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Indiana State Land Right-of-Way (3-IN-b)

In Indiana, a developer may need to obtain a State Land Easement from either the Indiana Department of Administration (“IDOA”), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (“IDNR”), or other appropriate agency in control of the land to construct transmission lines or develop a proposed project across state land. Though the processes are similar, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission (“INRC”), an autonomous board that addresses issues pertaining to IDNR, has created a separate policy and review process for granting easements on IDNR managed lands, due to issues inherent in those lands. IDNR Easement Policy Statement.


IDOA’s easement policy states that, “[l]ands owned by the State of Indiana are held for the benefit of all the people of Indiana.” IDNR’s easement policy states that, “[l]ands managed by [IDNR] are held for the benefit of all the people of Indiana. The lands were ordinarily purchased with public funds or obtained through donations from citizens whose explicit or implicit desire was to enhance public enjoyment and education.” Both policies state, “[t]he placement of easements makes land management more complex and more expensive. Facilities developed in association with easements reduce the natural, cultural, aesthetic, economic, and recreational values of these public lands. New or expanded easements are discouraged. Existing easements should be managed to minimize their adverse impacts.” IDOA Easement Policy Statement; IDNR Easement Policy Statement.


State Land Right-of-Way Process

3-IN-b.1 – What State Agency Lands Will the Project Cross?

The developer must obtain an easement from the appropriate Indiana agency whose lands the proposed project will cross. If the project crosses both IDOA and IDNR lands, the developer will need to obtain easements from both agencies. If the project does not cross state lands, no state agency easement is needed, and the developer should gain the appropriate rights from the private landowners.

3-IN-b.2 – Easement Request (IDOA)

If the proposed easement is across IDOA managed lands, the developer submits a request for a new easement to IDOA. If an easement already exists at the proposed project location, but the developer needs to expand the easement, the developer submits a request to expand the current easement to IDOA. In the request, the developer must provide information necessary for IDOA to fully evaluate the proposal. Such information may include:

  • Test results;
  • Natural or cultural resource reports;
  • Environmental assessments or environmental impact statements;
  • Fiscal analyses;
  • Real estate surveys;
  • Documents appropriate for recordation; and
  • Any other documentation the state deems necessary or appropriate for the type of easement sought.

IDOA Easement Policy Statement.

IDOA may authorize the developer to enter the proposed easement to conduct surveys or collect data in preparing the easement request. This right of entry may be limited by IDOA to minimize damage to natural resources and ensure public safety. A grant of a right of entry does not constitute or imply that IDOA approves the easement proposal. IDOA Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.3 to 3-IN-b.4 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

After receiving an easement request, IDOA reviews the request for technical and administrative completeness. If the request is lacking in sufficient information, IDOA requests the missing information from the developer.

3-IN-b.5 to 3-IN-b.6 – Provide Notice of Easement Request

3-IN-b.7 – Does IDOA Approve the Request?

After reviewing the request, IDOA staff makes a recommendation to IDOA general counsel and/or commissioner to either approve or deny the request. In determining whether to approve or deny the easement request, IDOA staff considers the following factors:

  • Whether legal restrictions apply to the site that would make granting an easement illegal or impracticable;
  • Whether resources might be particularly sensitive to disturbance;
  • Whether other reasonable alternatives exist for the placement of the easement;
  • Whether denial of the easement would result in an unusual hardship to the applicant (developer);
  • Whether the state would receive a benefit from development of the easement; and
  • Whether a legal obligation mandates IDOA to grant or modify an easement.

IDOA Easement Policy Statement.

