Tax-Forfeit Easements

All Minnesota counties have the authority to convey a road easement across unsold tax-forfeited lands to gain legal access to private property. Becker County strongly encourages applicants to check with the County Planning and Zoning Office prior to making application for easement.

Minnesota Statute 282.04

Subd. 4a. Private Easements.

(a) A county board may convey a road easement across unsold tax-forfeited land to an individual or a private entity requesting an easement for access to private property owned by the individual or private entity if:

(1) there are no reasonable alternatives to obtain access to the individual's or private entity's property; and

(2) exercising the easement will not cause significant adverse environmental or natural resource management impacts.

(b) The county auditor shall require an individual or a private entity applying for an easement under paragraph (a) to pay the appraised value of the easement. The conveyance must provide that the easement reverts to the state in trust for the taxing district in the event of nonuse.

Becker County policy is as follows:

The easement first must be offered to the Township in which the easement would be located. This gives the Township the opportunity to obtain a public easement for their use. If any part of the legal access follows an unrecorded township road, the township will have to sponsor that portion of the easement and a survey will be required.

Print and fill out the Public Easement Application & Instructions. Contact your township clerk [Township Official List] and request your easement to be reviewed at the next Township Board meeting [Township/City Meeting Dates].

If the public easement is approved at the Township Board meeting, The Township will bring to the County a copy of the written motion or board minutes approving the public easement, the completed application and all supporting documents, and a check from the township in the amount of $346.00.

If the public easement is denied at the Township Board meeting, Bring to the County a copy of the written motion or board minutes denying the public easement and their approval to allow you to apply for a private easement. Print and fill out the Private Easement Application & Instructions and return along with all the supporting documentation and a check for $346.00.

The Natural Resource Department and Auditor-Treasurer's Offices will review the application and research the parcel(s) history and assess the location of the proposed easement on the ground. The Easement application will be presented at the next monthly Natural Resource Management Committee Meeting and next County Board of Commissioner's Meeting.

If approved, the County will determine if a survey is needed and adjust the route if there isn't an existing trail/road. Timber volumes will be obtained if necessary. The costs of the survey and timber value will be charged to easement applicant. After the survey is complete and the costs are paid the certificate of survey will be given to the Attorney's office who will draft the easement which will be recorded when complete.