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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 19 : Highways


(Cite as: 19 V.S.A. § 505)
  • § 505. Hearing on proposed taking; judgment; appeal and stay

    (a) Hearing.

    (1) If a timely answer is filed denying the necessity of a taking or the public purpose of the project, the court shall schedule a final hearing to determine the contested issues, which shall be held within 90 days of expiration of the deadline for filing an answer by the last interested person served. Absent good cause shown, the final hearing date shall not be postponed beyond the 90-day period.

    (2) At the hearing, the Agency shall present evidence on any contested issue.

    (3)(A) The court shall presume that the Agency's determination of the necessity for and public purpose of a project is correct, unless a party demonstrates bad faith or abuse of discretion on the part of the Agency.

    (B) The court shall review de novo the Agency's determination of the need to take a particular property and to take it to the extent proposed.

    (b) Discovery. Absent a showing of unfair prejudice, the right to discovery on the issues of necessity and public purpose shall be limited to the plans, surveys, studies, reports, data, decisions, and analyses relating to approving and designing the highway project.

    (c) Judgment. If the court finds a proposed taking lawful, it shall issue a judgment of condemnation describing the property authorized to be taken, declaring the right of the Agency to take the property by eminent domain, and declaring that title to the property will be transferred to the Agency after the Agency, in accordance with section 506 of this chapter, has recorded the judgment, tendered or deposited payment, and notified the owner of the recording and payment. The court may in its judgment modify the extent of a proposed taking.

    (d) Litigation expenses.

    (1) If the court finds a proposed taking to be unlawful, or if the Agency abandons the condemnation proceeding other than under a settlement, the court shall dismiss the complaint and award the property owner his or her costs and reasonable litigation expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees actually incurred because of the proceeding.

    (2) If the court issues a judgment of condemnation that substantially reduces the scope of the Agency's proposed taking, the court shall award the property owner a share of his or her costs and reasonable litigation expenses that is proportional to the reduction in the proposed taking.

    (e) Appeal, stay. A judgment of condemnation may be appealed or stayed as a final judgment for possession of real estate under the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure. A judgment that the Agency cannot acquire the property by condemnation likewise may be appealed. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. May 29, 2000; 2011, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)