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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 10. Eminent Domain
1/25/2022

Chapter 10. Eminent Domain.

Article 1. Eminent Domain and Damages.

§ 33.2-1000. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Certificate" means an instrument that, when recorded in the office of the clerk of the circuit court wherein condemnation proceedings are pending or are to be instituted by the Commissioner of Highways, terminates the interest or estate of the owner of the property described therein and vests defeasible title to such property or interest or estate of the owner in the Commonwealth. "Certificate" includes a certificate of deposit and a certificate of take.

"Certificate of deposit" means a certificate issued by the Commissioner of Highways and countersigned by the State Treasurer, stating that any sum or sums designated therein shall be paid pursuant to the order of the court, and filed by the Commissioner of Highways with the court wherein condemnation proceedings are pending or are to be instituted in lieu of the payment of funds into court, as provided in subdivision A 2 of § 33.2-1019.

"Certificate of take" means a certificate recorded by the Commissioner of Highways with the court wherein condemnation proceedings are pending or are to be instituted, in connection with which the Commissioner of Highways has deposited funds with the court as provided in subdivision A 1 of § 33.2-1019.

"Owner" means any person owning land, buildings, structures, or improvements upon land where such ownership is of record in the land records of the clerk's office of the circuit court of the city or county where the property is located. "Owner" does not include trustees or beneficiaries under a deed of trust, any person with a security interest in the property, or any person with a judgment or lien against the property. In proceedings instituted by the Commissioner of Highways under Title 25.1 or this title, "owner" includes persons owning structures or improvements for which an outdoor advertising permit has been issued by the Commissioner of Highways pursuant to § 33.2-1208. This definition of owner shall not alter in any way the valuation of such land, buildings, structures, or improvements under existing law.

"Public highway" means a highway, road, or street. When applicable, "public highway" includes a bridge, ferry, causeway, landing, or wharf.

2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1001. Power to acquire lands, etc.; conveyance to municipality after acquisition; property owners to be informed and briefed.

A. The Commissioner of Highways is vested with the power to acquire by purchase, gift, or power of eminent domain such lands, structures, rights-of-way, franchises, easements, and other interest in lands, including lands under water and riparian rights, of any person, association, partnership, corporation, or municipality or political subdivision, deemed necessary for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, maintenance, and repair of the public highways of the Commonwealth and for these purposes and all other purposes incidental thereto may condemn property in fee simple and rights-of-way of such width and on such routes and grades and locations as the Commissioner of Highways may deem requisite and suitable, including locations for permanent, temporary, continuous, periodical, or future use and rights or easements incidental thereto and lands, quarries, and locations, with rights of ingress and egress, containing gravel, clay, sand, stone, rock, timber, and any other road materials deemed useful or necessary in carrying out the purposes of this subsection.

B. The Commissioner of Highways is authorized to exercise the power provided under subsection A within municipalities on projects that are constructed with state or federal participation if requested by the municipality concerned. Whenever the Commissioner of Highways has acquired property pursuant to a request of the municipality, he shall convey the title so acquired to the municipality, except that rights-of-way or easements acquired for the relocation of a railroad, public utility company, or public service corporation or company, another political subdivision, or a cable television company in connection with such projects shall be conveyed to that entity in accordance with § 33.2-1014. The authority for such conveyance shall apply to acquisitions made by the Commissioner of Highways pursuant to previous requests as well as any subsequent request.

C. Any offer by the Commissioner of Highways to a property owner with respect to payment of compensation for the prospective taking of property and damage to property not taken incident to the purposes of this section shall separately state (i) the property to be taken and the amount of compensation offered therefor and (ii) the nature of the prospective damage or damages and the amount of compensation offered for each such prospective damage. The amount of the offer shall not be less than the amount of the approved appraisal of the fair market value of such property, in accordance with the provisions of § 25.1-417, or the current assessed value of such property for real estate tax purposes, unless the property has physically changed in a material and substantial way since the current assessment date such that the real estate tax assessment no longer represents a fair valuation of the property, when the entire parcel for which the assessment is made is to be acquired, whichever is greater. Any such appraisal used by the Commissioner of Highways as the basis for an offer shall be prepared by a real estate appraiser licensed in accordance with Chapter 20.1 (§ 54.1-2009 et seq.) of Title 54.1.

D. The Commissioner of Highways shall also provide to a property owner a copy of any report of status of title prepared in connection with such acquisition if prepared pursuant to subsection D of § 25.1-204.

E. In negotiating with a property owner with respect to payment for prospective damage to property not taken incident to the purposes of this section, the Commissioner of Highways shall ensure that such property owner or his authorized representative is properly informed as to the type and amount of foreseeable damage or enhancement. Adequate briefing includes (i) the giving of plats and profiles of the project, showing cuts and fills, together with elevations and grades and (ii) explanation, in lay terms, of all proposed changes in profile, elevation, and grade of the highway and entrances, including the elevations of proposed pavement and shoulders, both center and edges, with relation to the present pavement and approximate grade of entrances to the property.

F. Any option or deed executed by the property owner shall contain a statement that the plans as they affect his property have been fully explained. However, the requirements of this section with respect to information and briefing and the acknowledgment thereof in options and deeds shall in no way be construed to affect the validity of any conveyance, to create any right to compensation, or to limit the authority of the Commissioner of Highways to reasonably control the use of public highways so as to promote the public health, safety, and welfare.

G. Nothing in this section shall make evidence of tax assessments admissible as proof of value in an eminent domain proceeding.

Code 1950, § 33-57; 1956, c. 152; 1966, c. 65; 1968, c. 700; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-89; 1976, c. 430; 1993, c. 67; 1999, c. 88; 2000, c. 1029; 2002, c. 878; 2003, c. 940; 2013, c. 764; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1002. Limitation on power of eminent domain.

