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Right-of-Way Vacations / City Property Dispositions

Property owners may request that the City vacate and dispose of adjacent right-of-way – allowing the property owner to purchase City-owned parcels for use as additional private property.

  • Vacation means the City has terminated the public’s use of the right-of-way. 
  • Disposition means the land in question has been formally transferred (deeded) from the City to another person or entity.
Petitioning the City to Purchase Land

A property owner (the petitioner) interested in petitioning the City for land must submit an application and the required application fee. The petitioner may also be required to provide a plat of the proposed area to be vacated. A review process will then begin in order to identify any concerns with vacating the public use of the right-of-way. The Real Estate Division will notify:

  • All City departments
  • Utility companies
  • Any adjoining or former property owners (if required by Iowa Code 306.23)

The petitioner will be responsible for addressing any objections raised during this review process before the vacation request can go to City Council for a public hearing and possible subsequent approval.

City’s Philosophy on Selling Property
It is important to recognize that the City holds property “in trust” for the use and benefit of the public, and thus, City property can be disposed only in accordance with the public good.

As trustee of public property, City Council must dispose of property in good faith, after adequate consideration, and upon reasonable and lawful terms. The City must obtain fair market value for the property to be disposed. The City obtains a square foot value based on neighboring property values from the City Assessor in order to determine fair market value. Utilities which exist within the right-of-way could limit the buildable area or use of the property and may support a lower valuation.

After the petitioner has submitted an exhibit (or plat, if required) of the proposed area, addressed any objections, and paid the fees and land value, the request can proceed to City Council for a public hearing and possible subsequent Council approval.

A public hearing is required to allow for public input regarding the proposed right-of-way vacation and disposition. If no objections are received at the public hearing, three readings of the ordinance are required before final approval by City Council.

Most vacation and dispositions follow the general process listed above, but the process may vary depending on parcel. 




For more information regarding the right-of-way vacation process, please contact the Real Estate Disposition Coordinator at 319-286-5757 or email realestate@cedar-rapids.org.

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