In pursuance of section 5501.31 of the Revised Code, the director of transportation, in vacating any highway or portion thereof on the state highway system that the director finds is no longer necessary for the purposes of a public highway, shall issue such a finding, which shall contain a description of the highway or part thereof to be vacated. Notice of such finding shall be published once a week, for two consecutive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the highway, or part thereof, to be vacated lies, and a copy of the notice shall be served as in civil cases, or by registered first class mail, return receipt requested, upon each owner of property abutting on the portion of the highway to be vacated, and upon the director of natural resources. Any owner whose place of residence is unknown, or who is a nonresident of the state, shall be specifically named in the notice of publication and shall be directed in the finding to take due notice of the contents thereof. The director shall make any vacation of a highway or portion of a highway to an abutting landowner or current underlying fee owner of record at no cost.
The notice shall fix a date, not less than twenty days after the date of the final publication of the notice, and shall contain a determination that on or before that date claims for compensation and damage, or either, by reason of the vacation proceedings, must be filed in writing, in duplicate, with the district deputy director of transportation in whose district lies any portion of the highway to be vacated. Failure to file claims in that manner is a waiver of any claim for damage by reason of the vacation.
After considering any claims filed, the director shall make awards as the director considers just and equitable, and if, within ten days, the amount so awarded has not been accepted and waivers therefor signed, that amount shall be deposited in the probate court or court of common pleas of the county in which the vacation lies, wholly or in part, and the procedure to adjudicate such claims shall be that provided under section 5519.01 of the Revised Code.
No final determination shall be made by the director in vacating such highway or portion thereof until all awards are accepted, or deposit therefor made, in the probate court or court of common pleas.
No public utility shall be required to move or relocate any of its facilities that may be located in or on any highway or portion thereof being vacated. Any deed, transfer, or other instrument or conveyance made by reason of the vacation shall indicate the right of any public utility to continue its use or occupation of the highway or portion of the highway being vacated.
Effective Date: 04-05-2001 .