
Team comments, and a review of both the Yakima Urban Area Comprehensive Plan and
the Yakima Urban Area Zoning Ordinance, the Hearing Examiner makes the following
1. Applicant. U.S. General Services Administration, 400 15th Street SW,
Auburn, WA 98001-6599.
2. Location. The subject right of way is located 25 South 3rd Street, Yakima, at
the northeast corner of South 3rd Street and East Chestnut Avenue.
EXAMINER'S RECOMMENDATION - 1
3. Legal Description and Parcel Number. The legal descriptions of the portions
of the right of way proposed to be vacated are contained in attachments to Exhibit F-1.
The parcel number of the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse property is 191319-
4. Application. The partial right of way vacation petition was filed on September
5. Existing Use. The subject right of way is principally used for pedestrian traffic
and on-street parking directly adjacent to the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse
along South 3rd Street and East Chestnut Avenue. The area of the right of way vacation is
approximately 2,271 square feet. The right of way was dedicated to the City as part of
Plat of the Town of North Yakima in 1885. South 3rd Street is classified as an Arterial
with 100-feet of total right of way. East Chestnut Avenue is classified as a local access
street with 80-feet of total right of way. Currently both streets are improved with asphalt
paving with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. There is an existing storm drainpipe and a
catch basin in South 3rd Street fronting this site.
6. Surrounding Land Use and Existing Zoning
The subject property is located in the Central Business District (CBD) zoning district.
Adjacent properties have the following characteristics:
Location Zoning Existing Use
North CBD Capital Theatre
East CBD Parking lot
South CBD Professional office building
West CBD Parking lot
There is an existing storm drainpipe and a catch basin in South 3rd Street fronting this
7. Application of Criteria for Vacation of Rights of Way. State law (Chapter
35.79 RCW) establishes procedural requirements for vacation of streets or parts of
streets. The only substantive limitation on the issuance of a vacation resolution involves
proximity to water bodies. The limitation is not relevant in this case. The principal issue
presented by the state law is the requirement for compensation of the city for the vacated
EXAMINER'S RECOMMENDATION - 2
property. City Resolution #D-5630 specifies the requirements for compensating the City
for rights-of-way when vacated. Minimum compensation in the amount of one-half of
the appraised value is required to be paid to the City on the vacation of any public street,
alley, or any portion thereof, in the City of Yakima, unless (1) the right-of-way is
unimproved or not maintained, (2) the city has purchased the right-of-way at public
expense (100% compensation required), or (3) the ownership of a vacated right-of-way
will revert to the State, County, or School District.
The General Services Administration had an appraisal done for the parking lot
behind the courthouse by Terra Property Analytics, LLC, of Seattle, Washington. The
parking lot land value was appraised at $12.36 per square foot. Applying this square foot
dollar value to the 2,271 square feet of public right of way to be vacated, this area is
valued at approximately $28,070. The Director of Community & Economic Development
has indicated that the General Services Administration has agreed to pay to the City the
full appraised value of $28,070. This is consistent with State Law RCW 35.79.030,
which was recently amended to allow for compensation not to exceed the full (100%)
appraised value of the area vacated when the property has been public right of way for
more than 25 years. In the present case, the right of way was platted in 1885.
City policy also provides right-of-way vacation guidelines that specify five
criteria to be considered in analyzing vacation petitions. The criteria are reviewed as
a. The Petition must explain the public benefit of the project and the
reasoning of the proposed vacation and the limits of the vacation. The purpose of the
request is to install security bollards to prohibit parking along South 3rd Street and East
Chestnut Avenue. Following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, federal buildings
around the country, including the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse, have been
subjected to comprehensive security reviews. Based on the security review, the General
Services Administration has concluded that the William O. Douglas Federal Courthouse
Building should be protected from potential vehicle attacks by the placement of 50 cast
metal security bollards in a manner to prevent parking in close proximity. The area of the
right of way vacation is approximately 2,271 square feet, and the configuration of the
proposed vacation is in narrow strips along the existing sidewalk and the alleys adjacent
EXAMINER'S RECOMMENDATION - 3
to the courthouse. There is no evidence that the vacation of the right of way will result in
any significant impairment to vehicular or traffic.
b. The vacation of right-of-way does not deny any sole access to any
property. This vacation request would not deny any sole access to any property.
c. Petitions should be consistent with the Six Year Transportation
Improvement Plan (TIP), Urban Area Comprehensive Plan and other official City plans
and policies. The current TIP does not reflect any planned improvements to the right-of-
way to be vacated. The vacation presents no conflicts with the Six-Year Road Plan and
all relevant City plans and policies.
d. Vacation requests should be appropriate with existing and anticipated
development in the area, based on zoning, current use and long range plans. The
vacation would permanently eliminate several parking spaces in the Central Business
District, but there is no evidence that the loss would be significant in view of substantial
amounts of publicly and privately owned off-street parking nearby. In addition, the
vacation would promote the continued government use of the courthouse property and
would not interfere with other land use in the immediate vicinity.
e. Existing Utilities (public and franchised) should be relocated at the
developers expense or an adequate easement provided. Where appropriate, if existing
utilities are deemed not necessary, this requirement may be waived. There is an existing
storm drainpipe and a catch basin in South 3rd Street fronting this site. An easement for
access, maintenance and operation should be reserved with this proposed vacation. The
bollards should be placed consistently with the purpose of the easement. There are no
other public or private utilities located in the area of the right of way vacation.
8. Public Notice
Notice of this hearing was accomplished in following manner as required by state law:
Resolution R-2002-134 adopted to set public hearing October 15, 2002
Posting in three public places October 30, 2002
Posting of property November 18, 2002
Legal ad published November 21, 2002
Adjoining property notices mailed November 7, 2002
EXAMINER'S RECOMMENDATION - 4
Based on the preceding findings, the Examiner makes the following
1. The Hearing Examiner has jurisdiction to conduct and hearing and make
recommendation to the City Council regarding the petition to vacate the right of way.
2. There are no public and private utilities located in the area of the right of way vacation
request that require relocation, but an easement is necessary to operate and maintain a
storm drain line and catch basin on South 3rd Street.
3. No properties will be denied sole access to the public street system from the vacation.
4. The request to vacate the rights-of-way does not conflict with any planned street
improvement projects or other official plans or documents of the City of Yakima.
5. The right of way proposed to be vacated has an appraised value of $28,070, the entire
amount of which the applicant is willing to pay to the City.
6. The proposal does not conflict with the goal and objectives of the Urban Area
Comprehensive Plan or the Urban Area Zoning Ordinance.
8. Notice complied with requirements for the right-of-way vacation.
Based on the foregoing Findings and Conclusions, the Hearing Examiner makes the
The proposed right-of-way vacation should be APPROVED subject to the following
1. The General Services Administration shall compensate the City for the full amount of
the Fair Market Appraisal of $28,070 for the subject right of way being vacated.
2. An easement for access, maintenance and operation to the existing storm drainpipe
and a catch basin shall be reserved.
DATED THIS 26TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2002
HEARING EXAMINER PRO TEM
EXAMINER'S RECOMMENDATION - 5