California Department of Transportation

Resolutions of Necessity

State of California
Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
M e m o r a n d u m


Attention Deputy District Directors
Project Development and Right of Way

Date :

File No.:

August 31, 1989

Subject: Resolution of Necessity Procedures

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a detailed description of the procedures which are to be followed in implementing the revised policy on Resolution of Necessity Hearings contained in the Director's February 21, 1989 memorandum.

District Directors shall ensure that appropriate personnel work with the owner throughout the acquisition process in an effort to resolve the owner's concerns. When a property owner challenges adoption of a resolution, the District is responsible for conducting a first level review meeting with the property owner to identify all issues and alternatives, and determine if it is feasible to modify the design or scheduling to effect resolution with the owner. This meeting is usually conducted by the District Director and the Deputy District Director - Right of Way.

If the property owner does not withdraw the Request for Appearance when the District completes the first level review, and the District's recommendation is to proceed, the District will notify Headquarters Office of Project Planning and Design, Division of Project Development, within 3 working days after the first level review meeting. This notification will consist of a draft Appearance Information Sheet, approved and signed by the Project Manager. A copy of the notification should also be sent to the Chief, Division of Right of Way. The date selected for presentation to the CTC is governed by the completeness of the District's initial notification/ information submittal, whether or not the matter is to be evaluated by a Condemnation Review Panel, and the time required for the panel to perform its function in relation to the monthly cutoff date for submitting agenda items with supporting documentation to the CTC. The cutoff date is reported to District Directors (Attention: Deputy District Directors for - Right of Way and Project Development) monthly in a memorandum from the Office of Project Planning and Design.

It is essential that the draft Appearance Information Sheet (AIS) be complete enough for the Chiefs of the Division of Right of Way and the Office Of Project Planning and Design to decide if the Request for Appearance should be forwarded to a Condemnation Review Panel. The draft AIS can be brief, but should include:

  • A description of the project including historical background (environmental document approval , STIP programming, tentative advertising date. suggested, CTC meeting date for requesting a Resolution of Necessity) and current construction cost.
  • An explanation of why the project is necessary: describe the existing highway; current and design year traffic volumes; up-to-date accident data and statewide rates; other warrants. Discuss the project's priority in relation to other projects.
  • The status of other parcels required for the project: Total parcels; number of parcels acquired: number or parcels under right of entry; number of other owners expected to request appearance before the CTC.
  • Clear, legible maps (index map, project title sheet, appropriate plan sheets and parcel maps) covering the project and its relationship to the full parcel must be provided.
  • A listing of the owner's primary concerns (compensation, design features, timing of the acquisition, lack of replacement housing, etc.).
  • A description of any design or right of way modifications suggested by the owner. Include the District's opinion on the feasibility of these suggestions and the basis for the District opinion (why they are or are not feasible).
  • A discussion of whether or not the project's impact on the owner's property could be lessened by reducing or modifying the planned right of way taking. What effects would avoiding this property have on cost and impact on other properties and facilities?
  • A description of alternatives to the proposed taking that have been considered by the District (e.g., modified access control, construction obligations to offset concerns, a lesser project, etc.).
  • A chronology of official contacts or attempted contacts with the property owner (or representative) involving acquisition and formal offers must be included in this draft AIS. If personal delivery is not feasible, it is suggested that some proof of receipt by the owner (e.g., postal delivery receipt) be sought.
  • The District's opinion of the potential for settling the parcel prior to the CTC action meeting.
  • An estimate of the difficulty in scheduling a second level review meeting with the owner due to business, employment or other reasons.
  • Identification of the appropriate District contact persons in Right of way and Project Development that can provide additional detailed information.

When the Office of Project Planning and Design receives the draft Appearance information Sheet, the Project Development Coordinator will meet with responsible District design staff/management to obtain an adequate understanding of the project and its impacts on subject properties.

The Chief of the Office of Project Planning and Design in the Division of Project Development, after consulting with the Chief, Division of Right of Way, may take the following action:

  • Refer request to the Condemnation Review Panel to develop a recommended course of action to the Chief Engineer, or
  • Refer project back to the district for additional design studies or design modifications, or
  • Forward the request to the CTC for action.

If the Request for Appearance is referred to a Condemnation Review Panel, panel members will be selected from the list approved by the Chief Engineer. The Condemnation Review Panel shall consist of one or more individuals having career experiences in law, engineering, or right of way. The Right of Way panel member will act as panel chairperson, and will designate a Right of Way staff person to serve as secretary to the panel.

The panel secretary will:

  • Notify the panel members of their assignment and provide them with the owner's letter requesting a CTC appearance and the District's draft Appearance Information Sheet.
  • Arrange with District Right of Way a meeting place convenient to the owner at a time convenient to all attendees. The facility should be suitable for a formal meeting. District Right of Way staff will be expected to make necessary arrangements by phone and confirm in writing to the property owner and the panel members. An expenditure authorization should be provided by the District to capture charges to the project.
  • Arrange for a panel field review of the proposed taking prior to the panel/owner meeting. District Project Development and Right of Way representatives may be requested to attend the field review to provide answers to panel questions about project details.

The Legal Division panel member will arrange for a stenographic reporter to attend the panel/owner meeting to provide a transcript of the meeting.

The meeting will be attended by the owner and/or his representative, the panel members, the panel secretary, a representative from District Project Development and a representative from District Right of Way. In the case Of locally funded projects or consultant-designed projects, the District may invite additional representatives familiar with the project to the hearing to provide detailed information.

The District should inform the owner before the hearing on the specific details of the hearing procedures so the owner can arrange for engineering or legal assistance if desired. District representation at the hearing should be minimized and potentital expert presenters should be kept on standby.

The panel chairperson will begin the hearing by explaining the purpose of the meeting and procedures to be followed. District staff will describe the project using suitable map/plan exhibits. Owners will be asked to present their concerns about the project and/or the proposed acquisition as presented along with any suggestions they may have to reduce or mitigate project impacts.

After all information has been gathered, the owner, District staff and the stenographic reporter will be excused. The panel will discuss the available information in an effort to develop a recommendation to the Chief Engineer. In some instances, the panel may need to gather additional information from the District or other sources. They may also refer suggestions by the owner to the District for evaluation. The panel may meet again upon completion of this evaluation to reach a decision.

The Panel Secretary will prepare a draft panel report/recommendation. The report will include: a summary description of the project and its impact relationship to the owner's property; a listing of the issues and recommendations raised by the owner; the panel's consideration of the issues and recommendations of the owner; the panel's findings; and the panel's recommendation. The draft report and a copy of the hearing transcript are furnished the panel members for review and comment.

The final Appearance Information Sheet is prepared by the Office of Project Planning and Design and the panel's final report is attached as a supplement. These documents are submitted to the Chief Engineer to decide if Caltrans is ready to request a Resolution of Necessity from the CTC.

If the Chief Engineer decides to request CTC approval of the Resolution of Necessity, the final Appearance Information Sheet and the panel's report are furnished to Division of Highways and Programming for inclusion in the CTC briefing book by the Division of Right of Way by the due date for CTC book items.

The Division of Right of Way notifies the owner by letter of the date, time and location to appear before the CTC. Copies of the panel report and the hearing transcript are furnished to the owner with this notification. Copies of the panel report are also furnished to the Deputy District Director-Right of Way.

Relevant backup information is compiled in a binder to be available at the CTC meeting for those making Caltrans' presentation.

The CTC meeting will usually be attended by one or more of the panel members depending on the issues involved.

Original signed by:
Chief Engineer


This page last updated November 10, 2001