Property owners, adjacent to city streets or alleys, may request to "close" such areas and acquire them as additional land for their property. "Closing" a street or alley usually requires the requester to purchase the area to be closed. Developed/paved streets and alleys and undeveloped/paper streets and alleys can be closed. Often times it is the "paper" streets and alleys that property owners request to close. "Paper" streets and alleys exist on record but may not be developed or maintained by the City and appear as an extension of adjacent property. Closing a street or alley requires all interested parties to purchase the area to be closed at a price set by the City, unless otherwise specified by city code.
[96KB] General Procedures
All applications must be submitted to the Department of Planning & Community Development at City Hall located at 409 South Main Street. Complete applications shall include:
- A written statement from the applicant giving the reason for the desired street closure, along with a summary concerning the scope of the request.
- A location sketch of the street/alley to be closed. The sketch shall include all adjoining alleys and streets, in addition to showing what adjoining properties will receive from the closed street or alley areas.
- The estimate cost per square foot to purchase the street/alley. This information may be obtained by the applicant from the Real Estate Office.
- $50.00 fee (cash or check payable to: "City of Harrisonburg").
1. Applicant Discusses Proposal with Planning staff
While not required, the applicant is encouraged to schedule a meeting with Community Development’s Planning staff to discuss by phone or in-person the proposed street or alley closing request prior to submitting an application. Staff will conduct preliminary research on public alleys to advise the applicant if there are potential issues to obtaining ownership of the alley.
2. Applicant Obtains Cost Estimate from the Real Estate Office
The applicant is responsible for contacting the City’s Real Estate Office for an estimated cost per square foot to purchase the street/alley. The Real Estate Office may either complete the applicable section within the applicant form or can provide an e-mail/letter to attach.
3. Applicant Completes and Submits Application
Applicant submits application to the Department of Community Development with $50.00 fee (check payable to: "City of Harrisonburg"). Application is available at the top of this page.
- Application requires Real Estate Office to complete one section, or to provide e-mail/letter.
- Application deadlines follow Planning Commission dates, https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/planning-zoning
4. Staff Review
City departments review application, and Community Development staff sends comments to applicant. A follow up meeting is optional.
5. Planning Commission
Planning Commission reviews and offers recommendation to City Council. The applicant or representative is encouraged to be present at the meeting to address any questions that may arise.
6. City Council 1st Reading
The City Clerk sends letters notifying applicant and surrounding property owners of the public hearing date and time, sends public hearing advertisement to the Daily-News Record, and also posts the advertisement on the City's webpage, https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/public-hearings. The applicant will be responsible for the cost of advertisements (estimated total cost is $500).
City Council holds a public hearing and makes a decision on the application. The applicant or representative is encouraged to be present at the meeting to address any questions that may arise.
7. Following City Council 1st Reading and Action
The City Clerk sends letters to adjacent property owners with estimated cost to purchase the street/alley. The adjoining property owners will have 60-days from the date of the letter to notify the City of their interest to purchase half of the street/alley.
After 60-days, the City Clerk contacts the applicant to inform them of whether the adjoining property owner(s) want to purchase half of the street/alley and reminds the applicant that they need to submit an official survey to Community Development for review.
8. Applicant submits Plat/Survey
Applicant submits plat/survey to Department of Community Development.
9. Ordinance Drafted and Price Set
City staff drafts ordinance and sets official pricing for the street/alley. The City Clerk sends letter requesting payment for property from all parties involved. All parties have 60-days to pay.
10. City Council 2nd Reading
City Council takes final action. It is not necessary for the applicant to attend this meeting.
11. Final Signatures/Approvals
The City Clerk sends copies of the recorded ordinance, etc. to the applicant (and adjoining property owners, if necessary).