Abandonment of Patent Easements


A Federal Patent Easement is an easement that was created pursuant to the Small Tract Act of 1938. Arizona Revised Statutes, A.R.S. §11-251.16 authorizes the County to abandon Federal Patent Easements. Maricopa County adopted Ordinance P-34 (PDF) which establishes the procedures and guidelines for abandonment of these easements. Abandonment of easements on any property will result in relinquishing the legal right of the public or utilities access across the portion of the easement abandoned.

Abandonment of a Federal Patent Easement does not abandon a road right-of-way dedicated or conveyed to Maricopa County that may exist in addition to a Federal Patent Easement or any private ingress/egress easement.

Applicant Obligation

A person who files a Patent Easement abandonment application must be the current owner of the property upon which the abandonment is sought. The application must be complete and all documentation required in the application must be submitted with the application.

The applicant is required to demonstrate at a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors that the Patent Easement is not being used by the public, including utility services and emergency vehicles.

Disqualifying Conditions 

There are certain conditions that will cause an application to abandon to be rejected. These conditions are identified in Section 5 of Maricopa County Ordinance P-34, Items "a" through "f" (PDF).

Application Procedure 

Applicants are encouraged to consider carefully the requirements, restrictions and procedure before initiating a request for abandonment of a Patent Easement. If the decision is to proceed, the application process is a two-step procedure.

Step 1. Initial Determination Request 

Download and complete the Initial Determination Request form (PDF).

Note: Any person can request this Initial Determination. You are not required to be the current owner of the property.

Bring the completed form and a $250 non-refundable review fee* to MCDOT

2901 West Durango Street
Phoenix, AZ 85009

A written Initial Determination will be provided to the requestor.

Step 2. Abandonment Application 

If, after receiving and considering the Initial Determination from MCDOT, the requestor chooses to proceed with the abandonment process then:

  • Download and complete the Patent Easement Abandonment Application (PDF).
    Note: You must be the current owner of the property to file an Abandonment Application.
  • Bring the completed application, all required documentation, and the non-refundable application fee ‡ to MCDOT.
  • A report will be prepared based on comments from the review panel and posted to the MCDOT website. Links to reports associated with Patent Easement Abandonments currently under review are shown below.
  • A link to the report and all supporting documentation for Patent Easement Abandonment currently under review will be provided directly to the requestor.
  • The requestor will receive a letter, by certified mail, stating the date, time, and place of the hearing. You may also visit the Board Meetings, Agendas, and Minutes page for a listing of all upcoming Board meetings.

Note: *Make checks payable to: Maricopa County Department of Transportation

‡ If you submit the application within six months of receiving the Initial Determination, the fee paid for the Initial Determination will be credited against the $1,600 fee. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Active Patent Easement Abandonments