City of Poulsbo acquires first rights of way for Johnson Parkway project

The City of Poulsbo took another step forward with the Johnson Parkway project by approving the right of way acquisitions for portions of two properties on the south end of the project corridor.

The total project is referred to by the city as the Noll Road Corridor Project as it connects SR 305 to Lincoln Road via Noll Road, Languanet Lane, and Maranthana Lane and includes a roundabout at the intersection of Johnson Road and SR 305, which will become Johnson Parkway. This project has been in the planning stages since 1992 and is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of actual construction later this spring.

“This project will be constructed in three phases, we are currently in phase one on the south segment,” City Engineer Diana Lenius said.

The city will be acquiring approximately 34 partial parcels of property along the route. To date, it has acquired a total of 14, with these last two being the final property acquisitions for this first phase.

For $75,850 the city acquired four-tenths of an acre of property belonging to Nancy Erstad and for $165,000 it acquired one acre of property belonging to the estate of the late Vickie Arness.

“The largest parcel acquisitions have been on the Johnson Parkway project, which totaled more than 9 acres of right of way and easements,” Lenius said. “The Johnson Parkway SR 305 Roundabout acquisitions comprise more than 80 percent of the total acreage that will be purchased for the corridor. Less than 2 acres of smaller strip acquisitions remain to be completed along the roadway for the north and middle segments,” she added.

The only difficulties with these two parcels were maintaining access to the driveway.

“The Erstad parcel shoots right out onto SR 305. We had to re-route the driveway through the Ekelman parcel,” Lenius said. “We had to coordinate on a driveway that would be acceptable to both parties,” she added.

The funding for this portion of the project came from a $1.42 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

“This drives some stringent requirements, in terms of how we pursue and acquire right of way, which is tightly controlled by the Uniform Act,” Lenius said.

The “Uniform Act” was enacted by Congress in 1970 to ensure property owners and tenants are treated fairly, equitably and receive relocation assistance when federally funded programs require the acquisition of private property and could potentially displace people from their homes, businesses or farms.

“The Uniform Act provides important protections and assistance for people affected by federally-funded projects government-wide. Providing guidance and assistance to federal government agencies, the U.S. Department of Transportation was named as the federal lead agency for the Uniform Act, a role filled by FHWA’s Office of Real Estate Services,” according to the FHWA website.

The city’s role in all of this is to really support the technical team and the communication of information while all the negotiations are done through a certified Right of Way Agent, Lenius explained. The Right of Way agent also determines the appropriate compensation for the property owners.

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