The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 3211. Determination of necessity
(a) After completion of such survey, the municipality shall petition a Superior Court judge, setting forth therein that it proposes to take certain land or rights therein and describing such lands or rights, and the survey shall be annexed to the petition and made a part thereof. The petition shall set forth the purposes for which the land or rights are desired, and shall contain a request that the judge fix a time and place when the judge, or some other Superior Court judge, will hear all parties concerned and determine whether such taking is necessary.
(b) The Superior Court judge to whom the petition is presented shall fix the time for hearing, which shall not be more than 60 nor less than 40 days from the date the judge signs such order. Likewise, the judge shall fix the place for hearing, which shall be the county courthouse or any other place within the county in which the land in question is located. If the Superior Court judge to whom the petition is presented cannot hear the petition at the time set therefor, the judge shall call upon the administrative judge to assign another Superior Court judge to hear the cause at the time and place assigned in the order.
(c) Notice of hearing on the petition, which shall include the name of the city, town, or village in which the lands to be taken or affected are located, the names of the persons having an interest in the lands, a brief statement identifying the urban renewal projects contemplated including its location, and the date, time, and place of hearing shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the city, town, or village in which the lands lie, once a week for three consecutive weeks on the same day of the week, the last publication to be not less than five days before the hearing date, and a complete copy of the original petition, together with a copy of the court's order fixing the time and place of hearing, and a copy of the survey shall be placed on file in the clerk's office of the city, town, or village in which the land included in the survey lies. A copy of the petition, together with the court's order fixing the time and place of hearing, shall be served upon each person owning or having an interest in land to be purchased or condemned like a summons by an officer authorized to make service of process under Vermont statutes and residing in the county in which the petition is to be served, or, on absent defendants in such manner as the Supreme Court may by rule provide for service of process in civil actions. If the service on any defendant is impossible, upon affidavit of the sheriff, deputy sheriff, or constable attempting service, stating that the location of the defendant within or without the State is unknown and that he or she has no known agent or attorney in the State of Vermont upon which service may be made, and upon affidavit of an officer of the municipality that diligent inquiry has been made to find the location of the defendant, the publication herein provided shall be considered sufficient service on the defendant. Petitions shall be returnable to the court on the tenth day next preceding the date set for hearing thereon. Compliance with the provisions hereof shall constitute sufficient service upon and notice to any persons owning or having any interest in the land proposed to be taken or affected.
(d) At the time and place appointed for the hearing, the court consisting of the Superior Court judge signing the order or such other Superior Court judge as may be assigned and the two assistant judges of the county in which the hearing is held shall hear all persons interested and wishing to be heard. If any person owning or having an interest in the land to be taken or affected appears and objects to the necessity of taking the land included within the survey or any part thereof, then the court shall require the municipality to proceed with the introduction of evidence of the necessity of such taking. The court may cite in additional parties in its discretion, shall make findings of fact, and shall file the same. The court shall, by its order, determine whether the taking of such land and rights is necessary and may modify the proposed taking in such respects as the court may consider proper.
(e) An appeal may be taken to the Supreme Court by any party aggrieved in such manner as the Supreme Court may by rule provide for appeals from Superior Courts. If an appeal is taken, all proceedings shall be stayed until final disposition of the appeal. If no appeal is taken within the time provided for or, if appeal is taken, upon final disposition thereof, a copy of the order of the court shall be placed on file in the office of the clerk of the city, town, or village where the urban renewal project is located and within a period of two years from the final order the municipality may institute proceedings for the condemnation of the land included in the survey as finally approved by the court without further hearing or consideration of the question of the necessity of such taking.
(f) In considering the issue of necessity, the Superior Court and assistant judges shall, to the extent constitutionally permitted, give effect to the legislative determinations made in this chapter and to the determinations made by the voters and appropriate municipal authorities under this chapter. The court shall not give weight to a projected increase in economic value of the subject property solely or primarily because its condition and value for tax purposes are less than the condition and value projected as the result of the implementation of any State, municipal, or private redevelopment plan. (Added 1964, No. 9 (Sp. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 5, 1964; amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 201, eff. March 29, 1972; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 2005, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)