No property that is within an agricultural and forestal district as provided by the Agricultural and Forestal Districts Act (§ 15.2-4300 et seq.) shall be condemned by the Commissioner of Highways except in accordance with § 15.2-4313.

1977, c. 681, § 33.1-89.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1003. Additional power to acquire lands.

The Commissioner of Highways may use the powers granted in this title to acquire needed property interests for purposes set out in Article 5 (§ 33.2-281 et seq.) of Chapter 2.

1992, c. 167, § 33.1-89.2; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1004. Plans for acquisition of rights-of-way.

Subject to compliance with applicable federal regulations, the Commissioner of Highways shall establish a plan for identification and acquisition of rights-of-way that may be needed within the corridors designated on the Statewide Transportation Plan.

2013, cc. 585, 646, § 33.1-89.3; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1005. Acquisition of real property that may be needed for transportation projects; sale of certain real property.

A. When the Commissioner of Highways determines that any real property will be required in connection with the construction of a transportation project, or project as defined in § 33.2-1700, within a period not exceeding 12 years for the Interstate System or 10 years for any other highway system or transportation project from the time of such determination, and that it would be advantageous to the Commonwealth to acquire such real property, he may proceed to do so. The Commissioner of Highways may lease any real property so acquired to the owner from whom such real property is acquired, if requested by him, and, if not so requested, to another person upon such terms and conditions as in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways may be in the public interest. If the transportation project contemplated, or project as defined in § 33.2-1700, has not been let to contract or construction has not commenced within a period of 20 years from the date of the acquisition of such property, and a need for the use of such property has not been determined for any alternative transportation project, then upon written demand of the owner, or his heirs or assigns, that is received (i) within 90 days from the expiration of such 20-year period or such extension as provided for in this section or (ii) within 30 days from publication of a notice of the intent of the Commissioner of Highways to dispose of such property in a newspaper of general circulation in the political subdivision in which the property is located and the Commissioner of Highways shall notify to the extent practical, the last known owner of said property by certified mail, that such property shall be reconveyed by the Commonwealth to such owner, or his heirs or assigns, upon repayment of the original purchase price, without interest. If the reconveyance is not concluded within six months from receipt by the Commissioner of Highways of a written demand, the reconveyance opportunity shall lapse. However, the 20-year limit established by this section within which the Department must let to contract or begin construction in order to avoid reconveyance shall be extended by the number of days of delay caused by litigation involving the project or by the failure of the Commonwealth to receive anticipated federal funds for such project. The 20-year limit may also be extended in those instances in which a project is included in the Six-Year Improvement Program of the Board or the Six-Year Improvement Program for secondary highways prepared by the county boards of supervisors and in which steps have been taken to move forward. No such reconveyance shall be required for rights-of-way acquired for future transportation improvements at the request of local governing bodies or for rights-of-way acquired for state construction designed to provide future additional lanes or other enhancements to existing transportation facilities.

B. If any real property acquired under this article for use in connection with a transportation project is subsequently offered for sale by the Department and such property is suitable for independent development, the Department shall offer the property for sale at fair market value to the owner from whom it was acquired before such property is offered for sale to any other person. The Commissioner of Highways shall notify, to the extent practicable, the last known owner of such property by certified mail, and the owner shall have 30 days from the date of such notice to advise the Commissioner of Highways of his interest in purchasing the property. If the purchase of the property by the owner from whom it was acquired is not concluded within six months from receipt by the Commissioner of Highways of a written notice, the purchase opportunity shall lapse. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to property to which the provisions of subsection A do not apply.

C. Subsection B shall not apply to Department projects carried out in cooperation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers as part of a nonstructural flood control project. If property acquired by the Commonwealth under this article in connection with a project is no longer needed by the Commonwealth for such project, such property shall be conveyed to the locality in which such project is located and used in connection with the redevelopment. If such property is not used for economic development, then the property shall revert to the Commonwealth and may be used for any purposes deemed appropriate, including resale.

Code 1950, § 33-57.1; 1958, c. 345; 1964, c. 261; 1970, cc. 110, 322, § 33.1-90; 1972, c. 396; 1973, c. 430; 1983, c. 146; 1988, c. 80; 1992, c. 108; 1997, c. 93; 1998, c. 426; 2000, c. 998; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1006. Reconveyance where property deemed suitable for mass transit purposes.

If any real property that, under the provisions of § 33.2-1005, is or may become eligible for reconveyance is deemed suitable for the mass transit purposes of a public agency, authority, instrumentality, or public service corporation or company, and such entity has submitted tentative plans to the Commissioner of Highways for a mass transit facility utilizing such real property, or portions thereof, and, prior to the eligibility of that real property for reconveyance under this article, the Commissioner of Highways has approved the use of such real property for mass transit purposes, such real estate shall not be eligible for reconveyance under those sections. Upon the formulation of final plans for the facility, the Commissioner of Highways is authorized to enter into an agreement with any such entity for the conveyance of the property to such entity. Any property or portions thereof not necessary for the mass transit facility shall become eligible for reconveyance under the provisions of § 33.2-1005 upon a determination of the final plans for the facility. Such agreement shall provide for the payment to the Commonwealth of an amount equal to that expended by the Commonwealth in the acquisition of such real property, including proportionate administrative costs and costs under the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended. Upon payment of the agreed consideration, the Commissioner of Highways shall convey the specified property to the facility. However, if construction of such planned facilities is not commenced within 10 years from the date of the agreement between the transit agency and the Commissioner of Highways, the persons who would otherwise have been authorized to petition for reconveyance under § 33.2-1005 or their heirs or assigns may seek reconveyance under the same procedures and on the same basis as established in § 33.2-1005.

This section shall not compel the Commissioner of Highways to convey any such property to such entities in contravention of any federal law or regulation affecting the disposition of real property acquired for highway purposes when such property is no longer needed for such purposes when such property has been acquired with federal funding participation.

