Flowchart 5A: Federal or State-Funded ROW Phase

Full Flowchart

You can also dig more deeply into the separate pieces of the flowchart below.

The Uniform Act must be followed on all local agency projects when federal funds are used in any phase of a project. The Uniform Act must be followed for any local agency project affecting, improving, or modifying any federal or state transportation facility.

CRS 24-56-108(4) states that CDOT may use the provisions of state statute for programs or projects on the state highway system funded by state highway funds. This statute indicates a legislative preference for CDOT to follow the Uniform Act when state highway funds are used. This statute, as well as the legislative purpose stated in CRS 24-56-101, is interpreted by CDOT as a strong legislative suggestion for CDOT to follow the Uniform Act in all acquisition/relocation activities for all of its projects, regardless of federal funding or state funding, for program consistency and to ensure that all persons and entities affected by such programs are treated fairly and equitably.

Where federal funding is used on any phase of a local agency project, FHWA places overall responsibility with CDOT for the acquisition of right of way and relocation of individuals and businesses.

FHWA is ultimately accountable for ensuring that the federal highway program is administered consistent with established requirements (See 23 U.S.C. 101 et seq.). A project agreement must be executed by FHWA before any work can begin.

Contact your CDOT project manager to determine next steps if you do not have an executed intergovernmental agreement and project agreement or if you do not know the ROW funding source, as it affects the procedures and processes you will be required to follow.

ROW plans are required for all local agency projects where acquisition of right of way is needed. ROW plans for local agency projects must be prepared in compliance with CDOT requirements when you are requesting federal or state participation in ROW acquisition and relocation or when proposing a program or project that will improve or modify any portion of a federal or state highway, regardless of the source of funding.

The appraisal process can begin at different times for different projects. Appraising individual property parcels can be initiated after discussion with the CDOT region ROW manager once your project design is unlikely to change. Appraisal reports are required to be in CDOT appraisal format. Depending on the circumstances, Waiver Valuations might be prepared in lieu of appraisals (see 5.3.12-15).

The Uniform Act contains basic requirements for the appraisal of real property acquired for public purposes. These basic requirements apply to all local agency projects. For additional detail refer to 49 CFR 24.102 and 103; the FHWA Right of Way Project Development Guide, Appraisal Review; the FHWA Real Estate Acquisition Guide for Local Public Agencies; and CDOT ROW Manual, Chapter 3, Appraisal and Appraisal Review.

Depending on availability, you can choose between CDOT staff, approved local agency staff or an approved consultant to assist with the appraisal, appraisal review and acquisition/relocation process.

In certain cases CDOT staff might be able to provide the appraisal and/or acquisition/relocation services for you. Please contact your CDOT region ROW manager for more information.

See Flowcharts 5C (appraisal), 5E (acquisition) and 5F (relocation) for additional information about these processes.

Qualified local agency staff (CDOT-approved) may provide the appraisal and/or acquisition/ relocation services. See ROW Manual Chapter 8, sections 8.3.2 (acquisition/relocation) and 8.7.1 for further information on qualifying local agency staff in acquisition/relocation or appraisal.

See Flowcharts 5C (appraisal), 5E (acquisition) and 5F (relocation) for additional information about these processes.

CDOT maintains separate lists of pre-qualified appraisers and acquisition/relocation consultants who are approved by CDOT to perform local agency work. These lists are available from the CDOT region ROW manager or CDOT's HQ Appraisal or Acquisition/Relocation program managers, and are posted on CDOT's website.

Also, while most required local agency appraisal review work is handled by CDOT staff appraisers, CDOT maintains a short list of approved review appraisers who may be engaged when CDOT's appraisal workload prevents handling appraisal review by CDOT staff. Local agency appraisal review may only be hired out by permission of the region ROW manager. Please contact your Region ROW manager to inquire about contract appraisal review on your local agency project.

Be advised that caution must always be exercised in the choice of an appraiser or an acquisition/relocation agent or private consulting company, particularly with regard to experience. Each project and each local agency has unique demands. The fact that fee appraisers or contract agents have met the broad qualifications contained in the application for qualification does not mean that every consultant can meet the unique demands inherent in certain projects.

If a local agency is not qualified and would prefer qualification over contracting with CDOT to use CDOT staff, the local agency must diligently pursue the consultant fee appraiser and/or agent selection process. The local agency is accountable and responsible for the actions of the fee appraisers and agents and/or the failure of consultants to properly execute their duties and activities in accordance with the Uniform Act. If the local agency’s activities do not comply with the Uniform Act, loss of federal funding could occur.

The local agency must also comply with all requirements of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on federal-aid projects. The local agency must ensure all services and/or benefits derived from any right of way activity will be administered without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, or disability. If the local agency’s activities do not comply with the Title VI, loss of federal funding could occur.

Contact your CDOT project manager for a list of approved local agencies or fee agents.

If a local agency wants or requests to use an acquisition/relocation agent or an appraiser who is not on the current CDOT list of approved contractors for these services, the procedures described in ROW Manual Chapter 8, exhibits B and C (acquisition/relocation and appraisal) must be followed. The local agency can retain the requested consultant only if their application for qualification is approved.

