Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 31. Settling Boundaries Between Localities
12/4/2022

Article 1. Boundary Lines Established by Commissioners.

§ 15.2-3100. Commissioners to settle disputed boundary lines.

Whenever a doubt exists or dispute arises over the true boundary line between any two localities, the circuit courts for the respective localities may each appoint not fewer than three nor more than five commissioners, who shall be resident landowners of their respective localities, a majority of those appointed for each locality being necessary to act, who shall meet and proceed to ascertain and establish the true line.

Code 1950, § 15-38; 1954, c. 536; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1026; 1979, c. 456; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3101. Survey and plats.

Commissioners appointed pursuant to § 15.2-3100, before proceeding to ascertain a boundary, shall employ a competent surveyor to run the boundary. The commissioners shall, with the best evidence which they can procure, direct the surveyor where to run the line and shall have him mark the boundary. After the boundary line has been run and marked, the commissioners shall require the surveyor to make two plats of the courses and distances of the line and to note thereon particularly such well-known places or prominent objects through or by which it passes as, in the opinion of the commissioners, will best designate the line.

Code 1950, § 15-39; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1027; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3102. Report of commissioners.

The commissioners shall return such plats to the respective courts by which they were appointed, together with their report of the performance of their duties in ascertaining and establishing the line, which report shall fully describe the line. If the report meets the requirements of this article and is unanimous, the courts shall approve the report. The courts shall direct that the approved report, together with the plat, be recorded in the deed books of their respective clerks' offices and indexed in the name of each locality. The courts shall certify a copy of the report to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In all controversies thereafter concerning the location of the line, the reports and plats shall be taken as conclusive evidence of its location.

Code 1950, § 15-40; 1954, c. 536; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1028; 1970, c. 751; 1978, c. 642; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3103. Compensation of commissioners, etc.

The circuit court for each locality shall allow a reasonable compensation to the commissioners of such localities respectively, and to the surveyor and his assistants, to be paid by the localities.

Code 1950, § 15-41; 1954, c. 536; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1029; 1979, c. 456; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-3104. Procedure when commissioners fail to agree.

If the commissioners fail to agree upon the location of the line, they shall so report to the circuit courts for their respective localities, stating in their reports the points and grounds of disagreement and describing fully the conflicting lines. Either locality may file a petition in the circuit court for either locality to have a court, constituted as hereinafter provided, ascertain and establish the true boundary line in doubt or dispute. Such petition shall describe, with reasonable certainty, the location contended for and shall state the grounds of such contention. A plat, showing the location contended for, filed with the petition, may serve the purposes of such description. The petitioner shall make the other locality the party defendant, and the case shall be commenced by serving a copy of the petition upon the county attorney, if any, or the attorney for the Commonwealth of such county, the city attorney of such city or the town attorney of such town. No formal plea or answer to the petition shall be necessary, but the defendant shall state its grounds of defense in writing, describing, with the same degree of certainty required of the petitioner, the line as contended for by the defendant, and the locality shall be deemed to be at issue. The issue shall be the true location of the boundary line so in doubt or dispute.

The case shall be heard and decided by a court without a jury presided over by three judges as follows: the judge of the circuit court for the petitioning locality, the judge of the circuit court for the defendant locality, and a judge of some circuit court in this Commonwealth remote from the localities, to be designated by the Chief Justice. When the localities are within the same circuit, the Chief Justice shall designate a third judge from an adjoining circuit. The court shall hear the case upon the evidence introduced in the manner in which evidence is introduced in common-law cases and shall ascertain and establish the true boundary line by a majority decision, and shall give judgment accordingly. Costs shall be awarded as the court shall determine. The judgment of the court shall be recorded in the common-law order book and in the current deed book of the court and indexed in the names of the localities, and, unless reversed, shall forever settle, determine, designate and establish the true boundary line. A copy of any final judgment shall be certified to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Either party may appeal from the judgment of the court to the Court of Appeals, and the cost of such appeal shall be awarded to the party substantially prevailing. If an appeal is taken from the judgment of the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, in matters in which it grants the petition for appeal, shall render a decision and award the costs of the appeal to the party that substantially prevailed.

Code 1950, § 15-42; 1954, c. 536; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1030; 1970, c. 751; 1973, c. 544; 1978, c. 642; 1979, c. 456; 1997, c. 587; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 489.

§ 15.2-3105. Boundaries to embrace wharves, piers, docks and certain other structures.

The boundary of every locality bordering on the Chesapeake Bay, including its tidal tributaries (the Elizabeth River, among others), or the Atlantic Ocean shall embrace all wharves, piers, docks and other structures, except bridges and tunnels that have been or may hereafter be erected along the waterfront of such locality, and extending into the Chesapeake Bay, including its tidal tributaries (the Elizabeth River, among others), or the Atlantic Ocean. However, only the wharves, piers, docks, or other structures which lie within the territorial jurisdiction of this Commonwealth shall be embraced within the boundary of such locality.

Code 1950, § 15-42.1; 1958, c. 280; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-1031; 1976, c. 646; 1997, c. 587.