In acquiring land for public projects, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) sometimes accrues land that may later be disposed of as surplus property. Persons interested in purchase or lease of a specific property may submit an Excess Land Request Form (pdf)
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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about land for sale or lease.
Q. How does NJDOT land or property become surplus?
A. NJDOT-owned property is considered surplus only after it has been declared as such by the Commissioner of Transportation. This is a result of an internal review that determines that the property no longer serves a transportation purpose.
Q. Are large tracts of surplus land available?
A. Rarely. Most excess land declared as surplus property consists of small parcels. Occasionally NJDOT accrues large tracts of excess land but these are often landlocked.
Q.Does the NJDOT have a list of land available for sale or lease?
A. No. The NJDOT does not currently have a list of all the land and property owned that may be available for sale or lease. Land not currently used as a project may be needed in a future project, held for mitigation or storm water needs or for other purposes. Because other public uses may come up in the future, each individual request is evaluated to determine if there is a current or potential future need for this land. Properties that were declared surplus but not sold are reevaluated after a year before being offered to another potential buyer.
Q. How much does it cost to purchase or lease surplus property?
A. The purchase price or monthly lease rate is the fair market value. The fair market value may be based on the enhancement value that it contributes to the adjoining owner.
Q.How can I request information about the availability of NJDOT owned land that I think could be declared surplus?
A. Download and complete our Excess Land Request Form (pdf) and provide the information requested.
Q.What if there is no lot or block number?
A. Municipalities often merges NJDOT land into a right of way corridor that does not have block and lot designations In these cases the requestor should reference the adjoining property block and lot.
Q.Is an attorney needed to process a request?
A. No. The NJDOT does not require the requestor to have an attorney to inquire about or to complete a sale or lease.
Q.How long does it take for a request to be reviewed and concluded?
A. Assuming the requested property can be sold or leased, it generally takes up to one year from the time the request is received to the time the land is actually conveyed. In those instances where a property must be retained a decision is available sooner.
Q.How does the Department determine whether or not land owned by the NJDOT can be declared surplus property?
A. Once the Department receives a request, the following actions will occur:
- The Excess Land Request Form (pdf) is reviewed for required information.
- NJDOT verifies that there is no active project at this location.
- NJDOT verifies that it owns the land requested.
- A letter is sent to the requestor with a copy of the relevant General Property Parcel Map with a request to confirm that the areas marked by NJDOT match what the requestor is interested in buying/leasing.
- Once the requestor confirms the area in question, maps and related information will be circulated throughout the Department to determine if the land requested can be made available for sale or lease.
- If the requested land may be needed for current or future transportation needs, it will not be made available and the requestor will be notified.
- If the requested land is available for sale or lease, NJDOT must contact the municipality and the county where the requested property is located to determine if either entity is interested in acquiring the property for public use.
- In instances where NJDOT acquired the requested land less than 10 years ago, the previous owner will be contacted and provided the opportunity to repurchase the property at its current fair market value.
- If the property is still available at this point, a determination is made as to whether the property can be conveyed through a direct purchase to the requestor, or must be auctioned off.
- If the property can be sold or leased, the State House Commission must approve the sale or lease of state-owned property by private direct sale or auction, and under some circumstances approve the sale for public use.
Q.How does the Department determine whether a property is sold by Direct Sale or through an Auction?
A. After receiving approval from the State House Commission for sale or lease, the NJDOT offers excess parcels approved for sale through a Direct Sale to the requestor if there are no other interested purchasers and the property cannot be developed independently, or through an Auction if there is more than one potential purchaser or the property can be developed independently.
Q.How does Auction process work?
A. Auctions are held on an as needed basis at NJDOT headquarters at 1035 Parkway Avenue, Ewing. Sometimes relocatable buildings, furniture, fixtures and equipment are also for sale.
Prior to any auction, the requested property will be posted, advertisements will be taken out in two local newspapers and a copy of the notification posted with the town clerk in the municipality where the requested property is located.
The minimum bid at a public auction is based on NJDOT’s estimated value of the property. The price for a direct sale is also based upon the estimated value of the property.