If IDOA recommends approval, IDOA staff must include any conditions to accompany the easement. In determining conditions to accompany an easement, IDOA staff considers the following factors:

  • The best management practices to minimize the disturbance caused by any construction activities authorized by the easement. These practices consider natural, cultural, economic, and recreational benefits that are derived from the land;
  • The best management practices to minimize future disturbance caused by maintenance activities for any use authorized by the easement. These practices consider natural, cultural, economic, and recreational benefits that are reasonably foreseeable;
  • Whether all legal requirements are met before an easement is granted;
  • Whether all legal requirements are met with respect to the activity authorized by the easement;
  • Whether the easement is described with sufficient particularity so that the developer and state employees have a clear understanding of the easement’s application and limitations;
  • Whether an easement is written as narrowly as is practicable to serve its stated purpose:
    • With respect to time, the easement is not longer than required to serve the intended purpose. Generally, the term does not exceed 40 years;
    • With respect to space, the areas to be disturbed during construction activities are described in the easement to include no more than what is reasonably required for construction; and
    • With respect to beneficiaries, the state ordinarily grants an easement so as to prohibit the developer from transferring the easement to another, granting use of the easement to another, or burdening the easement with a purpose other than specified in the easement;
  • Whether the amount of consideration for the easement has been determined to reasonably assure the state receives fair market value;
  • Whether every reasonable effort has been made to place the new easement within an existing utility corridor; and
  • When there are particular legal requirements that must be met, whether these requirements have been met.

IDOA Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.8 – Easement (IDOA)

If IDOA approves the easement, it issues and easement for the proposed land to the developer. An easement fee is also assessed for the developer. The minimum easement fee is $500 although the fee does not apply if the sole beneficiary of the easement is the State of Indiana. The fee is generally determined in the following way:

Easement Width (Ft) Fee Rate Per Foot

  • 0-10: $2
  • 11-15: $3
  • 16-20: $4
  • 21-30: $6
  • 31-40: $8
  • 41-50: $10
  • 51-100: $20
  • 101+: $40

These fee rates may be reduced by 15% for each of the following conditions that are met:

  • The utility provides local service and the state is among those that are served;
  • The utility stays within an existing easement corridor or existing roadway berms;
  • The utility is not-for-profit and the line is for end-of-service distribution; or
  • The structures associated with the easement are buried.

Additional fees are assessed for utility cabinets. If the utility cabinet has a footprint of 400 square feet or less, the fee is $5,000. If the utility cabinet has a footprint exceeding 400 square feet, the fee is $5,000 plus an extra $10 per square foot exceeding 400 square feet.

IDOA Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.9 - Appeal Decision

After a determination is made by IDOA, those persons wishing to initiate an appeal must do so within fifteen (15) days after receiving notice of the decision. I.C. § 4-21.5-3-5(f). If a timely request is made, an administrative law judge conducts an adjudicative proceeding as soon as practicable. At the end of the appeal, IDOA makes a final determination on the proposed Easement.

3-IN-b.10– Easement Request (IDNR)

If the proposed easement is across IDNR managed lands, the developer submits a request for a new easement to IDNR. If an easement already exists at the proposed project location, but the developer needs to expand the easement, the developer submits a request to expand the current easement to IDNR. In the request, the developer must provide information required by IDNR to fully evaluate the proposal. Such information may include:

  • Test results;
  • Natural or cultural resource reports;
  • Environmental assessments or environmental impact statements;
  • Fiscal analyses;
  • Real estate surveys;
  • Documents appropriate for recordation; and
  • Any other documentation the state deems necessary or appropriate for the type of easement sought.

IDNR Easement Policy Statement.

IDNR may authorize the developer to enter the proposed easement to conduct surveys or collect data in preparing the easement request. This right of entry may be limited by IDNR to minimize damage to natural resources and ensure public safety. A grant of a right of entry does not constitute or imply that IDNR approves the easement proposal. IDNR Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.11 to 3-IN-b.12 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

After receiving an easement request, IDNR reviews the request for technical and administrative completeness. If the request is lacking in sufficient information, IDNR requests the missing information from the developer.

3-IN-b.13 to 3-IN-b.14 – Provide Notice of Easement Request

3-IN-b.15 – Does IDNR Approve the Request?

