§ 35-8.1-8.3. Eminent domain proceedings.
The authority shall have the right to acquire any land, or any interest therein, by the exercise of the power of eminent domain, whenever it shall be determined by the authority that the acquisition of the land, or interest, is necessary for the construction or the operation of any project.
(1) The necessity for an acquisition shall be conclusively presumed upon the adoption by the authority of a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the land, or interest therein, described in the resolution is necessary for the construction or operation. Within six (6) months thereafter the authority shall cause to be filed in the land evidence records of the city or town in which the land is located, a copy of the resolution of the authority, together with a plat of the land, or interest therein described, and a statement, signed by the chairperson of the authority, that the lands, or interest therein, are taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Thereupon the authority shall file in the superior court in and for the county in which the land, or interest therein lies, a statement of the sum of money estimated by the authority to be just compensation for the land taken.
(2) Upon the filing of the copy of the resolution, plat, and statement in the land evidence records of the city or town, the filing in the superior court, of the statement, and the depositing in the superior court, to the use of the persons entitled thereto, of such sum as the court shall determine to be amply sufficient to satisfy the claims of all persons interested in the land (and the court may, in its discretion, take evidence on the question to determine the sum to be deposited), title to the land, or interest therein, shall vest in the authority in fee simple absolute and the authority thereupon may take possession of the land, or interest therein.
(3) No sum so paid into the court shall be charged with clerk's fees of any nature. After the filing of the copy, plat, and statement, notice of the taking of the land, or interest therein, shall be served upon the owners of and persons having an estate in and interested in the land by the sheriff or his or her deputies of the county in which the land, or interest therein, lies, leaving a true and attested copy of the description and statement with each of the persons personally, or at their last and usual place of abode in this state with some person living there, and in the case any of the persons are absent from this state and have no last and usual place of abode therein occupied by any person, the copy shall be left with the persons, if any, in charge of or having possession of the land, or interest therein, taken of the absent persons if the same are known to the officer; and after the filing of the resolution, plat, and statement, the secretary of the authority shall cause a copy of the resolution and statement to be published in some newspaper published or having general circulation in the county where the land, or interest therein, may be located, at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks. If any person shall agree with the authority for the price of the land, or interest therein, so taken, the court upon the application of the parties in interest, may order that the sum agreed upon be paid forthwith from the money deposited, as the just compensation to be awarded in the proceeding.
(4) Any owner of or persons entitled to any estate in or interested in any part of the land, or interest therein, so taken, who cannot agree with the authority for the price of the land, or interest therein, so taken in which he or she is interested as aforesaid, may, within three (3) months after personal notice of the taking, or, if he or she have no personal notice, may within one year from the first publication of the copy of the resolution and statement, apply by petition to the superior court in and for the county in which the land, or interest therein, lies, setting forth the taking of his or her land or interest therein, and praying for an assessment of damages by a jury. Upon the filing of the petition the court shall cause twenty (20) days notice of the pendency thereof to be given to the authority by serving the chairperson or vice chairperson of the authority with a certified copy thereof, and may proceed after notice to the trial thereof; and the trial shall determine all questions of fact relating to the value of the land, or interest therein, and the amount thereof, and judgment shall be entered upon the verdict of the jury and execution shall be issued therefor against the money so deposited in court and in default thereof against any other property of the authority. In case two (2) or more conflicting petitioners make claim to the same land, or to any interests therein, or to different interests in the same parcel of land, the court upon motion shall consolidate their several petitions for trial at the same time by the same jury, and may frame all necessary issues for the trial thereof; and all proceedings taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall take precedence over all other civil matters then pending before the court, or if the superior court in and for the county in which the land, or interest therein, lies, be not in session in the county, then the trial may be heard in the superior court for the counties of Providence and Bristol.
(5) If any lands, or interests therein, in which any minor or other person not capable in law to act in his or her own behalf is interested, are taken by the authority under the provisions of this chapter, the superior court, upon the filing therein of any petition by or in behalf of the minor or other person, may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor or other person, and the guardian may appear and be heard in behalf of the minor or other person; and the guardian may also, with the advice and consent of the superior court and upon the terms as said superior court may prescribe, release to the authority all claims for damages for the lands of the minor or other person or for any interests therein. Any lawfully appointed, qualified, and acting guardian or other fiduciary of the estate of any minor or other person, with the approval of the court of probate within this state having jurisdiction to authorize the sale of lands and properties within this state of any minor or other person, may, before the filing of any petition, agree with the authority upon the amount of damages suffered by the minor or other person by any taking of his or her lands or of his or her interests in any lands, and may, upon receiving the amount, release to the authority all claims of damages of the minor or other person for such taking.
(6) Whenever, from time to time the authority has satisfied the court that the amount deposited with the court is greater than is amply sufficient to satisfy the claims of all persons interested in the land, the court may order that the amount of any excess including any interest or increment on any sums so deposited shall be repaid to the authority. Whenever the authority has satisfied the court that the claims of all persons interested in the land taken have been satisfied, the unexpended balance, including any interest of increment on any sums so deposited, shall be paid forthwith to the authority.
(7) In any proceedings for the assessment of compensation and damages for land or interest therein taken or to be taken by eminent domain by the authority the following provisions shall be applicable:
(i) At any time during the pendency of the action or proceeding, the authority or an owner may apply to the court for an order directing an owner or the authority, as the case may be, to show cause why further proceedings should not be expedited, and the court may upon an application make an order requiring that the hearings proceed and that any other steps be taken with all possible expedition.
(ii) If any of the land, or interest therein, is devoted to a public use, it may, nevertheless, be acquired, and the taking shall be effective provided that no land, or interest therein, belonging to a public utility corporation may be acquired without the approval of the public utilities administrator or other officer or tribunal having regulatory power over the corporation. Any land, or interest therein, already acquired by the authority may, nevertheless be included within the taking for the purpose of acquiring any outstanding interests in the land.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 2, § 5; P.L. 2011, ch. 363, § 24.)