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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington Access Across State Lands (3-WA-e)

This flowchart illustrates the process for obtaining access across state lands in Washington, via a right-of-way (ROW) issued by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WSDNR). The relevant ROW process is regulated under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 79.36.350 and RCW 79.36.510. The developer may apply for an easement, permit or license for a ROW. Permits and licenses are a permissive use of the property owner’s land. Permits and Licenses are revocable at will of the owner and are not assignable, transferable, or inheritable. Permits or licenses may be granted for other short-term proposals. Easements are a privilege to use the land of another or an interest in the land. They are a legal grant of property rights that are assignable, transferable, inheritable, and non-revocable unless there are terms in the easement allowing termination or by mutual consent of both parties. Easements may be granted in perpetuity or terminate on a given date.

Access Across State Lands Process

3-WA-e.1 – Right of Way Application

Any developer seeking a ROW over and across state lands must submit a written application for the ROW to the WSDNR. The application should include a plat showing the location of the right of way. RCW 79.36.350.

The developer should describe in the application the proposed use of the lands. The application must also include a legal description of the right of way proposal.

Rights-of-Way Application

3-WA-e.2 – Provide Notice of Receipt of Application

When the WSDNR receives the application, they must notify the developer that the application has been received. This is not an acceptance of the proposal, and the proposal may be rejected at any time during the application process.

3-WA-e.3 – Conduct an Appraisal of the Land

After the developer submits an application, the DNR will conduct an appraisal of the land sought to be used for the ROW.

3-WA-e.4 – Submit Maps and Field Notes

The developer must submit a map and field notes of the survey and location of the proposed transmission lines, and must make any necessary payment to the WSDNR. RCW 79.36.520.

3-WA-e.5 – Review Application Materials

The WSDNR will review the application for completeness, and ensure that the proposal is in compliance with all agency requirements.

3-WA-e.6 to 3-WA-e.7 – Does DNR Accept the Application?

The WSDNR has the authority to accept or reject any application for a ROW. If the WSDNR denies the application, then the developer should consider a different project location.

3-WA-e.8 – Right of Way

The state has the sole discretion on whether or not to grant a permit or easement for the stated purpose.

The land within the ROW must be limited to an amount necessary for the construction of the transmission line, and sufficient land on either side of the transmission line for ingress and egress to maintain and repair the line. The grant must include the right to cut trees marked as danger trees by the applicant outside of the right of way which are dangerous to the operation and maintenance of the transmission line. RCW 79.36.520.

If the WSDNR accepts the application, then the developer must pay the appraisal value of the ROW. Once necessary payments are made, the WSDNR must issue to the developer the ROW stating the terms and conditions. Thereafter, any sale or lease of the lands affected by the ROW must be subject to the easement of the right of way. RCW 79.36.530.

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