1976, c. 724, § 33.1-90.2; 1992, c. 108; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1007. Authority to acquire entire tract of land, or parcel thereof, when only part to be utilized for highway purposes.

In acquiring rights-of-way for highway construction, reconstruction, or improvement, and lands incidental to such construction, reconstruction, or improvement, the Commissioner of Highways is authorized and empowered, whenever a portion of a tract of land is to be utilized for right-of-way or a purpose incidental to the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of a public highway, to acquire by purchase, gift, or the exercise of the power of eminent domain the entire tract of land or any part thereof whenever (i) the remainder of such tract or part thereof can no longer be utilized for the purpose for which the entire tract is then being utilized; (ii) a portion of a building is to be taken; (iii) the cost of removal or relocation of the buildings or other improvements on the remaining portion necessitated by the taking would exceed the cost of destroying such buildings or other improvements; (iv) the highway project will leave the remaining portions without a means of access to a public highway; or (v) in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways the resulting damages to the remainder of such tract or part thereof lying outside the proposed right-of-way, or the area being acquired for a purpose incidental to the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of a public highway, will approximate or equal the fair market value of such remaining lands. However, the Commissioner of Highways shall not acquire the remainder of such tracts by purchase where the remaining portion is in excess of 10 acres or by condemnation where the remaining portion is in excess of two acres. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as preventing the Commissioner of Highways from complying, where applicable, with the provisions of § 25.1-417.

Code 1950, § 33-117.2; 1960, c. 546; 1964, c. 262; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-91; 1973, c. 166; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1008. Authority to acquire land to replace parkland; applicability.

For the purposes of this section, "parkland" only includes parks and recreational areas under the jurisdiction of state agencies or local governing bodies. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this title, the Commissioner of Highways may acquire by gift or purchase any property without a permanent residential structure, or an interest in property, needed to replace parkland that is acquired for the improvement, maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of highways. Land acquired to replace parkland shall be abutting or appurtenant to the property of rights-of-way acquired for the improvement, maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of highways. Before exercising the authority granted by this section, the Commissioner of Highways shall notify the local governing body or state agency having jurisdiction over the parkland and shall obtain the concurrence of the local governing body or state agency that replacement parklands should be acquired and conveyed to the local governing body or state agency in exchange for the parkland needed for the improvement, maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of the highway.

The provisions of this section shall apply only in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville.

2000, c. 310, § 33.1-91.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1009. Acquisition of residue parcels declared to be in public interest.

The acquisition of such residue parcels in addition to the lands necessary for the immediate use for highway rights-of-way or purposes incidental to the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of public highways is hereby declared to be in the public interest and constitutes a public use as the term public uses is used in Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 33-117.3; 1960, c. 546; 1964, c. 262; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-92; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1010. Use and disposition of residue parcels of land.

The Commissioner of Highways may lease, sell, or exchange such residue parcels of land upon such terms and conditions as in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways may be in the public interest, provided, however, that the Commissioner of Highways shall not use such parcels for any commercial purpose. The Commissioner of Highways may lease, sell, or exchange such residue parcels of land as may have been acquired under the provisions of the Transportation Development and Revenue Bond Act (§ 33.2-1700 et seq.), upon such terms and conditions as in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways may be in the public interest. The Commissioner of Highways may lease such parcels of land as may have been acquired under the provisions of § 33.2-1005 in the event the former owner fails to make the request authorized under § 33.2-1005 to persons other than the former owner, upon such terms and conditions as in the judgment of the Commissioner of Highways may be in the public interest. The provisions of Articles 1 (§ 33.2-900 et seq.) and 2 (§ 33.2-908 et seq.) of Chapter 9 shall not be construed to apply to the disposition of land authorized in this section.

Code 1950, § 33-117.4; 1960, c. 546; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-93; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1011. Right to enter on land to ascertain its suitability for highway and other transportation purposes; damage resulting from such entry.

A. The Commissioner of Highways, through his duly authorized officers, agents, or employees, may enter upon any land in the Commonwealth for the purposes of making examination and survey thereof, including photographing; testing, including soil borings or testing for contamination; making appraisals; and taking such actions as may be necessary or desirable to determine its suitability for highway and other transportation purposes or for any other purpose incidental thereto. Such officers, agents, or servants shall exercise care to protect any improvements, growing crops, or timber in making such examination or survey. Such officers, agents, or servants may enter upon any property without the written permission of its owners if the Commissioner has requested the owner's permission to inspect the property as provided in subsection B.

B. 1. A request for permission to inspect shall (i) be on the Commissioner's official letterhead and signed by an authorized officer, agent, or employee of the Commissioner; (ii) be sent to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, delivered by guaranteed overnight courier, or otherwise delivered to the owner in person with proof of delivery; (iii) be made not less than 30 days prior to the first date of the proposed inspection; (iv) notify the owner that if permission is withheld, the Commissioner or his duly authorized officers, agents, or employees shall be permitted to enter the property on the date of the proposed inspection. A mere citation of this section number of the Code of Virginia shall not satisfy the requirements of clause (iv). A request for permission to inspect shall be deemed to be made on the date of mailing, if mailed, or otherwise on the date of delivery.

2. A request for permission to inspect shall include (i) the specific date or dates such inspection is proposed to be made; (ii) the name of the entity entering the property; (iii) the number of persons for whom permission is sought; (iv) the purpose for which entry is made; and (v) the testing, appraisals, or examinations to be performed and other actions to be taken.

3. If a request for permission is provided in accordance with subdivision 1, the Commissioner or his duly authorized officer, agent, or employee may enter the property sooner than the 30 days indicated in the request only if the owner provides permission, in writing, to enter on an earlier date.

