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Section: Acquisition of land; condemnation; procedure for immediate possession
The commissioner may acquire lands or rights therein whether for immediate or future use by gift, devise or purchase, or by condemnation in the manner provided in chapter 1 of the Title Eminent Domain (s. 20:1-1 et seq.), except as otherwise provided by this section. Upon the institution of an action to fix the compensation to be paid, or at any time thereafter, the department may file with the Clerk of the Superior Court a declaration of taking, signed by the commissioner, or such employees of the highway department as may be designated by him, declaring that the possession of one or more of the tracts or parcels of property described in the petition is thereby being taken by and for the use of the department. The declaration of taking shall be sufficient if it sets forth (1) a description of each tract or parcel of property to be taken; (2) a statement of the estate or interest in the said property being taken; and (3) a statement of the sum of money estimated by the department to be just compensation for the taking. Upon the filing of said declaration, the department shall deposit with the Clerk of the Superior Court the amount of the estimated compensation stated in said declaration. Upon the filing of the declaration and the depositing with the Clerk of the Superior Court the amount of the estimated compensation as stated in the declaration, the department, without other process or proceedings shall be entitled to the exclusive possession and use of each tract or parcel of property described in the declaration and may forthwith enter into and take possession of said property, it being the intent of this provision that the action to fix the compensation to be paid or any other proceeding relating to the taking of such property or entering therein shall not delay the taking of possession and the use thereof by the department for purposes authorized by this act. The department shall not abandon any condemnation proceeding subsequent to the date upon which it has taken possession of the property as herein provided. The department shall cause notice of the filing of said declaration and the making of said deposit to be served upon each party to the action to fix the compensation to be paid, who resides in this State, either personally or by leaving a copy hereof at his residence, and upon each such party who resides out of the State by mailing 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 the newspaper published or circulating in the county or counties in which the property is located. Such service, mailing or publishing shall be made within 20 days after the filing the declaration. Upon the application of any party in interest and after notice to other parties in interest, including the department and the Director of the Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury, the Superior Court may direct that the money deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court or any part thereof to be paid forthwith, without deduction of any fees or commissions, to the person or persons entitled thereto for or on account of the just compensation to be awarded in such action; provided, that each person shall have filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court a consent in writing that, in the event the award in the action shall be less than the amount deposited, the court, after such notice as the court prescribes and a hearing, may determine the liability, if any, for the return of such difference or any part thereof and enter judgment therefor. If the amount of the award as finally determined by the court shall exceed the amount so deposited, the person or persons to whom the award is payable shall be entitled to recover from the department 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 the making of the deposit. If the amount of the award 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 department unless the amount of the deposit or any part thereof shall have theretofore been distributed, in which event the court, upon application of the department and notice to all parties interested in the award and affording them an opportunity to be heard, shall enter judgment in favor of the department for such difference against the party or parties liable for the return thereof. Amended by L.1965, c. 79, s. 1; L.1966, c. 155, s. 1, eff. June 18, 1966.
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