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Substitute House Bill No. 5092

Public Act No. 15-147

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCONTINUANCE OF HIGHWAYS AND PRIVATE WAYS BY MUNICIPALITIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 13a-49 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015, and applicable to discontinuances or partial discontinuances proposed to take effect on or after said date):

(a) (1) The selectmen of any town may, subject to approval by a majority vote at any regular or special town meeting, as applicable, by a writing signed by them, discontinue any highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, in its entirety, or may discontinue any [portion] part thereof or any property right of the town or public therein, except when laid out by a court or the General Assembly, and except where such highway is within a city, or within a borough having control of highways within its limits. [Any]

(2) Whenever the selectmen of a town meet to take final action on the discontinuance or partial discontinuance of a highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, the selectmen shall provide written notice of their meeting to each owner of property that bounds such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such. If, in the opinion of the selectmen, the boundary lines or limits of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, have become lost or uncertain, the selectmen shall make reasonable efforts to identify the boundary lines or limits of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, and shall give notice of such meeting to each owner of property that bounds such identified boundary line or limit in accordance with this subdivision. Such reasonable efforts need not include an examination of title, or abstracts thereof, or a land survey. The notice required pursuant to this subdivision shall not be required if the selectmen make a finding on the record, supported by articulated fact, that (A) such owner's property does not bound a part of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, or identified boundary line or limit of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, that is being discontinued, (B) such notice is not necessary, and (C) such property would not lose its sole access to a highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, because of such discontinuance or partial discontinuance. Such notice shall be provided by mailing a notice of the date, time, place and subject of such meeting of the selectmen to such owner at such owner's address, as shown on the last-completed grand list of the town, by first class mail postmarked not less than thirty days prior to the date of such meeting. Thirty days prior to the date of such meeting, the town shall post a sign conspicuously on both ends of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, or part thereof, which shall include the date, time, place and subject of such meeting, except that such sign shall only be required on one end of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, if the selectmen make a finding on the record, supported by articulated fact, that such sign is only necessary on one end of such highway or private way, or land dedicated as such.

(3) If the town discontinues any highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, or discontinues any part thereof or any property right of the town or public therein in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section, the selectmen shall (A) provide written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such discontinuance or partial discontinuance to the same persons to whom notice was sent pursuant to subdivision (2) of this section, and (B) after such written notice is sent, cause to be recorded on the land records of the town a notice of such discontinuance or partial discontinuance, which notice shall include (i) a listing of each parcel of property for which notice was required to be sent pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, (ii) the name of the owner of each such parcel of property as shown in the last-completed grand list of the town, and (iii) the current assessor's map, block and lot number for each such parcel.

(4) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, any person aggrieved [may be relieved by application] by a discontinuance or partial discontinuance under this subsection may, not later than one hundred twenty days after notice of discontinuance or partial discontinuance is recorded on the land records of the town pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, apply to the [Superior Court, to be made and proceeded with] superior court for the judicial district in which such town is located, in the manner prescribed in section 13a-62, as amended by this act.

(B) Any owner of property who is aggrieved by the failure to receive the meeting notice required under subdivision (2) of this subsection may apply to the superior court for the judicial district in which such town is located not later than one hundred twenty days after notice of discontinuance or partial discontinuance is recorded on the land records of the town pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection. No discontinuance or partial discontinuance shall be invalidated by such court on the basis of the selectmen's failure to provide the meeting notice required under subdivision (2) of this subsection to an owner of property if the town establishes that (i) a meeting notice that meets the requirements of subdivision (2) of this subsection was mailed in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection to such owner's address, as shown in the applicable last-completed grand list of the town, or (ii) the selectmen made a good faith effort to identify the parcels of property that bound the highway or private way, or land dedicated as such, or such identified boundary line or limit, in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, and mailed notice in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection to each owner of such identified parcels of property, as shown in the applicable last-completed grand list of the town.

(b) Whenever a petition has been presented to the selectmen for such discontinuance or partial discontinuance of any land dedicated as a highway or private way but which has not been actually used, worked or accepted [,] as a highway [,] by the town, and such discontinuance or partial discontinuance has not been made by the selectmen and approved by the town within twelve months after such presentation, any person aggrieved may [be relieved by application to said court, to be made and proceeded with] apply to the superior court for the judicial district in which such town is located, in the manner prescribed in section 13a-62, as amended by this act.

Sec. 2. Section 13a-62 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

Any person aggrieved by the doings of the selectmen in laying out a highway may, within [eight months] one hundred twenty days after the survey thereof has been accepted by the town, apply to the superior court for the judicial district in which such town is located for relief, causing such selectmen to be cited to show cause why such relief should not be granted. Such application shall be heard and determined by a committee of three disinterested persons to be appointed by the court. If such committee finds that such highway is not of common convenience and necessity, said court shall set aside such layout, and, if said court sets aside such layout, the costs shall be paid by the town; but, if such committee finds that such highway is of common convenience and necessity, the application shall be dismissed with costs. The report of such committee may be set aside by the court for any irregularity or improper conduct on its part. Proceedings under this section shall not prevent or delay the opening or occupation of such highway.

Approved June 30, 2015