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Flowchart 5B: LPA-Funded Right-of-Way Phase if Federal or State Funds Used in Any Phase of the Project

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


A local agency may use its own funds to purchase ROW prior to NEPA clearance and may apply the purchase price (or if donated, the fair market value) toward its share of project costs, also known as "local match," as long as it meets the requirements of 23 CFR 710.501. If ROW is purchased in advance of NEPA clearance, federal reimbursement is not allowed. See exception under the protective buying and hardship acquisition provisions in 23 CFR 710.503.

ROW plans are required for all local agency projects where acquisition of right of way is required. Local agency ROW plans should comply with all Colorado state statutes. A scale drawing of the boundaries of the land parcels (in compliance with CRS 38-51-106), legal descriptions of each individual parcel, and a cost estimate for each parcel is required for CDOT purposes.

If no federal or state money is used in the project, and if the project does not affect a state or federal transportation facility, there is no oversight by CDOT ROW.

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 5C.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, the local agency 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 the local agency. 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 and 8.7.1 for further information on qualifying local agency staff.

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 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 with permission of the region ROW manager. Please contact your region ROW manager to inquire about contract appraisal review on your federal-aid project.

Be advised that caution must always be exercised in the choice of an appraiser or 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.

Local agencies 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 region 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 CDOT ROW Manual, will monitor the work products of the fee agents and the consultant companies.

See Flowchart 5C for additional information regarding the appraisal process.

Draft materials must be submitted to the CDOT region ROW manager or his designated representative. 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" x 17" ROW plans

The draft plans are forwarded to the CDOT region ROW plans/survey unit for review.

After the 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 CDOT region survey manager determines exact requirements based on project specifics.

The local agency will address and incorporate all comments from the review of the draft materials and resubmit the complete package to the CDOT region ROW manager, including:

  1. Final ROW plans (11" x 17")
  2. ROWPR documentation

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

See Chapter 8, Section 8.6.3 of the CDOT ROW Manual.

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

If relocation is required on the project, the local agency relocation agent prepares and submits the Acquisition Stage Relocation Plan to CDOT ROW HQ 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 businesses, farms, non-profits

When relocation is necessary, the acquisition stage relocation plan must be submitted before Fair Market Values can be issued and offers made.

See CDOT ROW Manual Chapter 5, Section 5.3.

After acceptance of FMVs, the acquisition process and relocation process can begin. See Flowchart 5E and CDOT ROW Manual Chapter 4, Acquisition, for more information on the acquisition process. Also see Flowchart 5F and CDOT ROW Manual Chapter 5, Relocation, for more information on the relocation process.

After acquisition of all ROW, the local agency provides written certification to the region 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.

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.

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