§ 23-19-10.2. Solid waste disposal facilities Sites Eminent domain.
(a) The Rhode Island resource recovery corporation shall operate only those public solid waste disposal facilities that shall comply with § 23-18.9-9.1. Sites shall be selected after demonstration of maximizing the use of source reduction, reuse, recycling, flow control techniques, evaluation of alternative sites, and assessment of comparative environmental impact at the proposed sites in accordance with law and state planning council regulations and in their absence, the state planning council shall promulgate regulations for the evaluation and/or assessment, and distribution of location of sites for waste facilities among the regions of the state. All proposed sites shall be submitted to the state planning council which shall certify that each proposed site conforms with the state guide plan; provided, however, that certification shall not be granted prior to the publication of public notice and expiration of the public comment period regarding the proposed site, and, provided, further, that no municipality shall cause any act to be done after December 31, 1988 which shall prohibit a solid waste disposal facility site within the municipality.
(b)(1) There shall be established a solid waste facilities siting board which shall be part of the department of administration whose members shall be designated by the governor as follows: the governor's legal counsel; the director of the department of administration; a business or industry representative; a member of the league of cities and towns; and environmental advocate.
(2) The corporation shall submit to the board a written report that shall detail the need to acquire the land or an interest in the land by purchase or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain. The board shall convene in a public forum following public notice and shall accept public comment. No later than thirty (30) days thereafter, the board shall submit to the governor a transcript of the public comment and an advisory opinion on the need to acquire the land or the interest in the land and, as applicable, on the need to acquire the land or interest in the land by the exercise of the power of eminent domain. The governor, in his or her discretion, may authorize the corporation to acquire the land or the interest in the land by purchase or, as applicable, by the exercise of the power of eminent domain; provided, however, that the corporation is prohibited from acquiring land or an interest in land by purchase or by condemnation for the operation of a solid waste disposal facility without the prior written authorization of the governor.
(3) The director of the department of administration shall provide suitable staff, clerical assistance, and office space to the board.
(c)(1) Subject to the provisions in subsections (a) and (b), the Rhode Island resource recovery corporation 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 corporation that the acquisition of the land, or interest, is necessary for the construction or the operation of any solid waste management facility. No municipal ordinance shall be enacted or applied so as to prohibit the siting or the operation of a public solid waste disposal facility within the municipality. Provided, however, the corporation shall not be entitled to acquire by eminent domain any existing sanitary landfill regardless of whether it is owned by a municipality or privately owned. Notwithstanding the provisions of title 23, the corporation shall not be empowered to order a municipality which owns a sanitary landfill to accept solid waste from any other person or municipality nor shall the corporation be empowered to order a municipality which owns and operates an existing sanitary landfill to dispose of its solid waste at any other solid waste disposal facility.
(2) The necessity for the acquisition shall be conclusively presumed upon the adoption by the corporation of a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the land, or interest in the land, described in the resolution is necessary for construction or operation. Within six (6) months thereafter the corporation 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 corporation, together with a description of the plat of the land or interest in the land, and a statement, signed by the chairperson of the corporation, that the land, or interest in the land, is taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Thereupon the corporation may file its application for licensure with the director.
(3) The corporation shall file in the superior court in and for the county in which the land or interest in the land lies, a statement of the sum of money estimated by the corporation to be just compensation for the land taken. 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 to it of the sum that 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 in the land, shall vest in the corporation in fee simple absolute and the corporation thereupon may take possession of the land or interest in the land.
(4) 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 those persons personally, or at their last and usual place of abode in this state with some person living there, and in case any of those 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 in the land, taken of the absent persons if they are known to the officer; and after the filing of the resolution, plat, and statement, the chairperson of the corporation 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 in the land, may be located, at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks. If any person shall agree with the corporation for the price of the land, or interest in the land, so taken, the court upon the application of the parties in interest, may order that the sum agreed upon be paid immediately from the money deposited, as the just compensation to be awarded in the proceeding.
(5) Any owner of or persons entitled to any estate in or interested in any part of the land, or interest in the land, so taken, who cannot agree with the corporation for the price of the land, or interest in the land, so taken in which he or she is interested, 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 in the land, lies, setting forth the taking of his or her land or interest in the land, and praying for an assessment of damages by a jury. Upon filing of the petition the court shall cause twenty (20) days' notice of the pendency of the petition to be given to the corporation by serving the chairperson of the corporation with a certified copy, and may proceed after the notice to the trial of the petition; and the trial shall determine all questions of fact relating to the value of the land, or interest in the land, and the amount, and judgment shall be entered upon the verdict of the jury and execution of judgment shall be issued against the money so deposited in court and in default against any other property of the corporation. In case two (2) or more conflicting petitioners make claim to the same land, or to any interests in the land, or to different interest 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; 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 in the land, lies, is not in session in the county, then the petitions may be heard in the superior court for the counties of Providence and Bristol.
(6) If any land, or interest in the land, 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 corporation, the superior court, upon the filing of a 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 terms that the superior court may prescribe release to the corporation all claims for damages for the lands of the minor or other person or for any interests in the lands. Any lawfully appointed, qualified, and acting guardian or other fiduciary of the estate of the 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 the minor or other person, may, before the filing of the petition, agree with the corporation 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 that amount, release to the corporation all claims of damages of the minor or other person for the taking.
(7) Whenever, from time to time the corporation 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 the excess including any interest or increment on any sums so deposited shall be repaid to the corporation. Whenever the corporation 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 immediately to the corporation.
(8) In any proceedings for the assessment of compensation and damages for land or interest in the land taken or to be taken by eminent domain by the corporation the following provisions shall be applicable:
(i) At any time during the pendency of the action or proceeding, the corporation or an owner may apply to the court for an order directing an owner or the corporation, as the case may be, to show cause why further proceedings should not be expedited, and the court may upon the 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 in the land, is devoted to a public use, except as provided in subsection (c)(1) it may nevertheless be acquired, and the taking shall be effective provided that no land, or interest in the land, 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 in the land already acquired by the corporation may nevertheless be included within the taking for the purpose of acquiring any outstanding interests in the land.
(9) In addition to all of the proceedings and requirements provided by this section, the corporation shall further be required to follow the same statutory proceedings for the taking of land as required of state agencies when those agencies take land under the authority granted by chapter 6 of this title.
(10) The corporation is expressly prohibited from exercising its powers of eminent domain as provided in this section for the purpose of acquiring land to site additional landfills:
(i) In an attempt to circumvent the intent of any court orders or consent agreements to which it is a party; and
(ii) Until such times as it develops a comprehensive plan for and enters into a binding agreement to establish a waste processing facility(ies), as defined in § 23-19-5(22).
(P.L. 1989, ch. 508, § 6; P.L. 1989, ch. 514, § 8; P.L. 1992, ch. 133, art. 111, § 1.)