Code of Virginia - Title 62.1 Waters Of The State, Ports And Harbors - Section 62.1-98 Right of eminent domain of public service corporations

§ 62.1-98. Right of eminent domain of public service corporations

In addition to any right or power of eminent domain that it may have under existing law, every public service corporation engaged in the development of waterpower in this Commonwealth for the production, sale and supply of hydroelectric power and energy to the public shall be vested with the right of eminent domain to the full extent requisite for the acquisition of all lands, property and rights necessary for the purpose of the construction, enlargement, maintenance or operation of any dam, reservoir, power station and/or other structures of any such water-power development, subject to the following provisions:

(a) Such corporation may, by the exercise of such right for such purpose, acquire all necessary lands, property and rights of whatsoever nature, whether or not such lands, property or rights have been theretofore appropriated or devoted, or sought to be appropriated or devoted to public use, including but not restricted to, the lands, property and rights necessary for any storage, diversion, regulation, detention, or interference with the flow of any water and for any waterway and including also, but not restricted to, any lands, structures, property or rights owned, used or held by or for public or private, religious, charitable, educational or cemetery purposes; any dwelling houses and any public or private roads and bridges, and any other property, public or private, when necessary for such purpose; provided, however, that the right of eminent domain under this section shall not be available against existing public-carrier railroads; and provided further that, in the event of the condemnation under this chapter of any roads or bridges, the jurors in assessing the compensation and damages therefor, shall consider the cost of relocating and constructing such roads or bridges upon other reasonable convenient locations, and the damage, if any, to persons and corporations because of relocation and construction. No such corporation shall impair the drinking water supply of any city or town or acquire any municipal electric light and power or water plant by virtue of any additional powers conferred by this chapter; provided further that the provisions of this section shall not be construed to authorize the acquisition by condemnation or otherwise of any streets or alleys or portions thereof in incorporated cities or towns.

(b) When, in the operation of any dam, power station or other structure of a water-power development, any such public service corporation interferes, to an extent beyond its common-law riparian rights, with the flow of water downstream from such structure and by reason of such interference any property or riparian right, or any part thereof or interest therein, is destroyed or damaged, such corporation may exercise the right of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring such property, right or interest so destroyed or of ascertaining and paying just compensation for any such damage.

(c) In connection with the exercise of the right of eminent domain over public and private cemeteries, such corporation shall also have the right to acquire by condemnation proceedings other lands to which to remove the bodies and monuments or other structures from such public or private cemeteries. All the rights of the owners, including the Commonwealth, in and to the lands in such cemeteries shall pass to and vest in such corporation and the title to the lands acquired for the removal of such cemeteries shall vest in the former owners and such others as may have rights therein of such cemeteries so removed. However, before such corporation may flood or otherwise utilize any such cemetery, it shall remove the bodies and monuments or other structures to the lands acquired for such purpose and reinter the bodies and reset the monuments, under the direction and to the satisfaction of the court in which such condemnation proceedings are brought. If the parties in interest fail to agree as to the location and area of the additional lands to be acquired in which to reinter the bodies and on which to rest the monuments and other structures, the same shall be determined by the court.

(d) For the purpose of relocating any railway, pipeline, wire line, road or bridge occupying the area on which any such water-power development or enlargement thereof is to be located, such corporation may acquire by the exercise of the right of eminent domain, any needful additional lands or other property, whether within or without the area upon such water-power development or enlargement thereof is to be located, and shall have the right for such purpose and shall convey such lands or other property or rights to the owner of such railway, pipeline, wire line, road or bridge.

(e) In all cases of the exercise of such right of eminent domain just compensation shall be paid to the owners and tenants of the property taken or damaged, in the manner provided by law for all property taken or damaged. The proceedings for this purpose shall be in accordance with Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1 and other provisions of law. As to any part of the real estate sought to be taken for any of the purposes authorized in this chapter, such corporation may describe in its application for condemnation an estate or interest therein of a fee or less than a fee and, upon payment therefor, such estate or interest as is stated and described in such application shall vest in such corporation; but when less than a fee is taken, the jurors in assessing damages shall take into consideration the actual damage that is done or that may be done to the fee by such taking, including the use to which the property so taken will be put by such corporation. However, nothing contained in § 62.1-97 shall deprive any owner of property of any right to receive just compensation and damages as provided by law, upon the exercise of the right of eminent domain by any licensee under this chapter.

(f) Any public service corporation that shall exercise any of the additional powers of eminent domain granted in this chapter and not existing under the law in effect January 1, 1928, shall thereby be conclusively deemed to have agreed, as a condition precedent to the exercise of such powers, to be bound by all of the provisions of this chapter.

(Code 1950, § 62-87; 1968, c. 659; 2003, c. 940; 2006, c. 586.)

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Last modified: April 16, 2009