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AGO 1952 No. 307 - May 15, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

STATUS OF ROADS REFERRED TO IN A PLAT ACCEPTED BY THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

When the county commissioners by appropriate action approve a proposed plat without reservation concerning the roads designated therein, those roads become county roads.

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                                                                   May 15, 1952

Honorable Richard A. Perry
Prosecuting Attorney
Ferry County
Republic, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 307

Dear Sir:

            You have requested an opinion from this office as to whether roads referred to by dedication in plats, accepted by the county commissioners, become county roads when the plat is accepted.

            Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

            When the county commissioners by appropriate action approve a proposed plat without reservation concerning the roads designated therein, those roads become county roads.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 2, chapter 186, Laws of 1937 et. seq., as last amended by section 1, chapter 195, Laws of 1951, RCW 58.16.060, governs the platting, subdividing, or dedicating of lands.  Section 2 provides in part:

            "The city, town, or county authority shall inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by the establishment of the plat, subdivision,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] or dedication.  It shall see that appropriate provision is made in the plat or subdivision for streets and other public ways * * *."

            We assume in this particular instance that, as the county commissioners have approved the plat, they are acting as the appropriate county authority.

            When the land is platted or subdivided in accordance with controlling statutory procedure, the property lines, streets, alleys, etc. become fixed as a matter of law, so that one purchasing a lot or plat is entitled to rely upon the surveyed lines as set forth, and, among other things, the fact that the dedicator has dedicated for public use certain roads and streets.

            The status of such roads outside the limits of incorporated cities and towns is governed by the following statutory provisions.  Subsection (cc), section 1, chapter 53, Laws of 1937, RCW 36.75.010 (10) (counterpart), defines a public highway as:

            "Every way, lane, road, street, boulevard, and every way or place in the State of Washington open as a matter of right to public vehicular travel both inside and outside the limits of incorporated cities and towns."

            Subsection (i), RCW 47.04.010 (counterpart), defines a county road as:

            "Every public highway as herein defined, or part thereof, outside of the limits of incorporated cities and towns and which has not been designated as a primary state highway."

            Section 1, chapter 207, Laws of 1937, also provides in part (RCW 47.04.020):

            "All public highways in the State of Washington, or portions thereof, outside incorporated cities and towns, not established as primary state highways or secondary state highways, are hereby declared to be county roads."

            As a completed dedication will make the subject roads available to public vehicular travel as a matter of right, said roads would come within the definition of a public highway, supra, and, not being primary or secondary state highways outside of the limits of incorporated cities and towns, must necessarily then be county roads.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Therefore, in the instant situation, when a proposed plat has been submitted in compliance with the controlling statutory provision and when the county commissioners, by appropriate action, have approved the plat as presented, with no reservations being made with respect to the roads set forth therein, such action would constitute an acceptance by the commissioners of the dedication, and the roads referred to therein become county roads upon the plat being recorded.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

PAUL SINNITT
Assistant Attorney General

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