The district, its agents, officers, engineers or others in its employ, may enter at all times upon all lands or waters for the purpose of making surveys, borings, soundings and examinations for the purpose of the district, doing no unnecessary injury to private or other property. When the district shall have determined upon the construction of any particular project facility or structure authorized by this act, it may proceed to condemn and take land or water rights and structures necessary therefor in accordance with chapter 1 of Title 20, of the Revised Statutes (Eminent Domain) and may also proceed to acquire, purchase, take and hold such voluntary grants of real estate, riparian rights and other property above or under water as may be necessary to complete said project.
(a) Upon the filing by an authority of a complaint in any action to fix the compensation to be paid for any property or at any time thereafter, the authority may file with the clerk of the county in which such property is located and also with the Clerk of the Superior Court a declaration of taking, signed by the authority, declaring that possession of one or more of the tracts or parcels of land or property described in the complaint is thereby being taken by and for the use of the authority. The said declaration of taking shall be sufficient if it sets forth (a) a description of each tract or parcel of land or property to be so taken sufficient for the identification thereof to which there may or may not be attached a plan or map thereof, (b) a statement of the estate or interest in the said land or property being taken, (c) a statement of the sum of money estimated by the authority by resolution to be just compensation for the taking of the estate or interest in each tract or parcel of land or property described in said declaration, and (d) an allegation that, in compliance with the provisions of this act, the authority has established and is maintaining a trust fund as hereinafter provided.
(b) Upon the filing by an authority of a declaration of taking of property as provided in this act, the authority shall deposit with the Clerk of the Superior Court the amount of the estimated compensation stated in such declaration. In addition to the said deposits with the Clerk of the Superior Court, the authority at all times shall maintain a fund on deposit with a bank or trust company doing business in the State in an amount at least equal to the aggregate amount deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court as estimated compensation for all property described in declarations of taking with respect to which the compensation has not been finally determined and paid to the persons entitled thereto or into court. Said fund shall consist of cash or securities readily convertible into cash constituting legal investments for trust funds under the laws of the State or may consist of all or some part of the proceeds of bonds of the authority held by any trustee for the holders of such bonds and available for payment for the land or other property described in such declarations of taking. Said fund shall be held by or on behalf of the authority to secure and may be applied to the payment of just compensation for the land or other property described in such declarations of taking. The authority shall be entitled to withdraw from said fund from time to time so much as may then be in excess of the aggregate amount deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court as estimated compensation for all land or other property described in declarations of taking with respect to which the compensation has not been finally determined and paid to the persons entitled thereto or into court.
(c) Upon the filing by an authority of a declaration of taking of property as provided in this act and the depositing with the Clerk of the Superior Court of the amount of the estimated compensation stated in said declaration, the authority, without other process or proceedings, shall be entitled to the exclusive possession and use of each tract of land or property described in said declaration and may forthwith enter into and take possession of said land or property, it being the intent of this provision that the action to fix compensation to be paid or any other proceedings relating to the taking of said land or interest therein or other property shall not delay the taking of possession thereof and the use thereof by the authority for the purpose or purposes for which the authority is authorized by law to acquire or condemn such land or other property or interest therein.
(d) Each authority shall cause notice of the filing of a declaration of taking of property as provided in this act and of the making of the deposit required by this act with respect thereto to be served upon each party to the action to fix the compensation to be paid who resides in the State, either personally or by leaving a copy thereof at his residence if known, and upon each such party who resides out of the State, by mailing a copy thereof to him at his residence if known. In the event that the residence of any such party or the name of such party is unknown, such notice shall be published at least once in a newspaper published or circulating in the county or counties in which the property is located. Such service, mailing or publication shall be made within 30 days after filing such declaration. Upon the application of any party in interest and after notice to other parties in interest, including the authority, the Superior Court may direct that the money deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court or any part thereof be paid forthwith to the person or persons entitled thereto for or on account of the just compensation to be awarded in such action, provided that each such person shall have filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court a consent in writing that, in the event the award in the said action shall be less than the amount deposited, the court, after such notice as the court prescribes and hearing, may determine his liability, if any, for the return of the difference or any part thereof and enter judgment therefor. If the amount of the award as finally determined shall exceed the amount so deposited, the person or persons to whom the award is payable shall be entitled to recover from the authority the difference between the amount of the deposit and the amount of the award, with interest at the rate of 6% per annum thereon from the date of making the deposit. If the amount of the award as so determined shall be less than the amount so deposited, the Clerk of the Superior Court shall return the difference between the amount of the award and the deposit to the authority unless the deposit or any part thereof shall have theretofore been distributed, in which event the court, on application of the authority and notice to all persons interested in the award and affording them an opportunity to be heard, shall enter judgment in favor of the authority for the difference against the party or parties liable for the return thereof.
(e) The authority shall not abandon any condemnation proceeding subsequent to the date upon which it has taken possession of the land or property as provided in this act.
L.1967, c. 184, s. 15, eff. July 27, 1967.
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