The public right-of-way is an area of land owned or controlled by a city or county for the purposes of constructing, operating, and maintaining public facilities such as streets, alleys, sidewalks, and bike paths for the needs of transportation, utilities, and other public infrastructure.
The Right-of-Way unit is responsible for a wide variety of work involving property rights associated with existing and planned real property interests for roads and drainage. These activities include the acquisition of property needed to complete capital improvement projects, processing development applications, and subdivision activities related to development projects. This work ensures consistency with all county and state development standards and regulations specific to the area and type of development. The Right-of-Way staff also performs technical research, review, information, and assistance to other departments, elected officials, other agencies, and jurisdictions as well as the general public, citizens, and professionals related to existing and future road rights-of-way, drainage easement, road classifications, and land survey plans.
Many road projects can be constructed with the existing right-of-way. However, there are cases when the County determines the need to acquire additional right of way for the construction of public improvements from adjacent landowners. Private property rights are protected by the Colorado and United States Constitutions. National, state, and municipal governments have the power of eminent domain or the power to acquire private property for public use. Eminent domain is established and granted overall in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and various state constitutions and local ordinances. The authority to exercise the right of eminent domain for public use is based on the theory that property is granted to the property owner upon the condition that it may be taken to serve the necessities of the government (public uses) and that the owner will receive just compensation for the acquisition. The Adams County Public Works department respects these fundamental rights and is committed to treating all persons with fairness and respect.
In order to ensure that rights-of-way continue to serve their intended purposes, the county regulates most work in these areas through contractor licensing and construction permitting.
In preparation for obtaining a license to work in the public right-of-way, a contractor must provide proof of insurance, workers' compensation, and a surety bond. An annual fee is changed for the license and additional fees are application to cover permit review and inspection costs associated with each project.
Questions? Reach out to staff via Email or call 720.523.6875.