Brad: Appraisers, attorneys, right of way consultants, relocation experts,
public agencies and engineers can work as a team to identify potential risks
and come up with the best potential solutions for the overall project.
Brian: I believe it is incumbent on right of way professionals to share the
successes and challenges experienced through our project work. A strong,
experienced team with a complete understanding of our project mission,
roles and messaging will result in success. We in the industry must continue
and update our methods through on-going educational updates and heavy
involvement, such as that which is available with the IRWA. The team needs
to have a full understanding of the changes in funding sources, impacts
and auditing oversight agencies. When the right of way professionals bring
this comprehensive understanding to the discussion, that message is shared
consistently with the community impacted by our projects. We are the
“human element” and the day to day face.
Richard: And by having a more complete understanding, the value of right of
way professionals supporting infrastructure projects are ever increasing from
their traditional roles. Right of way delivery strategies are evolving to meet the
needs of the projects. More and more right of way professionals will venture
into new roles outside the norm, especially with alternative delivery methods.
Brad: It all goes back to teamwork and the necessity to include the right
of way professional in that team. Working independently, many issues
can be missed or not thoroughly vetted. For example, we recently worked
on a project where the engineer decided over 20 temporary construction
easements (TCE) were necessary to construct a project and the agency was
moving forward to acquire those rights. When the right of way acquisition
group met with the engineers as a cohesive team, it was determined that the
TCEs were not necessary, but they would result in $100,000 in construction
cost savings. Those savings were vetted out compared to the acquisition
costs, which would have likely been in the millions of dollars due to potential
damages claims. The group decided that as a whole, the project was much
better off avoiding the TCEs. That way, they would pay an additional $100,000
in construction costs, but save millions on the acquisitions. The entire right of
way acquisition team was needed to help reach that determination and it was
one that would have likely been missed in the past.
Anne: Additionally, right of way professionals play an important community
relations role as well. A great deal of communication and information is
exchanged during the various levels of the right of way process and productive
relationships with property owners and businesses impacted by a project are
crucial to a project’s success. Right of way professionals are there to answer
questions or provide property owners appropriate direction as it may relate
to their individual parcel or a project concern. They also can relay critical
issues from a property owner to the project team, which can be addressed by
design engineers and community relations personnel. Relocations are often
very stressful especially for those whose primary residence is impacted by a
project. Right of way professionals must bring their softer skillsets to those
transactions to minimize the stress and anxiety that comes with a move.
The 91 Project required the relocation of 55 senior citizen residences in a
mobile home park. The right of way team developed an implementation plan
identifying key social services partners, best practices for outreach and goals
for ensuring the transitions were conducted with compassion and empathy.
While we succeeded in getting the process completed on time, our most
important accomplishment was the respect we demonstrated in working with
elderly and disabled residents and their families.
ght of way
sively as a