Title 19: Highways
Chapter 3: TOWN HIGHWAYS
19 V.S.A. § 305. Measurement and inspection
§ 305. Measurement and inspection
(a) After reasonable notice to the selectboard, a representative of the agency may measure and inspect the class 1, 2, and 3 town highways in each town to verify the accuracy of the records on file with the agency. Upon request, the selectboard or their designee shall be permitted to accompany the representative of the agency during the measurement and inspection. The agency shall notify the town when any highway, or portion of a highway, does not meet the standards for its assigned class. If the town fails, within one year, to restore the highway or portion of the highway to the accepted standard, or to reclassify, or to discontinue, or develop an acceptable schedule for restoring to the accepted standards, the agency for purposes of apportionment under section 306 of this title shall deduct the affected mileage from that assigned to the town for the particular class of the road in question.
(b) Annually, on or before February 10, the selectboard shall file with the town clerk a sworn statement of the description and measurements of all class 1, 2, 3, and 4 town highways and trails then in existence, including any special designation such as a throughway or scenic highway. When class 1, 2, 3, or 4 town highways, trails, or unidentified corridors are accepted, discontinued, or reclassified, a copy of the proceedings shall be filed in the town clerk's office and a copy shall be forwarded to the agency.
(c) All class 1, 2, 3, and 4 town highways and trails shall appear on the town highway maps by July 1, 2015.
(d) At least 45 days prior to first including a town highway or trail that is not clearly observable by physical evidence of its use as a highway or trail and that is legally established prior to February 10, 2006 in the sworn statement required under subsection (b) of this section, the legislative body of the municipality shall provide written notice and an opportunity to be heard at a duly warned meeting of the legislative body to persons owning lands through which a highway or trail passes or abuts.
(e) The agency shall not accept any change in mileage until the records required to be filed in the town clerk's office by this section are received by the agency. A request by a municipality to the agency for a change in mileage shall include a description of the affected highway or trail, a copy of any surveys of the affected highway or trail, minutes of meetings at which the legislative body took action with respect to the changes, and a current town highway map with the requested deletions and additions sketched on it. A survey shall not be required for class 4 town highways that are legally established prior to February 10, 2006. All records filed with the agency are subject to verification in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.
(f) The selectboard of any town who are aggrieved by a finding of the agency concerning the measurement, description, or classification of a town highway may appeal to the transportation board by filing a notice of appeal with the executive secretary of the transportation board.
(g) The agency shall provide each town with a map of all of the highways in that town together with the mileage of each class 1, 2, 3, and 4 highway, as well as each trail, and such other information as the agency deems appropriate.
(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subchapter 7 of chapter 7 of this title, on or before July 1, 2010, a municipality's legislative body may vote to discontinue all town highways that are not otherwise clearly observable by physical evidence of their use as a highway or trail and that are not included as such on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways filed with the town clerk on February 10 of that year pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. For the purposes of this section, a town highway shall be deemed to be included on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways if:
(1) a petition has been filed with the legislative body by persons who are either voters or landowners, and whose number is at least five percent of the voters in a municipality desiring to include that town highway on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways, prior to the vote taken under this subsection; or
(2) the legislative body has voted at an annual or special meeting duly warned for the purpose to include that town highway on the sworn certificate of the description and measurement of town highways, prior to the vote taken under this subsection.
(i)(1) Prior to a vote to discontinue town highways provided in subsection (h) of this section, the legislative body shall hold a public informational hearing on the question by posting warnings at least 30 days prior to the hearing in at least two public places within the municipality and in the town clerk's office. The notice shall include the most recently available map of all town highways prepared by the agency of transportation pursuant to subsection (g) of this section. At least 30 days prior to the hearing, the legislative body shall also deliver the warning and map together with proof of receipt or mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each of the following:
(A) The chair of any municipal planning commission in the municipality;
(B) The chair of a conservation commission, established under chapter 118 of Title 24, in the municipality;
(C) The chair of the legislative body of each abutting municipality;
(D) The executive director of the regional planning commission of the area in which the municipality is located;
(E) The commissioner of forests, parks and recreation; and
(F) The secretary of transportation.
(2) The hearing shall be held within the 10 days preceding the meeting at which the legislative body will vote whether to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section.
(j) The legislative body may designate a specific highway or portion thereof proposed to be discontinued as a trail, in which case the right-of-way shall be continued at the width provided for in section 702 of this title. A designation of a highway or portion thereof as a trail under the provisions of this section shall be in writing, setting forth a complete description of the highway or portion thereof so designated. For all highways not designated as a trail and discontinued pursuant to this section, title to the rights-of-way shall belong to the owners of the abutting lands. If the right-of-way is located between the lands of two different owners, it shall be returned to the lots to which it originally belonged, if they can be determined; if not, it shall be equally divided between the owners of the lands on each side. The legislative body shall return a report of its actions to the town clerk's office and the agency of transportation.
(k) A vote pursuant to subsection (h) of this section may be disapproved by a vote of a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality voting on the question at an annual or special meeting duly warned for the purpose pursuant to a petition that is:
(1) signed by not less than five percent of the qualified voters of the municipality; and
(2) presented to the legislative body or the clerk of the municipality within 44 days following the vote taken pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.
(l) When a petition is submitted in accordance with subsection (k) of this section, the legislative body shall call a special meeting within 60 days from the date of receipt of the petition or include an article in the warning for the next annual meeting of the municipality if the annual meeting falls within the 60-day period to determine whether the voters will disapprove the discontinuance of town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section.
(m) No fewer than two copies of a notice that the legislative body has voted to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section shall be posted at each polling place during the hours of voting, and copies thereof shall be made available to voters at the polls upon request.
(n) If a petition for an annual or a special meeting is duly submitted in accordance with this section to determine whether the vote of the legislative body to discontinue all town highways as provided in subsection (h) of this section shall be disapproved by the voters of the municipality, the discontinuance shall take effect on the conclusion of the meeting or at such later date as is specified in the discontinuance unless a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question at the meeting vote to disapprove the discontinuance, in which event it shall not take effect. (Added 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1995, No. 60, § 21a, eff. April 25, 1995; 2005, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 50, §§ 69, 70.)