C. Any entry authorized by this section (i) shall be for the purpose of making surveys, tests, appraisals, or examinations thereof in order to determine the suitability of such property for the project and (ii) shall not be deemed a trespass.

D. The Commissioner shall make reimbursement for any actual damages resulting from entry upon the property. In any action filed under this section, the court may award the owner his reasonable (i) attorney fees, (ii) court costs, and (iii) fees for up to three experts or as many experts as are called by the condemnor, whichever is greater, who testified at trial if the court finds that the Commissioner damaged the owner's property. A proceeding under this subsection shall not preclude the owner from pursuing any additional remedies available at law or equity.

E. The requirements of this section shall not apply to the practice of land surveying, as defined in § 54.1-400, when such surveying is not involved in any eminent domain or any proposed eminent domain matter.

Code 1950, § 33-57.2; 1960, c. 491; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-94; 2007, c. 755; 2011, c. 60; 2014, c. 805; 2019, c. 788; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 60.

§ 33.2-1012. Limitations in Title 25.1 not applicable to Commissioner of Highways.

Except as to procedure, the Commissioner of Highways shall not be subject to any limitations in Title 25.1 in exercising the power of eminent domain pursuant to this title.

Code 1950, § 33-57.3; 1964, Ex. Sess., c. 23; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-95; 1972, c. 765; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1013. Notice of exercise of eminent domain power; evidence of value.

A. As used in this section:

"Fair market value" means the price that the real property would bring if it were offered for sale by one who wanted to sell, but was under no necessity, and was bought by one who wanted to buy, but was under no necessity.

"Owner" means any person owning an estate or interest in buildings, structures, or other improvements on real property, which estate or interest is recorded in the official records of the circuit court where the property is located, or improvements for which a permit has been issued by the Commissioner of Highways pursuant to § 33.2-1208. "Owner" does not include trustees or beneficiaries under a deed of trust or any person owning only a security interest in the real property.

B. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter or in Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1:

1. The Commissioner of Highways shall notify every owner, as defined in this section, of a building, structure, or other improvement if the Commissioner of Highways intends to exercise the power of eminent domain in a manner that would result in a taking of the building, structure, or other improvement.

2. The owner of any such building, structure, or other improvement may present evidence of the fair market value of such building, structure, or other improvement in the proceedings described in § 25.1-233, provided such owner has filed a petition for intervention pursuant to § 25.1-218.

3. If the owner of such building, structure, or improvement is different from the owner of the underlying land, then such owner shall not be allowed to proffer any evidence of value that the owner of the underlying land would not be permitted to proffer if the building, structure, or improvement were owned by the owner of the underlying land; and

4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to condemnation proceedings in which the petition for condemnation was filed prior to July 1, 2000.

2000, cc. 822, 843, § 33.1-95.1; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1014. Acquisition of interests for exchange with railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company; relocation of poles, lines, etc.

Whenever any railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company owns or occupies any privately owned land either under a claim of right or with the apparent acquiescence of the private landowner which the Commissioner of Highways deems necessary and intends to acquire for any highway project, and such land owned or occupied by the railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company is devoted to a public use, the Commissioner of Highways may acquire by gift, purchase, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain additional land or easement, right-of-way, or interest in land adjacent to or approximately adjacent to such land needed and proposed to be acquired for such highway project and may then convey the same to the railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company for use by it in lieu of the land theretofore owned or occupied by it but needed by the Commissioner of Highways for such highway project. The condemnation of such land, easement, right-of-way, or other interest in land to be conveyed to any railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company shall be governed by the procedure prescribed by this article and may be carried out at the same time if against the same property owner and if against the same landowner or in the same proceedings in which land is condemned for highway purposes. The Commissioner of Highways may, under the same procedure and conditions prescribed by this article, with respect to property needed for highway purposes, enter upon and take possession of such property to be conveyed to any railroad, public utility company, public service corporation or company, political subdivision, or cable television company in the manner provided in §§ 33.2-1018 through 33.2-1027 and proceed with the relocation of the installations of the railroad or public utility company in order that the construction of the highway project may be carried out without delay.

After the acquisition of the land owned or occupied by railroads, public utility companies, public service corporations or companies, political subdivisions, or cable television companies and the acquisition of the additional land, easement, right-of-way, or other interest in land for such railroads, utility companies, public service corporations or companies, political subdivisions, or cable television companies as provided in this section, in the event the poles, lines, or other facilities are not removed by such railroads or utility companies within 60 days from the date of the taking by the Commissioner of Highways, the Commissioner of Highways is vested with the power to remove and relocate such facilities at his own cost.

Any conveyance previously made by the Commissioner of Highways in exchange for land that was needed for a highway project is hereby declared to be valid and effective in all respects.

Code 1950, § 33-58; 1960, c. 491; 1968, c. 227; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-96; 1976, c. 380; 1990, c. 242; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1015. Acquisition of land in median of highways for public mass transit; disposition of such property.

When acquiring land for the construction of highways with divided roadways, the Commissioner of Highways may, if he deems it necessary and appropriate, also acquire by gift, purchase, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain as vested in him by § 33.2-1001, in addition to the land necessary for such highways, sufficient land in the median for use for public mass transit and may convey or otherwise make available the same to a public agency or authority or public service corporation or public service company for the construction and operation thereon of public facilities for mass transit.

Such additional land shall be acquired only after an agreement has been made between the Commissioner of Highways and a public agency or authority or public service corporation or public service company whereby such agency, authority, corporation, or company has agreed to pay the cost of the additional land acquired and all expense incidental to its acquisition.

The condemnation of such land to be conveyed for use for public mass transit shall be governed by the procedure prescribed by this article and may be carried out at the same time if against the same property owner and if against the same landowner or in the same proceedings in which land is condemned for highway purposes. The Commissioner of Highways may, under the same procedure and conditions prescribed by this article with respect to property needed for highway purposes, enter upon and take possession of such property to be conveyed to a public agency or authority or public service corporation or public service company in the manner provided in §§ 33.2-1018 through 33.2-1027.

