Right-of-Way Acquisition

Affected Property Owners
Is some of your property needed for the Lafayette Street Extension Project? If so, visit the Q&A page for affected property owners.

The Lafayette Street Extension Project is currently in the right-of-way phase, which means that land is being bought so that the project can be constructed. Here are some common questions about the right-of-way process.

What is Right-of-Way?
Right-of-way is the land needed to build Lafayette Street and improve local roads like Ridge Pike, Diamond Avenue, and Fairfield Road. Usually it is right underneath the roadway, but sometimes it is needed for the grading and drainage that support the road too.

Who is Acquiring Right-of-Way?
The Montgomery County Transportation Authority (MCTA) is acquiring land in the right-of-way. The MCTA is empowered by state laws to acquire right-of-way for road improvement projects.

How Does the Right-of-Way Process Work?
  • Step 1: Engineers design the road. This determines which properties are affected and how much land is required from them.
  • Step 2: MCTA hires a firm to appraise each property, and a second firm to review that appraisal. Each appraisal requires a three-step process:
    1. APA: The MCTA hires a certified appraisal review firm to produce an Appraisal Problem Analysis (APA). The APA lists basic information about the parcel and provides detail about the kinds of right-of-way the MCTA needs from the property, so that the appraiser knows what he or she is valuing.
    2. Appraisal: MCTA hires a second firm—a certified appraiser—who completes a full property appraisal, which determines the fair market value of the right-of-way needed for the project.
    3. Appraisal Review: the appraisal is forwarded to the same firm that wrote the APA, who checks the appraisal to make sure that the methodology is sound.
  • Step 3: MCTA’s right-of-way agent presents the offer to the property owners. The agent will inform them of their property rights and any reimbursable costs and will negotiate with them to help reach an agreed-upon price.
  • Step 4: If the property owner and MCTA agree on a price, then the MCTA will purchase the needed right-of-way. If they cannot agree, or if the property owner does not respond to the agent’s offer, then the MCTA will file eminent domain to force a sale through the court system.