Acquisition Brochure (PDF)
Department of Transportation Office of Real Estate
The County Engineer's
Office is responsible for the maintenance and construction needs of 271 miles of
county roadway and 351 county bridges. In performing these duties it is often
necessary to purchase additional right-of-way for the building of wider pavement
widths that meet increasing traffic and safety demands, and to replace deficient
you own property or occupy a dwelling near a proposed road or bridge
improvement, you should familiarize yourself with the working procedures of the
County Engineer’s Office, and how you may be affected by the construction
This policy statement
explains what your rights are as a property owner, and provides answers to some
of the questions you may have about the land acquisition process.
the identification of needed property for one of our construction projects, the
Real Estate Department is instructed to begin their appraisals and direct
negotiations with property owners for the purchase of this land and any
Engineer’s office adheres to a policy of open discussion to reach mutual
agreements that provide every property owner with full and just compensation
based on the fair market value of the property being purchased, including any
loss of value of remaining property.
of Fair Market Value
first step in the acquisition of property is the real estate appraisal conducted
by a qualified professional appraiser that estimates the fair market value of
the needed land.
term “fair market value” is defined by Ohio law as the amount of money a
property will bring if offered for sale on the open market. Because the
determination of fair market value is the very basis of purchase negotiations,
it is of fundamental importance that this amount be carefully estimated.
professional appraiser will determine fair market value by comparing the needed
property to other similar properties that have sold recently in the area, and by
conducting property inspections.
will have the opportunity to accompany the appraiser on the inspection of your
property, and to show all features that may affect its value. The inspector
should see the exteriors and interiors of all buildings, utilities, underground
facilities, landscaping, and all improvements that have been made to the
in all real estate transactions, negotiations and the exchange of views are
essential in reaching an agreement satisfactory to both parties.
County’s representatives in these discussions are the Right-of-Way Agents.
Their primary duty is to assist you through the process of selling land or
buildings to the County.
Right-of-Way Agents are responsible for explaining the nature of proposed road
and bridge construction, its effect on your property, and answering your
questions in an efficient manner.
on the highest supportable property appraisal, the Right-of-Way Agents will make
you a written offer the first time specific values or sale prices are discussed,
and attempt to negotiate a resolution to opposing opinions.
an agreement is reached, the Right-of-Way Agents will have the necessary papers
and documents prepared, assist you in filling them out, and make arrangements
for the payment of the agreed purchase price.
Right-of-Way Agents will also help you become released from mortgages and other
liens, as well as provide for the proper recording of the documents in the deed
The Ohio Constitution
permits the County to acquire your property for a transportation project
provided that you are paid just compensation. There is no requirement, however,
that you reach a settlement with Franklin County for the sale of your property.
fully protect your rights, the laws of Ohio provide that just compensation (the
fair market value of your property) can be determined by a local jury, if you
should so choose.
the event Franklin County does not reach an agreement in purchasing your
property, the County Engineer will request the County Prosecutor’s Office to
initiate such action as is necessary to acquire the land by appropriation. An
action will then be filed with the Court of Common Pleas of the Probate Court.
At the same time, the
County Engineer will deposit with the Clerk of Courts the amount of money that
Franklin County has determined to be just compensation for the property taken
and damages to the remainder of the property, if any.
the money is deposited, you may apply to the court for the full amount minus
financial obligations such as taxes, mortgages, assessments, and liens.
fact that you withdraw the money from the court does not affect your rights to
have a jury determine the value of the property. The only restriction is that
once the sum is made available to you, interest will not accrue even if left on
deposit with the court.
you decide to accept the deposit amount as full compensation, no further action
on your part is required. Title to the property will be automatically
transferred to the County by an entry of the court. However, if you wish to
contest the case, you must appeal the County’s offer by filing the appropriate
appeal documents with the court in the statutory time period, which can be as
short as 15 days. The court will
then set a trial date for a jury to hear testimony from you and the County so
that an impartial verdict can be reached.
though a trial date has been set, further negotiation is still possible. If an
agreement is reached, formal settlement can be accomplished with approval of the
is important to note that when the County Engineer has placed the money on
deposit with the court, the County may enter upon and use your land. It may not,
however, use or demolish any structure until the jury has had an opportunity to
view the property or an appraisal has been filed with the court.
The purpose of the
structure appraisal is to ensure that the jury will have the adequate
information on which to make their findings.
Detailed photos are
taken of the exterior and interior of all structures and three appraisers (one
of your choice, one appointed by the court and one selected by the County) file
their independent value opinions with the court. Through this process, the
County Engineer may secure physical possession of any structure as early as
60-days after the serving of a summons for the appropriation case.
buildings must be provided for in a timely manner to deter accidents or criminal
activities involving those who trespass on the property.
structures, if not rented, are normally disposed of through a public sale or
you decide to exercise your right to keep your structure and relocate it from
the proposed right-of-way, you must make these arrangements during your
negotiations with the County.
salvage work is your responsibility, and the value of any saved structure will
be deducted from the settlement amount.
greatly appreciate your understanding of the land acquisition process. Your
cooperation will guarantee our success in assisting you to attain the fairest
compensation for your property. It is our goal to build transportation
improvement projects that benefit everyone in the county.
more information, please contact our Real Estate Department at (614) 525-3038.