The Board is authorized and directed with the consent of the Federal Highway Administration to permit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to commence construction of rapid transit and ancillary facilities within the proposed median of Interstate 66 between Glebe Road in Arlington County and Nutley Road in Fairfax County, provided that (i) construction of rapid transit shall conform with highway plans and that construction procedures shall be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Highways and (ii) prior to construction of rapid transit, a mutually satisfactory allocation of cost shall be agreed to by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Board, and the Federal Highway Administration.

Code 1950, § 33-58.1; 1962, c. 303; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-97; 1973, c. 508; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1016. Procedure in general; suits in name of Commissioner of Highways; survival; validation of suits; notice of filing.

A. Proceedings for condemnation under this article shall be instituted and conducted in accordance with the procedures provided in Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1, except that the provisions of §§ 33.2-1018 through 33.2-1029 shall be applicable to such proceedings.

B. All suits shall be instituted and conducted in the name of the Commissioner of Highways as petitioner without naming the individual who may be such Commissioner of Highways or acting Commissioner of Highways. In the event of the death, removal, retirement, or resignation of the Commissioner of Highways or acting Commissioner of Highways, the suit shall automatically survive to a successor Commissioner of Highways or acting Commissioner of Highways. All suits heretofore filed in accordance with the provisions of this section are hereby ratified, validated, and confirmed.

C. In addition to any other notices required to be served pursuant to this section, in any proceeding instituted by the Commissioner of Highways under this title, a copy of the notice of the filing of the petition also shall be served, in the same manner as such notice is served upon owners, upon any person owning structures or improvements for which an outdoor advertising permit has been issued by the Commissioner of Highways pursuant to § 33.2-1208.

Code 1950, § 33-59; 1960, c. 491; 1964, c. 383; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-98; 1972, c. 765; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1017. Taking highway materials from streams, rivers, and watercourses.

Whenever the Commissioner of Highways determines that it is necessary or desirable to remove materials from the streams, rivers, or watercourses for use on public highways, he shall submit to the Marine Resources Commission his plan for the removal and all conditions relating thereto for its review and concurrence. After receiving the concurrence of the Marine Resources Commission, the Commissioner of Highways may take for use on the public highways in the Commonwealth sand, gravel, rock, and any other materials deemed by him suitable for road purposes from the streams, rivers, and watercourses, title to the bed of which is in the Commonwealth, and in addition to the power of eminent domain already vested in him may acquire by condemnation all property, rights, and easements necessary to enable him to obtain and make use of such materials. All such proceedings shall be governed by the provisions of law governing the exercise by the Commissioner of Highways of the power of eminent domain for state highway purposes.

Code 1950, § 33-69; 1968, c. 659; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-117; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1018. Authority to take possession and title to property before or during condemnation; purpose and intent of provisions.

In addition to the exercise of the power of eminent domain prior to the entry upon land being condemned, as provided in this article, the Commissioner of Highways is authorized to acquire title and to enter upon and take possession of such property and rights-of-way, for the purposes set out in § 33.2-1001, as the Commissioner of Highways may deem necessary, and proceed with the construction of such highway, such taking to be made pursuant to §§ 33.2-1019 through 33.2-1029.

It is the intention of this article to provide that such property and rights-of-way may, in the discretion of the Commissioner of Highways, be condemned during or after the construction of the highway, as well as prior thereto, and to direct the fund out of which the judgment of the court in condemnation proceedings shall be paid, and to provide that in all other respects the provisions of this article shall apply, whether the property and rights-of-way are condemned before, during, or after the construction of the highway. However, the authorities constructing such highway under the authority of this article shall use diligence to protect growing crops and pastures and to prevent damage to any property not taken. So far as possible all rights-of-way shall be acquired or contracted for before any condemnation is resorted to.

Code 1950, § 33-70.1; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-119; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1019. Payments into court or filing certificate of deposit before entering upon land.

A. Before entering upon or taking possession of land pursuant to § 33.2-1018, the Commissioner of Highways shall either:

1. Pay into the court wherein condemnation proceedings are pending or are to be instituted such sum as is required by subsection B; or

2. File with the court wherein condemnation proceedings are pending or are to be instituted a certificate of deposit issued by the Commissioner of Highways for such sum as is required by subsection B, which shall be deemed and held for the purpose of this chapter to be payment into the custody of such court.

B. The amount to be paid into the court as provided in subdivision A 1 or represented by a certificate of deposit as provided in subdivision A 2 shall be the amount that the Commissioner of Highways estimates to be the fair value of the land taken, or interest therein sought, and damage done, which estimate shall be based on a bona fide appraisal if required by § 25.1-417; however, such estimate shall not be less than the current assessed value of the land for real estate tax purposes, unless the property has physically changed in a material and substantial way since the current assessment date such that the real estate tax assessment no longer represents a fair valuation of the property, when the entire parcel for which the assessment has been made is to be acquired.

C. If the Commissioner of Highways makes a payment into court as provided in subdivision A 1, the court shall also record a certificate of take pursuant to § 33.2-1021.

D. Payment against a certificate of deposit, when ordered by the court named therein, shall be paid by the Commissioner of Highways.

E. The Commissioner of Highways shall not be permitted to force relocation on improved owner-occupied property until the owner is permitted to withdraw the funds represented by the certificate filed with the court. However, if the owner refuses to withdraw the funds represented by the certificate filed with the court or if the Commissioner of Highways reasonably believes that the owner does not possess clear title to the property being taken, that ownership of the property is disputed, or that certain owners cannot be located, the Commissioner of Highways may petition the court to establish that the owner does not possess clear title, that the ownership of the property is in dispute, that certain owners cannot be located, or that the owner has refused to withdraw the funds represented by the certificate filed with the court, and request that the Commissioner of Highways be given authority to force relocation.

