Private property protection matters

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 340 authored by Sen. Spartz regarding  private property protection matters. The bill:

  • Requires the summons accompanying a complaint for condemnation to include language regarding the defendant’s right to object to the condemnation within 30 days from the date notice is served;
  • Requires a court to award reasonable costs and attorney’s fees to a defendant whose objection to a complaint for condemnation is sustained;
  • Requires a municipality provide notice by mail to affected owners, both residents and nonresidents of the municipality, of a condemnation;
  • Permits an affected owner to file an objection that a municipality does not have the right to exercise the power of eminent domain for the use sought;
  • Amends the time for a remonstrance hearing for a municipal condemnation and the defendant’s right to judicial review of the decision made at the hearing to 30 days. (Current law requires a remonstrance hearing to be set later than 10 days after notice and the defendant to appeal the decision within 20 days.);
  • Provides parties the right to appeal a court’s judgment in the judicial review of a municipal condemnation;
  • Amends the statute regarding the award of attorney’s fees to the defendant in a municipal condemnation proceeding;
  • Revises the statute allowing a municipality to condemn property for economic development to require a 3/4 affirmative vote of the municipality’s legislative body to exercise the power of eminent domain. (Current law requires a 2/3 affirmative vote of the municipality’s legislative body.); and
  • Allows a property owner to challenge a condemnation for economic development purposes by providing clear and convincing evidence that the owner’s parcel is not necessary for the project.

The bill was amended by consent to correct non-substantive language and to add a paragraph which clarified that the notice provided to property owners referenced in the bill must be in substantially the same form as the eminent domain notice to appear form found in Ind. Code § 32-24-1-6(a).  The amended bill passed 9-1.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/340.