Bulk Transmission Land Access in Utah
At a Glance
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|Contacts/Agencies:||Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Utah Department of Transportation|
State Land Access Process
In order to develop geothermal resources in Utah, developers must obtain a lease and, any required easements to access state lands, including any necessary permits to encroach on existing state Rights-of-Way (ROWs).
Within the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (UFFSL) administers non-trust state land in Utah. According to Section R652-40-300 "Easements across sovereign lands may be acquired only by application and grant made in compliance with these rules and the laws applicable thereto. No easement or other interest in sovereign lands may be acquired by prescription, by adverse possession, nor by any other legal doctrine except as provided by statute. All applications shall be made on division forms. The filing of an application form is deemed to constitute the applicant's offer to purchase an easement under the conditions contained in the conveyance document and these rules." The UFFSL may also require the applicant to obtain a right-of-entry agreement. 
If the project requires new/modified access onto or access across state lands the developer may apply for an easement by submitting an application to the UFFSL and abiding by any terms and conditions in the issued easement document.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) protect the State’s highway ROWs and facilitates and coordinates other highway users in order to provide for safe and efficient operation of Utah's highways. A developer wishing to construct, maintain, repair, operate or use any pole line, surface or subsurface line or other facility in the UDOT ROW must submit an Application for ROW Encroachment Permit to the UDOT.
The UDOT requires a grant of access permit for any project proposing to construct a new driveway, other curb cut, or local street connection on a State Highway. The grant of access permit applies to constructing a new driveway or vehicular access, modifying or relocating an existing driveway or access, or to closing an access on the State Highway ROW.
Local Land Access Process
Under state law, Utah counties and municipalities are given authority to regulate the use of land within their jurisdiction. State Statutes give local governments (counties/municipalities) the authorization to:
"…enact all ordinances, resolutions, and rules and may enter into other forms of land use controls and development agreements that they consider necessary or appropriate for the use and development of land within the municipality or county, including ordinances, resolutions, rules, restrictive covenants, easements, and development agreements governing uses, including public facilities, unless expressly prohibited by law.” 
An applicant proposing a utility project is entitled to approval of a land use application if the application conforms to the requirements of the local governments zoning and land use ordinances. Local land use authorities retain the right to deny a land use application if it is found that the public interest would be jeopardized by approving the application; or if the municipality has formally initiated proceedings to amend its ordinance in such a way as to prohibit approval of the application as submitted. A local government’s land use ordinance may include conditional uses and provisions for conditional uses that require compliance with standards set forth in an applicable ordinance.  A conditional use may be approved if reasonable conditions are proposed, or can be imposed, to mitigate the reasonably anticipated detrimental effects of the proposed use, If detrimental effects cannot be substantially mitigated or compliance achieved through reasonable conditions, then the permit may be denied. The conditional use permit process varies by local government.
Policies & Regulations
- An Introduction to Electric Power Transmission
- Guide to Permitting Electric Transmission Lines in Utah
- UDOT - Statewide Utility License Agreements
- Utah - T-223 Application for Right-of-Way Encroachment Permit
- Utah - UC 54-14 - Utility Facility Review Board Act
- Utah - UC 54-2 - Public Utilities Definitions
- Utah - UDOT - Accommodation of Utilities and the Control and Protection of State Highway Rights of Way
- Utah Code Annotated
- Utah DEQ Energy Pre-Design Program
- Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure