The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 013 : SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS; TAKING PROPERTY FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES(Cite as: 24 App. V.S.A. ch. 5, § 1302)
§ 5-1302. Procedure for taking property
(a) Highways and urban renewal. In taking land and other property for the purposes of laying out roads and highways, the City Council shall proceed in the same manner as is provided by law for municipalities in taking land for highways. In taking land and other property for the purposes of urban renewal, the Council shall proceed in the same manner as is provided by law for municipalities in taking land for urban renewal.
(b) Other public purposes.
(1) For all other purposes stated in section 1301 of this subchapter, when the City Council determines that interests in real estate are needed or when a municipality votes to purchase additional lands or interests therein, or when, in the exercise of any of the powers or functions authorized by general law or its chapter it becomes necessary for public use and benefit to take, damage, or affect an interest in real estate, and the owner refuses to release or convey the same to the City for a reasonable price, the City Council shall set out the necessary lands or interests therein and cause the same to be surveyed.
(2) The City Council shall appoint a time and place for hearing and give at least ten days' notice before such hearing to the persons evidencing a recorded interest therein either personally or by written notice left at the residence or place of business of such person. At such hearing, the Council shall determine the damages sustained by such interested persons.
(3) The damages agreed upon or assessed shall be paid or tendered to such persons before taking possession of the lands. Upon payment or tender of damages as determined by the Council, the City shall be entitled to take possession of such property.
(c) Notice to mortgagee and application of payment. When such lands are encumbered by mortgage, the City Council shall cause the same notice to be given to the mortgagee or assignee thereof as is required to be given to the owner, and the damages agreed upon or otherwise determined, as finally ascertained, shall be paid to the property owner and the mortgagee or assignee.
(d) Removal of improvements. When the City Council decides to take lands, in its order for that purpose, it shall fix a time and notify the owner or occupant thereof. Within such time the owner shall, if so ordered, remove his or her buildings, fences, wood, or trees, which, in the case of enclosed or improved lands, shall not, without the consent of the owner, be less than three months nor until compensation for damages to such lands is tendered or paid. If such obstructions are not removed within such time, the Council shall remove them at the expense of the City.
(e) Record of orders and proceedings. Orders and proceedings of the Council under the provisions of this section, with the survey of the lands taken, shall be recorded in the land records of the City or in the land records of the town in which such lands are located.
(f) Disagreement as to damages. When the owner of such land does not accept the damages awarded by the City Council, the Council and the owner may agree to refer the question of damages to one or more disinterested persons whose award shall be made in writing and shall be final.
(g) Petition; appointment of commissioners. When a person having an interest in such land is dissatisfied with the action of the Council in locating and setting it out or with the damages awarded therefor by them, such person may apply by petition to the Superior Court for the county in which such land lies within 60 days of the recording of the order of the City Council. The petition with a citation shall be served on the City Clerk as a writ of summons requiring entry to be made therein within 21 days from the date of service. The court shall appoint three disinterested commissioners who shall inquire into the amount of damages sustained by the persons interested therein.
(h) Notice, hearing, report, costs. The commissioners shall give the City Clerk and the petitioners six days' notice of the time and place of the hearing. When they have completed their inquiries, they shall report to the court. Upon hearing, the court may accept or reject the report, in whole or in part, may make such orders as are necessary for locating and setting out such land and for the removal of obstructions thereon, may render judgment for the petitioners for such damages as they have severally sustained, may tax costs for either party, and may award execution in the premises.
(i) Title to vest payment of damages. When the damages finally awarded are paid to the person entitled thereto, title to such lands or the right to damage or affect lands shall vest in the City.
(j) Definitions. As used in this chapter:
(1) "Necessity" means a reasonable need which considers the greatest public good and the least inconvenience and expense to the condemning party and to the property owner. Necessity shall not be measured merely by expense or convenience to the condemning party. Necessity includes a reasonable need for the project in general as well as a reasonable need to take a particular property and to take it to the extent proposed. In determining necessity, consideration shall be given to the:
(A) adequacy of other property and locations;
(B) quantity, kind, and extent of cultivated and agricultural land which may be taken or rendered unfit for use, immediately and over the long term, by the proposed taking;
(C) effect upon home and homestead rights and the convenience of the owner of the land;
(D) need to accommodate present and future utility installations within the improvement area;
(E) need to mitigate the environmental impacts of the improvements; and
(F) effect upon grand lists and revenues.
(2) Damages resulting from the taking or use of property under the provisions of this chapter shall be the value for the most reasonable use of the property or right in the property, and of the business on the property, and the direct and proximate decrease in the value of the remaining property or right in the property and the business on the property. The added value, if any, to the remaining property or right in the property which accrues directly to the owner of the property as a result of the taking or use, as distinguished from the general public benefit, shall be considered in the determination of damages.
(3) "Interested person" or "person interested in lands" or "property owner" means a person who has a legal interest of record in the property taken or proposed to be taken. (Amended 2013, No. M-19 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 20, 2014.)