F. Nothing in this section shall make evidence of tax assessments admissible as proof of value in an eminent domain proceeding.

Code 1950, § 33-70.2; 1958, c. 581; 1970, cc. 322, 684, § 33.1-120; 2003, c. 940; 2004, c. 803; 2013, c. 764; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1020. Payment of certificates of deposit; recordation of certain certificates; notice to owner.

A. A certificate of deposit shall be deemed and held for the purpose of this article to be payment into the custody of such court. Payment against any certificate of deposit so issued and countersigned, when ordered by the court named therein, shall be paid by the State Treasurer on warrants of the Comptroller, issued on vouchers signed by the Commissioner of Highways.

B. A duplicate of each certificate of deposit so issued and countersigned shall be kept as a record in the office of the Commissioner of Highways and a copy thereof shall be filed with the State Treasurer.

C. The Commissioner of Highways shall give notice, between 30 and 45 days prior to the date on which any certificate will be filed or recorded pursuant to this chapter, to the owner or tenant, if known, of the freehold by certified or registered mail that such certificate will be filed or recorded. Additionally, within four business days of the filing or recording of a certificate, the Commissioner of Highways shall give notice of such filing or recording to the owner or tenant, if known, of the freehold by providing a copy of such certificate by certified or registered mail.

Code 1950, § 33-70.3; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-121; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805; 2017, c. 563; 2019, cc. 82, 162.

§ 33.2-1021. Recordation of certificates; transfer of title or interest; land situated in two or more counties or cities.

A. Upon recordation of a certificate:

1. The interest or estate of the owner of the property described therein shall terminate;

2. The title to such property or interest or estate of the owner shall be vested in the Commonwealth;

3. The owner shall have such interest or estate in the funds deposited with the court or represented by the certificate of deposit as the owner had in the property taken or damaged; and

4. All liens by deed of trust, judgment, or otherwise upon such property or estate or interest shall be transferred to such funds.

B. The title in the Commonwealth shall be defeasible until (i) the Commonwealth and such owner reach an agreement as provided in § 33.2-1027 or (ii) the compensation for the taking or damage to the property is determined by condemnation proceedings as provided in §§ 33.2-1022 through 33.2-1028.

C. If the land affected by the certificate is situated in two or more counties or cities, the clerk of the court wherein the certificate is recorded shall certify a copy of such certificate to the clerk of the court of the counties or cities in which any portion of the land lies, who shall record the same in his deed book and index it in the name of the person who had the land before and also in the name of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 33-70.4; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-122; 2014, c. 805; 2020, c. 1245.

§ 33.2-1022. Certificates to describe land and list owner.

The certificate shall set forth the description of the land or interest therein being taken or damaged and, if known, the owner.

Code 1950, § 33-70.5; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-123; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1023. Proceedings for distribution of funds; effect of acceptance of payments; evidence as to amount of deposit or certificate.

A. Any person or persons shown by a certificate to be entitled thereto may petition the court for the distribution of all or any part of the funds deposited with the court pursuant to subdivision A 1 of § 33.2-1019 or represented by a certificate of deposit filed pursuant to subdivision A 2 of § 33.2-1019. Any costs of filing such petition or otherwise withdrawing the funds shall be taxed against the Commissioner of Highways.

B. A copy of such petition shall be served on the Commissioner of Highways, his deputy, or any attorney authorized to accept service with a notice, returnable to the court or judge not less than 21 days after such service, to show cause, if any, why such amount should not be distributed in accordance with the prayers of the petition.

C. If the Commissioner of Highways does not, on or before the return day of the petition, show such cause, and if the record in the proceeding does not disclose any denial or dispute with respect thereto, the court shall enter an order directing the distribution of such amount in accordance with the prayers of the petition. However, in the case of a nonresident petitioner the court may require a bond before ordering the distribution.

D. If funds have been deposited with the court pursuant to subdivision A 1 of § 33.2-1019, any interest that has accrued on the funds shall be payable to the person or persons entitled to receive such funds.

E. If funds are not then on deposit with the court but are represented by a certificate of deposit filed pursuant to subdivision A 2 of § 33.2-1019, a certified copy of such order shall forthwith be sent to the Commissioner of Highways by the clerk. It shall be the duty of the Commissioner of Highways to deposit such funds with the court within 21 days of the date of such order.

F. Interest shall be payable on funds represented by a certificate of deposit from the date of filing of the certificate of deposit until the funds are paid into court at no less than the judgment rate of interest as set forth in § 8.01-382. However, interest shall not accrue if an injunction is filed against the Department that enjoins the taking of the property described in the certificate.

G. If the Commissioner of Highways shows such cause, or if the record in the proceeding discloses any denial or dispute as to the persons entitled to such distribution or to any interest or share therein, the court shall direct such proceedings as are provided by § 25.1-240 for the distribution of awards.

H. However, the acceptance of such payment shall not limit the amount to be allowed by a commissioner in a condemnation proceeding, nor limit the rights of any party or parties to the proceeding to appeal from any decision therein; nor shall any party to such proceeding be entitled to introduce evidence of any amount deposited with the court or represented by a certificate, nor of any amount that has been accepted by any party entitled thereto pursuant to this section.

I. All funds due and owing pursuant to this section shall be payable promptly to the owner or, if the owner consents, to the owner's attorney. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the priority of liens or any obligation to satisfy or release any outstanding liens on the property or the funds.

Code 1950, § 33-70.6; 1958, c. 581; 1964, c. 487; 1968, c. 232; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-124; 1972, c. 765; 1985, c. 594; 1987, c. 641; 1994, c. 584; 2003, cc. 19, 47, 940; 2014, c. 805; 2020, c. 1245.

