More Property, Please.
When a subdivision is created and a plat or map for that subdivision is filed with the respective government agency, the plat or map will generally indicate the location of alleys, streets, roads, and highways. The plat or map usually contains a dedication identifying the entity responsible for ownership and maintenance of the dedicated area. However, what happens to the dedicated area when it has been abandoned by the entity or the entity records documentation vacating its interest in the dedicated area?
Pursuant to Florida Statutes § 336.09, when the property is under the county commissioners’ control, they may “[v]acate, abandon, discontinue and close any existing public or private street, alleyway, road, highway, or other place used for travel, or any portion thereof, other than a state or federal highway,” and “renounce and disclaim any right of the county and the public in and to any land in connection therewith.” Fla. Stat. § 336.09(1)(a) (2017). The commissioners can make the determination to relinquish claim to the property upon “their own motion, or upon the request of any agency of the state, or of the federal government, or upon petition of any person or persons.” Fla. Stat. § 336.09(1) (2017).
After the motion, request, or petition is submitted, the commissioner “may adopt a resolution declaring that at a definite time and place a public hearing will be held to consider the advisability of exercising the authority granted” by the section. Fla. Stat. § 336.09(2) (2017). Once the commissioner makes a determination, a resolution granting or denying the request is generally entered, but the resolution may not be recorded. If the document is not recorded, then a copy may be obtained from the commissioner’s office.
The resolution or the dedication on the plat or map may identify the subsequent owner of the interest in the dedicated area. However, “[w]here there is no specific dedication of streets on a plat or where the dedication is silent as to the reversionary interest after vacation of the streets, the general rule is that the owners of lots abutting the streets take title.” Title Note 24.01.03; see also TitleNote 24.01.08; Fla. Stat. § 336.12 (2017).
The county’s property appraiser will generally include the additional property in the legal description for the abutting lots of the vacated, closed, or abandoned area. The area is usually split equally among the abutting lots. When the mortgagee has a mortgage lien on the property, the legal description in the foreclosure action should include the additional property.