Real Estate Tip – Vacating Paper Streets; No Short Cuts for Notice


Real Estate Tip – Vacating Paper Streets; No Short Cuts for Notice

Richard W. Smith

Developers aggregating small lots may face a frustrating question: What can be done with streets and roads that are not physically there but appear on subdivision maps (“paper streets”)? Most developers know paper streets can be “vacated” using a law sometimes referred to as the “vacation statute” enacted in 1987 as part of the Paper Streets Act. The act requires other lot owners to receive notice of the pending vacation, but until 2012 it was not clear how many lot owners should receive notice. Many developers chose to notify only nearby lot owners or only those who would have to use the affected street segments for access.

In 2012, the court was quite clear in rejecting these practices – there are no shortcuts. All lot owners whose lots appear anywhere on the plan showing the street segments must receive notice; all of their lenders must receive notice, too. For your next development involving paper streets, allow enough time and resources to deal with possibly dozens of owners and lenders who may at first appear to be unaffected by your project

Today’s real estate tip is brought to you by Rick Smith, a member of Bernstein Shur’s Real Estate Practice Group. Stay tuned for more useful tips for real estate professionals.

For more information on paper streets, contact Rick at rsmith@bernsteinshur.com or 603 623-8700 ext. 8829 or 207 774-1200.