The local agency that enters into a contract with a fee appraiser or acquisition/relocation agent or private consulting company to perform ROW services retains ultimate responsibility for the actions of the consultant or consulting company. CDOT has established broad criteria for use in evaluating consultant qualifications and selecting consultants for specific right of way functions; however, CDOT is not responsible for devising such criteria or for the performance of any CDOT-approved ROW consultants. In the event the actions or performance of the consultant result in a loss of federal funds for the project, it is the sole responsibility of the local agency to pay back these funds.

Fee appraisers, agents and consulting companies must perform right of way functions to the same standards, practices, rules, and regulations as CDOT. The CDOT region ROW staff, using the same guidelines discussed under "The Monitoring Process" in Chapter 8 of the ROW Manual, will monitor the work products of the fee appraisers, agents, and consultant companies.

Draft materials must be submitted to your CDOT PM who will share with the Region Survey Coordinator.  The package should contain the following:

  1. One set of memorandums of ownership (CDOT Form 242) with deeds attached or one set of commitments to insure from a title insurance company with deeds attached. Memorandums or commitments must be at least 90 days current.
  2. One set of legal descriptions
  3. Project level environmental approval (Form 128) or copy of signature page for the approved NEPA clearance document (i.e. CE, FONSI, ROD) for the project
    All local agency projects must demonstrate compliance with NEPA and other federal environmental laws before proceeding with right of way work or the final design of a project. See the CDOT ROW Manual, Chapter 8, section 8.5.1-2 for additional information.
  4. Copy of land service facilities justification letters
    The purpose of the land services facilities justification letter is for justification of federal participation in the costs of land service facilities designed to provide or restore access to properties affected by a highway facility.
  5. Explanation of how conflicting property boundary evidence was addressed
  6. One set of 11-inch by 17-inch ROW plans

The draft plans are forwarded to the CDOT region ROW Plans/Survey Unit for review.

After the ROW package has been submitted, a meeting is held with the CDOT region, local agency and stakeholders to review the draft materials and preliminary ROW plans. The ROWPR form is completed at the meeting.

The local agency will address and incorporate all comments from the review of the draft materials and resubmit the complete package to the CDOT PM and Region Survey Coordinator for Authorization, including:

  1. Final ROW plans (11-inch by 17-inch in color)
  2. CDOT Form 438, Chief Engineer's ROW Cost Estimate
  3. ROWPR documentation
  4. A memo listing local agency and individual ownerships and requesting authorization of function 3111 (acquisition) and/or function 3109 (relocation)

If the project does not affect, improve, or modify any federal or state transportation facility and there are no federal or state funds involved, the local agency approves the ROW plans.

See Chapter 8 of the CDOT ROW Manual.

If the local agency will use its own funds for ROW acquisition and relocation but federal funds are involved in any other phase of the project, the CDOT region ROW manager approves the ROW plans. No signature block is required in this circumstance.

See the CDOT ROW Manual Chapter 8, Section 8.6.3.

If the local agency is requesting federal or state participation in ROW acquisition and relocation, the CDOT PM and Region Survey Coordinator submit information from 5A.15 to HQ Survey for review and submittal to the CDOT Chief Engineer for Authorization. 

The ROW manager signs the appropriate federal or state signature block, depending on the funding source.

See Chapter 2, Sections 2.4.9, 2.25.4, 2.25.5 and Chapter 8 of the CDOT ROW Manual.

While the ROW plans are being prepared, reviewed and finalized, the appraisal process is moving forward.

Please see text boxes 5A.8-14, and Flowchart 5C for further information on the appraisal process. For more information, see FHWA's video on Valuation.

If relocation is required on the project, the local agency relocation agent prepares and submits the acquisition stage relocation plan to CDOT headquarters ROW staff, including:

  1. CDOT Form 557, Acquisition Stage Relocation Plan, ROW
  2. CDOT Form 558, Displaced Person(s) Information, ROW
  3. Estimate of households to be displaced
  4. Estimate of number of comparable replacement dwellings
  5. Estimate of number, type and size of business, farms, non-profits

The acquisition stage relocation plan is needed before fair market values can be issued and offers made for any relocation.

See CDOT ROW Manual Chapter 5, Section 5.3.

CDOT qualified staff or consultant appraisal reviewers (CDOT-listed) are the only reviewers authorized to issue FMVs.

After approval of ROW plans and acceptance of FMVs, the acquisition process and relocation process can begin. See ROW Manual Chapter 4, Acquisition and Chapter 5, Relocation, for more information on the acquisition and relocation processes. Also, see Flowcharts 5E (acquisition) and 5F (relocation).

After acquisition of all ROW, the local agency provides written certification to the CDOT project manager that all Uniform Act and other federal/state requirements have been met on the project.

Upon receipt of the local agency certifications, the CDOT region ROW manager issues a ROW clearance letter.

The local agency submits documentation plus requests for reimbursement. See CDOT ROW Manual, Chapter 8, Section 8.18.

To show the "good faith negotiations" legal requirement, the negotiator maintains adequate records of negotiations on a parcel basis in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with the federal laws. These records are retained for at least three years from the date of acceptance of the final voucher for the project, but may generally follow the requirements of the state, municipal, or private entities if a longer retention period is chosen or required.