§ 33.2-1024. Reformation, alteration, revision, amendment, or invalidation of certificate.

Upon the recordation of such certificate, no reformation, alteration, revision, amendment, or invalidation shall be made for any purpose without the prior consent of the court wherein such certificate is recorded. The court shall have jurisdiction to reform, alter, revise, amend, or invalidate in whole or in part any certificate; to correct mistakes in the description of the property affected by such certificate; to correct the name of the owner in the certificate; to correct any other error that may exist with respect to such certificate; or for any other purpose. A petition filed by the Commissioner of Highways with the court setting forth any error made in such certificate, or the necessity of any change therein, shall be deemed sufficient basis for the reformation, alteration, revision, amendment, or invalidation in whole or in part of such certificate. The court may enter an order permitting the reformation, alteration, revision, amendment, or invalidation in whole or in part, and such order, together with any revised certificate that may be necessary, shall be recorded in the current deed book. The filing of any certificate pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not alter the date of taking as established by the filing of the original certificate pursuant to § 33.2-1021 as to any land that is included in the amended certificate, and no such amended certificate shall include any land not in the original certificate. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or preclude any person from recovering any damages in a condemnation proceeding resulting from such reformation, alteration, revision, amendment, or invalidation.

Code 1950, § 33-70.7; 1958, c. 581; 1968, c. 313; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-125; 1993, c. 35; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256; 2019, c. 788.

§ 33.2-1025. When condemnation proceedings instituted; payment of compensation or damages; order confirming award; recording.

Within 180 days after the recordation of such certificate, if the Commissioner of Highways and the owner of such lands or interest therein taken or damaged by the Commissioner of Highways are unable to agree as to the compensation or damages, if any, caused thereby, or such consent cannot be obtained due to the incapacity of the owner, or because such owner is unknown or cannot with reasonable diligence be found within the Commonwealth, the Commissioner of Highways shall institute condemnation proceedings, as provided in this article, unless said proceedings shall have been instituted prior to the recordation of such certificate. The amount of such compensation and damages, if any, awarded to the owner in such proceedings shall be paid out of the appropriations to the Department. The final order confirming the award of the Commissioner of Highways shall confirm absolute and indefeasible title to the land, or interest therein sought, in the Commonwealth and shall be recorded in the current deed book.

Code 1950, § 33-70.9; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-127; 1993, c. 35; 2003, c. 317; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-1026. Awards in greater or lesser amounts than deposit; interest.

A. If the amount of an award in a condemnation proceeding is greater than that deposited with the court or represented by a certificate of deposit, the excess amount, together with interest accrued on such excess amount, shall be paid into court for the person entitled thereto.

B. Interest shall accrue on the excess amount at not less than the judgment rate of interest as set forth in § 8.01-382, computed from the date of such deposit to the date of payment into court, and shall be paid into court for the person or persons entitled thereto. However, any (i) interest accruing after June 30, 1970, and prior to July 1, 1981, shall be paid at the rate of six percent; (ii) interest accruing after June 30, 1981, and prior to July 1, 1994, shall be paid at the rate of eight percent; and (iii) interest accruing after June 30, 1994, and prior to July 1, 2003, shall be paid at the general account composite rate, compiled by the Department of the Treasury for the month in which the award is rendered.

C. If the amount of an award in a condemnation proceeding is less than that deposited with the court or represented by a certificate of deposit, and the person or persons entitled thereto have received a distribution of the funds pursuant to § 33.2-1023, the Commissioner of Highways shall recover (i) the amount of such excess and (ii) interest on such excess at the rate of interest established pursuant to § 6621(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. If any person has been paid a greater sum than that to which he is entitled as determined by the award, judgment shall be entered for the Commissioner of Highways against such person for the amount of such excess and interest. However, the Commissioner of Highways shall not be entitled to recover the amount of such excess and interest in the event the Commissioner of Highways acquired, by virtue of the certificate, an entire parcel of land containing a dwelling, multiple-family dwelling, or building used for commercial purposes at the time of initiation of negotiations for the acquisition of such property.

Code 1950, § 33-70.10; 1958, c. 581; 1970, cc. 322, 614, § 33.1-128; 1981, c. 476; 1994, c. 584; 1997, c. 865; 2003, cc. 19, 47, 318, 940; 2010, cc. 20, 53; 2014, c. 805; 2017, c. 710.

§ 33.2-1027. Agreements as to compensation; petition and order of court thereon; disposition of deposit.

At any time after the recordation of such certificate, but prior to the institution of condemnation proceedings, if the Commissioner of Highways and the owner of the land or interest therein taken or damaged are able to agree as to compensation for the land taken and damages, if any, caused by such taking, the Commissioner of Highways shall file with the court a petition so stating, with a copy of the agreement attached. If condemnation proceedings are already pending at the time of reaching such agreement, no such petition shall be required, but the motion for dismissal of such proceedings shall contain an averment that such agreement has been reached. Upon the filing of such petition or motion to dismiss, the court shall thereupon enter an order confirming absolute and indefeasible title to the land or interest therein in the Commonwealth. Such order shall be recorded in the current deed book. Upon entry of such order, the Commissioner of Highways and State Treasurer shall be relieved of further obligation by virtue of having filed such certificate of deposit with the court.

If it shall appear from such petition and agreement, or motion to dismiss a pending suit, that no person other than those executing such agreement are entitled to the fund on deposit, the court shall direct that such fund, after payment therefrom of any taxes that may be charged against such land taken, be disbursed and distributed in accordance with the statement or charge in the petition or motion among the parties or persons entitled thereto. If it shall appear that a controversy exists as to the persons entitled to such fund, such distribution shall be made in accordance with the provisions of § 33.2-1023.

