40:66A-31.4a. Condemnation; declaration of taking; deposit in court; vesting title; transfer of possession; service of notice of filing; determination of compensation
On or after the institution of an action by a county for condemnation of property and to fix the compensation to be paid for such property, pursuant to the act to which this act is a supplement, the county may file with the Clerk of the Superior Court a declaration of taking, signed by the duly authorized county official, declaring that all or any part of such property described in the petition is being taken by and for the use of the county. The declaration of taking shall set forth (1) a description of such tract or parcel of property to be taken, to which there may be attached a plan or map thereof; (2) a statement of the estate or interest in the said property being taken; and (3) a statement of the sum of money estimated by the county to be just compensation for the property taken, which sum shall not be less than the last assessed valuation for tax purposes of the estate or interest in the property to be taken.
Upon the filing of the aforesaid declaration of taking and the deposit in court to the use of the persons entitled thereto, of the sum of money estimated by the county to be just compensation for the property taken as stated above, title to the property described as being taken by said declaration shall vest in the county (free from the right, title, interest or lien of all persons), and said property shall be deemed to be condemned and taken for the use of the county and the right to just compensation for the same shall vest in the persons entitled thereto.
Upon the filing of the declaration of taking and the making of the deposit as aforesaid, the court shall designate a day not exceeding 90 days after such filing, except for good cause shown, on which persons in possession shall be required to surrender possession to the county.
Upon the expiration of the period designated by the court as herein provided, the county, without other process or proceedings shall be entitled to the exclusive possession and use of each tract or parcel of property described in the declaration and may forthwith enter into and take possession of said property, it being the intent of this provision that the action to fix the compensation to be paid or any other proceeding relating to the taking of such property or entering therein shall not delay the taking of possession and the use thereof by the county for purposes authorized by the act to which this act is a supplement. The county shall not abandon any condemnation proceeding pursuant to this act subsequent to the date upon which it has taken possession of the property as herein provided.
The county shall cause notice of the filing of said declaration of taking and the making of said deposit to be served upon each party to the action to fix the compensation to be paid, who resides in this State, either personally or by leaving a copy thereof at his dwelling house or usual place of abode, and upon each such party who resides out of the State by mailing notice thereof to him at his usual place of abode if known. In the event that the usual place of abode of any such party or the name of such party is unknown, such notice shall be published at least once in a newspaper published or circulating in the county in which the property is located. Such service, mailing or publishing, shall be made within 30 days after the filing of the declaration.
Any party in interest after notice to other parties in interest, including the county, may make application to a judge of the Superior Court who may order that the money deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court, or any part thereof, be paid forthwith to the person or persons entitled thereto for or on account of the just compensation to be awarded in said proceeding; provided, that each such person shall have filed with Clerk of the Superior Court a consent in writing and such security as may be required by the court that, in the event the award in the condemnation proceeding shall be less than the amount deposited, the court, after notice and hearing as herein provided, may determine the liability, if any, for the return of such difference or any part thereof and enter judgment therefor.
The ultimate amount of compensation shall be determined pursuant to the Eminent Domain Act of 1971, P.L.1971, c. 361 (C. 20:3-1 et seq.). If the amount so fixed shall exceed the amount so deposited in court by the county or otherwise paid to the persons entitled thereto, the court shall enter judgment against the county in the amount of such deficiency, together with interest at the legal rate on such deficiency from the date of the vesting of title to the date of the entry of the final judgment (subject, however, to abatement for use, income, rents or profits derived from such property by the owner thereof subsequent to the vesting of title in the county), and the court shall order the county to deposit the amount of such deficiency in court. The money deposited into court by a county shall be secured in such manner as may be directed by the court and shall be disbursed according to the order or judgment of the court to the persons found to be entitled thereto by the final award or judgment of the court. In case the amount deposited in court by the county as the estimated compensation for the property shall exceed the amount of the award or judgment, such excess shall be returned to the county unless the amount of the deposit or any part thereof shall have been distributed as aforesaid, in which event, the court, on petition of the county and notice to all persons interested in the award and affording them an opportunity to be heard, shall enter judgment in favor of the county for such difference against the party or parties liable for the return thereof. The county shall cause notice of the date, fixed for such hearing, to be served upon each party thereto residing in this State in accordance with the requirements of the laws of this State relating to service of process. In the event that the residence of any party or the name of any party is unknown, such notice shall be published at least once in a newspaper published or circulating in the county. Such service, mailing or publication, shall be made at least 10 days before the date fixed for such hearing.
L.1977, c. 319, s. 1, eff. Jan. 10, 1978.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016