2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Lott
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 11-27-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROHIBIT USE OF THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN FOR CERTAIN PRIVATE, NONGOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES; TO AMEND SECTION 11-27-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE NOTICE REQUIREMENTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 11-27-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-1. (1) Any person or corporation having the right to condemn private property for public use shall exercise that right as provided in this chapter, except as elsewhere specifically provided under the laws of the State of Mississippi.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or any other provisions of law to the contrary, the right of eminent domain shall not be exercised for the purposes of converting privately owned real property for retail, office, commercial, industrial or residential development; or primarily for enhancement of tax revenue; or solely for economic development purposes; or for transfer to a person, nongovernmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation or other business entity. Farmland shall not be declared blighted in order to justify the use of eminent domain. Any condemning authority must declare property other than farmland to be blighted or must demonstrate that taking the property constitutes a genuine public use.
(3) Property condemned pursuant to any provision of law, if not used for the purpose or purposes for which it was condemned or for some other public use, that subsequently is determined to be sold shall be offered first for sale to the person or persons from whom the property was condemned, or to his or her known or ascertainable heirs or assigns, at the price paid for the property together with the fair market value of any improvements thereon, less such amount, if any, as the person or persons from whom the property was condemned shows by good and sufficient documentation to be the amount of income and transaction taxes, if any, actually paid in connection therewith. However, if the offer is not accepted within ninety (90) days from the date it is made, the property may be sold to any other person, but only at public sale after legal notice is given.
(4) Condemning entities shall pay twenty-five percent (25%) above the market value for homes taken by eminent domain plus all relocation costs. Farmland held by the same family for twenty-five (25) years or more shall be valued at one hundred percent (100%) plus an additional one percent (1%) for each year of ownership, with a minimum of one hundred twenty-five percent (125%) and a maximum of one hundred fifty percent (150%) as the value that must be paid.
(5) For the purposes of this section, the term "blighted property" means property that contains any of the following factors:
(a) The presence of structures, buildings or improvements, which, because of dilapidation, deterioration, or unsanitary or unsafe conditions, vacancy or abandonment, neglect or lack of maintenance, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation, vermin infestation or lack of necessary facilities and equipment, are unfit for human habitation or occupancy.
(b) The existence of high density of population and overcrowding or the existence of structures which are fire hazards or are otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons or property or any combination of the factors.
(c) The presence of a substantial number of properties having defective or unusual conditions of title which make the free transfer or alienation of the properties unlikely or impossible.
(d) The presence of structures from which the utilities, plumbing, heating, sewerage or other facilities have been disconnected, destroyed, removed or rendered ineffective so that the property is unfit for its intended use.
(e) The presence of excessive vacant land on which structures were previously located which, by reason of neglect or lack of maintenance, has become overgrown with noxious weeds, is a place for accumulation of trash and debris or a haven for mosquitoes, rodents or other vermin where the owner refuses to remedy the problem after notice by the appropriate governing body.
(f) The presence of property which, because of physical condition, use or occupancy, constitutes a public nuisance or attractive nuisance where the owner refuses to remedy the problem after notice by the appropriate governing body.
(g) The presence of property with code violations affecting health or safety that has not been substantially rehabilitated within the time periods required by the applicable codes.
(h) The presence of property that has tax delinquencies exceeding the value of the property.
(i) The presence of property which, by reason of environmental contamination, poses a threat to public health or safety in its present condition.
SECTION 2. Section 11-27-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-7. The complaint shall be filed with the circuit clerk and shall be assigned a number and placed on the docket as other pleadings in circuit court or county court. The plaintiff shall also file a lis pendens notice in the office of the chancery clerk immediately after filing the complaint. The circuit clerk, or the plaintiff by his attorney, shall forthwith present such complaint to the circuit judge or county judge, as the case may be, who shall by written order directed to the circuit clerk fix the time and place for the hearing of the matter, in termtime or vacation, and the time of hearing shall be fixed on a date to allow sufficient time for each defendant named to be served with process as is otherwise provided by the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, for not less than sixty (60) days prior to the hearing. If a defendant, or other party in interest, shall not be served for the specified time prior to the date fixed, the hearing shall be continued to a day certain to allow the sixty-day period specified. Not less than twenty (20) days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, the plaintiff shall file with the circuit clerk and serve upon the defendants, or their respective attorneys, a statement showing: (1) the fair market value of the property to be condemned, determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint; (2) the damages, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken, giving a total compensation and damages to be due as determined by the plaintiff; and (3) a detailed disclosure of all rights and remedies available to the defendant. Not less than ten (10) days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, each of the defendants shall file with the circuit clerk and serve upon the plaintiff, or his attorney, a statement showing: (1) the fair market value of the property to be condemned, determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint; (2) the damages, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken, giving a total compensation and damages to be due as determined by the defendants. In each such instance, both the plaintiff and the defendant shall set out in such statement the asserted highest and best use of the property and shall itemize the elements of damage, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken. The statements required by this section shall constitute the pleadings of the parties with respect to the issue of value, and shall be treated as pleadings are treated in civil actions in the circuit court. The judge, for good cause shown, may increase or decrease the time for pleading by the plaintiff or by the defendant.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.