Code 1950, § 33-70.11; 1958, c. 581; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-129; 1993, c. 35; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-1027.1. Distribution of funds to owner or owner's attorney.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, upon any settlement or final determination resulting in a judgment for the owner, whether funds have been paid into the court or are outstanding, all such funds due and owing shall be payable to the owner or, if the owner consents, to the owner's attorney within 30 days of the settlement or final determination, unless otherwise subject to § 25.1-240, 25.1-241, 25.1-243, or 25.1-250. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the priority of liens or any obligation to satisfy or release any outstanding liens on the property or the funds.

2018, c. 842.

§ 33.2-1028. Enhancement to be offset against damage.

In all cases under the provisions of this article, the enhancement, if any, in value of the remaining property of the landowner by reason of the construction or improvement contemplated or made by the Commissioner of Highways shall be offset against the damage, if any, resulting to such remaining property of such landowner by reason of such construction or improvement. However, such enhancement in value shall not be offset against the value of the property taken, and if such enhancement in value exceeds the damage, there shall be no recovery against the landowner for such excess.

Code 1950, § 33-73; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-130; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1029. Remedy of landowners under certain conditions.

Whenever the Commissioner of Highways enters upon and takes possession of property pursuant to §§ 33.2-1018, 33.2-1019, and 33.2-1020 and has not instituted condemnation proceedings within 180 days after the recordation of a certificate as required by § 33.2-1025, whether the construction of the highway project has been completed or not, the property owner may, if no agreement has been made with the Commissioner of Highways as to compensation and damage, if any, petition the circuit court of the county or the court of the city in which such cases are tried and in which the greater portion of the property lies for the appointment of commissioners or a jury to determine just compensation for the property taken and damages done, if any. A copy of such petition shall be served upon the Commissioner of Highways at least 10 days before it is presented to the court, and the Commissioner of Highways shall file an answer thereto within five days after the petition is so presented. If the court finds that a reasonable time has elapsed for the completion of the construction of the highway project or that 60 days have elapsed since the completion of the construction of the highway project or that more than 180 days have elapsed since the Commissioner of Highways entered upon and took possession of the property, without condemnation proceedings being instituted and without an agreement having been made between the property owner and the Commissioner of Highways as to compensation and damages, if any, commissioners or a jury shall be appointed to ascertain the amount of compensation to be paid for the property taken and damages done, if any. The proceedings shall thereafter be governed by the procedure prescribed by Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1 insofar as the same may be applicable.

Code 1950, § 33-75; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-132; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 141; 1972, c. 765; 1991, c. 520; 2003, cc. 317, 940; 2004, c. 804; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1030. Installation of broadband conduit.

Where a public highway exists pursuant to § 33.2-105, the rights of the Commonwealth include the use of such public highway for communications purposes and specifically include the power of the Department to permit a broadband service provider to install, maintain, operate, repair, and replace within the public right of way underground lines, systems, and facilities necessary for the provision and extension of broadband services to the extent allowed by applicable land use permit regulations, policies, and procedures of the Department.

2016, c. 655.

Article 2. Acquisition of Land Used As Cemeteries.

§ 33.2-1031. Commissioner of Highways may enter into agreement with person, church, association, etc.

Whenever it becomes necessary for the Commissioner of Highways to acquire land or other interest therein for the purposes set forth in this title, and such land to be acquired is a part or the whole of a cemetery or graveyard owned by any person, church, association, corporation, or other legal entity that has the legal authority to make disposition of the same, the Commissioner of Highways may enter into agreements with such person, church, association, corporation, or other legal entity for the removal of any remains that may be interred upon the land. Such agreement shall provide for reinterment in some suitable repository. For purposes of this article, the sprinkling of ashes or their burial in a biodegradable container on private residential property, not subject to regulation under Chapter 3 (§ 57-22 et seq.) of Title 57, shall not constitute the creation of a cemetery or graveyard.

Code 1950, § 33-75.1; 1960, c. 308; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-133; 1992, c. 714; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1032. Commissioner of Highways may file petition for condemnation when no agreement can be reached; notice of condemnation proceedings.

In the event no agreement can be reached as provided in § 33.2-1031 or whenever such land is a part or the whole of a cemetery or graveyard owned by persons unknown or by any person, church, association, corporation, or other legal entity not having legal authority to make disposition of the same, the Commissioner of Highways shall petition the court of the city or county in which the land is situated and in which condemnation proceedings are instituted to acquire land for the purpose of condemning such land and having the remains interred in such cemetery or graveyard removed to some suitable repository. To such petition the owner of the land and next of kin of those interred therein, if known, shall be made defendants and served with notice. If such owner and next of kin are unknown, are less than 18 years of age, have been adjudicated insane or incompetent, or are nonresidents of the Commonwealth, such notice shall be served in the manner prescribed by Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1.

Code 1950, § 33-75.2; 1960, c. 308; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-134; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1033. Contents of petition for condemnation.

The contents of such petition shall comply with all statutory requirements prescribed for the exercise of the power of eminent domain by the Commissioner of Highways and shall contain the reasons why it is practical to acquire such land and remove any remains that may be interred therein.

Code 1950, § 33-75.3; 1960, c. 308; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-135; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1034. Removal and reinterment of remains; other proceedings.

The trial court shall determine a suitable repository for reinterment and the manner in which the removal and reinterment is to be undertaken and shall tax the cost and expense of such removal and reinterment against the Commissioner of Highways. Insofar as possible and reasonable, the court shall consider the wishes of the next of kin of those interred in such graves in making the determination as to a suitable repository and manner of removal and reinterment. All other proceedings in the condemnation of such land and the determination of just compensation for such taking and damages suffered shall be conducted in accordance with the statutes made and provided for the exercise of the power of eminent domain by the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1950, § 33-75.4; 1960, c. 308; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-136; 2014, c. 805.