Dedication Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Dedication, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Dedication?

n. The gift of land to an entity or government by a private person under the condition that the land be used for real estate development. Before the development is complete, the public body must accept the dedication. Dedicated streets which were never officially accepted, that do not belong to anyone. Consequently, adjoining property owners can sue for title of the unowned property through a quiet title action or request government abandonment.

History and Meaning of Dedication

Dedication, in the legal sense, is an act of a private landowner gifting a piece of land to a government entity or institution with the requirement that it is used specifically for real estate development. This process means that the land is no longer owned by the private landowner, and therefore the gift is considered a form of donation. Before the development of the land can commence, the government body or institution must accept the dedication.

Examples of Dedication

  1. A public park that was donated by a private party came with the condition that it could only be used as a recreational area and had to be accepted by the local government before public use was allowed.
  2. A developer offers to donate a piece of land to the city to create a new road that connects to the highway with the condition that the city accept the dedication before development can commence.
  3. A wealthy individual donates a tract of land to a university with the requirement that the facility expands its science program to further research in the field.

Legal Terms Similar to Dedication

  1. Eminent Domain: The government's right to expropriate private land for public use, provided the owner is compensated fairly.
  2. Zoning: The act of dividing land into specific zones to determine the allowable use and to ensure that the development meets the city's standards and regulations.
  3. Condemnation: The process of government taking possession of a private property after following due legal process and in "public interest."