The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 504. Complaint; service; answer
(a) Verified complaint. If a property owner has not entered into an agreement stipulating to the necessity of a taking and the public purpose of a highway project, and the Agency wishes to proceed with the taking, the Agency shall file a verified complaint in the Civil Division of the Superior Court in a county where the project is located seeking a judgment of condemnation. The complaint shall name as defendants each property owner who has not stipulated to a proposed taking, and shall include:
(1) Statements that the Agency has complied with subsection 503(d) of this chapter.
(2) The Agency's written determination of necessity.
(3) A general description of the negotiations undertaken.
(4) A survey of the proposed project, and legal descriptions of the property and of the interests therein proposed to be taken. As used in this subdivision, "survey" means a plan, profile, or cross section of the proposed project. The survey and legal descriptions served upon the property owner only need to include the particular property or properties at issue.
(b) Service and notice.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Agency shall serve the complaint and summons in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and section 519 of this chapter.
(2) The Agency shall publish a notice of the complaint, the substance of the summons, and a description of the project and of the lands to be taken in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipalities where the project is located, once a week on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks. The Agency shall mail a copy of the newspaper notice to the last known address of an interested person not otherwise served, if any address is known. Upon affidavit by the Secretary that diligent inquiry has been made to find all interested persons and, if applicable, that service on a known interested person cannot with due diligence be made in or outside the State by another method prescribed in Rule 4 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, the newspaper publication shall be deemed sufficient service on all unknown interested persons and all known interested persons who cannot otherwise be served. Service by newspaper publication is complete the day after the third publication.
(3) Unless otherwise served under subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Agency shall mail a copy of the complaint to the clerk, legislative body, and board of listers of each municipality in which land is proposed to be taken. The clerk with responsibility over the land records shall record the copy of the complaint (including the survey), and shall enter the names of the property owners named in the complaint in the general index of transactions affecting the title to real estate.
(c) Necessity, public purpose; default. If an interested person does not file a timely answer denying the necessity of a taking or the public purpose of the project, the Court may enter a judgment of condemnation by default. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1993, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2011, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2019, No. 59, § 22.)