Shannon N. Marshall 804-371-6844
June 24, 2014
VDOT ANNOUNCES ESTABLISHMENT OF OMBUDSMAN FUNCTION TO ASSIST PUBLIC WITH RIGHT OF WAY TRANSACTIONS
Ombudsman to provide independent and objective review of limited Right of Way functions
RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) today announced the establishment of a Right of Way Ombudsman. The Right of Way Ombudsman will provide independent and objective review of limited Right of Way actions, specific to eminent domain, impacting landowners in the commonwealth.
The Right of Way Ombudsman will communicate directly with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and serve as a neutral, non-biased party to help Virginia landowners understand and resolve property disputes related to eminent domain.
“It is the commonwealth’s practice to pursue every effort to resolve eminent domain cases through mutual agreement,” said Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne. “In recent years, more than 95 percent of all right-of-way transactions were settled by agreement before proceeding to trial. While these numbers are good, I realize there may be room for improvement. The Right of Way Ombudsman will improve this process and further help landowners understand and protect their property ownership.”
The Ombudsman will:
- Identify involved/impacted parties.
- Identify key documents, records and information relative to the dispute.
- Identify specific action requested by constituent.
- Identify options to resolve the dispute.
- Assist all parties in the evaluation of dispute resolution options.
The Ombudsman will not:
- Advocate for one party or point of view.
- Substitute and/or replace formal processes.
- Provide legal advice or opinions.
- Act as the final adjudicator.
- Provide assistance with just compensation, relocation assistance appeals or civil rights
“We work for the citizens of Virginia. We want to ensure they have an avenue for unresolved issues during the property acquisition processes before it gets to the courthouse,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “We’re pleased that Virginia landowners now have an additional resource to request assistance to help resolve disputes related to Right of Way actions.”
For more information, visit the VDOT Assurance and Compliance Office webpage at http://www.virginiadot.org/business/bu-oig.asp
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.