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Right-of-Way

A Right-of-Way (ROW) may be requested across your restricted Native Allotment or Townsite Lot. The person and/or company who is requesting a ROW across your land is called the “Applicant.” The Applicant can be your neighbor, a utility company, a private company, or a Federal, State or Municipal organization. The Applicant will either contact you directly or will contact our office.

If you are contacted by the Applicant, please notify us. A Realty Specialist will be assigned to your case. They will help you complete the ROW documents. The ROW process can be long and has several steps to it; an example of the ROW process timeline is below. You may be contacted many times until it is complete. You will be asked to sign a number of different ROW forms. Whether you are contacted by mail or in person, be sure that you understand what you are signing. Contact your Realty Specialist if there is anything that you do not understand or are unsure about. 

The most important part of the ROW process is the negotiation for compensation (or payment). The BIA prepares a confidential appraisal that will estimate the fair market value (FMV) of the ROW. Before the appraisal can be done you must sign, with a witness present, the Landowner Consent to Grant ROW. This will allow the Applicant and BIA (if needed) to get access to your land to conduct a survey, an appraisal, and an environmental review. If the Applicant is in a hurry they may offer to do the appraisal, but it must be approved by BIA and they should contact the Office of Appraisal Services at 907-271-4050.

The appraised FMV is the minimum amount of money you should accept, but you can negotiate otherwise. For example, you may decide not to do an appraisal if you believe it is in your best interest. Appraisals can take up to 2 years, and can be longer when unusual situations come up or if another owner passes away. You may not want to wait that long, or the type of ROW (such as road access, electricity, and water/sewer) outweighs payment. If you choose not to get an appraisal, all landowners of the allotment must agree 100%, otherwise an appraisal (or other legal valuation) is required.

After the ROW is surveyed and all of the documents are received, the BIA Alaska Regional Director will grant the ROW on your behalf. 

An example of the ROW process timeline is shown below, but if you have questions please call us toll free at 1-800-645-6465.

ROW Process Timeline

Please be aware that this is only an example. The time it takes to process a ROW to completion may be different for different types of ROWs.

  1. Applicant Letter of Intent for ROW is received.

  2. Realty Specialist assigned to the ROW.
  3. Realty Specialist gathers information for ROW file.
  4. Realty Specialist mails ROW Application to Applicant.
  5. Applicant submits ROW Application.          
  6. Landowner Consent to Grant ROW form is mailed to all Indian Landowners, with Landowner IIM Account Set-Up form.
  7. Applicant surveys the ROW after Landowner Consent to Grant ROW is received.
  8. Surveyor works with the BLM Indian Lands Surveyor (BILS) to approve the survey.
  9. Realty Specialist requests Section 106 Review from Archeology.
  10. Realty Specialist requests National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review.                                                             
  11. Realty Specialist requests an Appraisal to be scheduled (average takes 18 months to complete).                               
  12. Negotiate payment after Appraisal received.
  13. ROW is sent to AK Regional Director for approval.
  14. Regional Director approves ROW Package and copies of the Grant of ROW are mailed to all Indian Landowners and the Applicant, hereafter referred to as the Grantor and Grantee.
  15. Grantee mails the payment to BIA and the BIA processes payment to the Grantor.
  16. Grant of ROW is recorded at the BIA and at the State of Alaska Recorder’s Office.

 

NOTE: Other facts and issues may arise and delay the ROW approval. Please be patient and call your Realty Specialist if you have questions.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region

Real Estate Services

3601 C Street, Suite 1200 MC-304

Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5947

(800) 645-8465, Extension 2-1

(907) 271-4104

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