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ACT NO. 150


Miscellaneous Transportation Law; Aircraft; Railroads; Necessity Hearings

This act:

(1) Corrects the definition of "restricted landing area" in Title 5 dealing with aeronautics law by substituting a reference to "agency" for an obsolete reference to "transportation board".

(2) Clarifies the circumstances triggering the requirement to file an aircraft accident report with the agency of transportation.

(3) Clarifies that it is the responsibility of the owner of a wrecked aircraft, once all on-site rescue and investigatory processes are completed, to remove aircraft wreckage from the crash site.

(4) Repeals several of Vermont's aeronautics statutes that have become obsolete because of federal preemption.

(5) Clarifies that the agency of transportation's establishment of a "whistle ban" at a railroad-highway grade crossing does not increase a municipality's exposure to tort liability.

(6) Amends the definition in Title 10 of "official traffic control signs" to include agricultural fairs and expositions.

(7) Deletes an obsolete requirement for the agency of transportation to make biennial modifications to a hard copy map of the state highway system.

(8) Simplifies in the condemnation law the procedure for providing municipal officials with copies of the necessity petition and the notice of hearing, and by providing that the necessity and propriety of a proposed taking shall be deemed conceded if no party answers or objects to the petition.

(9) Establishes standards for courts to evaluate requests to stay the effect of necessity orders pending appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court.

(10) Allows the agency of transportation to use a less formal process when aproposed project involves only minor alterations to an existing transportation facility.

(11) Allows the agency of transportation to make service of formal legal process only on the condominium association, rather than each individual apartment owner, when a proposed project affects only common areas and facilities of a condominium.

(12) Allows the agency of transportation (in the case of state highways) and selectboards (in the case of town highways) to require permit applicants to pay the expense of recording highway access permits in the land records.

(13) Allows the state traffic committee to authorize the installation of "stop" signs at private and farm railroad grade crossings, not just those crossings involving public highways.

(14) Provides that the penalty for violating temporary speed limits on highways being reconstructed or maintained or where utilities are being installed, relocated or maintained, shall be twice that of nonwork site speed violations.

(15) Prohibits unauthorized persons from plowing snow onto or across state highways and class 1, 2 and 3 town highways.

(16) Eliminates the agency of transportation's present exemption from filing land plats under the Vermont Plat Law.

(17) Eliminates the requirement for the agency of transportation (as successor to the administrative functions of the former state highway board) to prepare mileage certificates used to check the reasonableness of mileage claims submitted for official travel to and from Montpelier.

(18) Provides that no state-owned space in any state-owned buildings or other real property under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of buildings and general services may be leased, occupied or licensed for any purpose for less than its fair market value. Leases or licenses negotiated by the agency of transportation ordinarily shall be for fair market value except when the agency determines that the proposed occupancy or use serves a public purpose or that there exists other relevant factors, such as a prior course of dealing between the parties that justifies setting the rent at less than fair market value.

Effective Date: July 1, 1998