After reviewing the easement request, IDNR staff prepare a report for INRC to consider in either approving or denying the request. In determining whether to approve or deny the easement request, INRC considers the following factors:

  • Whether legal restrictions apply to the site that would make granting an easement illegal or impracticable;
  • Whether resources might be particularly sensitive to disturbance;
  • Whether other reasonable alternatives exist for the placement of the easement;
  • Whether denial of the easement would result in an unusual hardship to the applicant (developer);
  • Whether IDNR would receive a benefit from development of the easement; and
  • Whether a legal obligation mandates IDNR to grant or modify an easement.

IDNR Easement Policy Statement.

If IDNR recommends approval, the report prepared by IDNR staff must include any conditions to accompany the easement. In determining conditions to accompany an easement, IDNR staff considers the following factors:

  • The best management practices to minimize the disturbance caused by any construction activities authorized by the easement. These practices consider natural, cultural, economic, and recreational benefits that are derived from the land;
  • The best management practices to minimize future disturbance caused by maintenance activities for any use authorized by the easement. These practices consider natural, cultural, economic, and recreational benefits that are reasonably foreseeable;
  • Whether all legal requirements are met before an easement is granted;
  • Whether all legal requirements are met with respect to the activity authorized by the easement;
  • Whether the easement is described with sufficient particularity so that the developer and IDNR employees have a clear understanding of the easement’s application and limitations;
  • Whether an easement is written as narrowly as is practicable to serve its stated purpose:
    • With respect to time, the easement is not longer than required to serve the intended purpose. Generally, the term does not exceed 40 years;
    • With respect to space, the areas to be disturbed during construction activities are described in the easement to include no more than what is reasonably required for construction; and
    • With respect to beneficiaries, IDNR ordinarily grants an easement so as to prohibit the developer from transferring the easement to another, granting use of the easement to another, or burdening the easement with a purpose other than specified in the easement;
  • Whether the amount of consideration for the easement has been determined to reasonably assure the state receives fair market value;
  • Whether every reasonable effort has been made to place the new easement within an existing utility corridor; and
  • When there are particular legal requirements that must be met, whether these requirements have been met.

IDNR Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.16 – Easement (IDNR)

If IDNR approves the easement, it issues and easement for the proposed land to the developer. An easement fee is also assessed for the developer. The minimum easement fee is $500 although the fee does not apply if the sole beneficiary of the easement is the State of Indiana. The fee is generally determined in the following way:

Easement Width (Ft) Fee Rate Per Foot

  • 0-10: $2
  • 11-15: $3
  • 16-20: $4
  • 21-30: $6
  • 31-40: $8
  • 41-50: $10
  • 51-100: $20
  • 101+: $40

These fee rates may be reduced by 15% for each of the following conditions that are met:

  • The utility provides local service and the state is among those that are served;
  • The utility stays within an existing easement corridor or existing roadway berms;
  • The utility is not-for-profit and the line is for end-of-service distribution; or
  • The structures associated with the easement are buried.

Additional fees are assessed for utility cabinets. If the utility cabinet has a footprint of 400 square feet or less, the fee is $5,000. If the utility cabinet has a footprint exceeding 400 square feet, the fee is $5,000 plus an extra $10 per square foot exceeding 400 square feet.

IDNR Easement Policy Statement.

3-IN-b.17 - Appeal Decision

After a determination is made by IDNR, those persons seeking to initiate an appeal must do so within fifteen (15) days after receiving notice of the decision. I.C. § 4-21.5-3-5(f). If a timely request is made, an administrative law judge conducts an adjudicative proceeding as soon as practicable. IDNR is represented by counsel at this proceeding. At the end of the appeal, INRC makes a final determination on the proposed Easement.


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Contact Information









Edit Indiana Department of Administration
Assistant General Counsel (317) 234-8851


Edit Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Director Division of Land Acquisition (317) 234-3419