OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6637 (as amended by House “A”)*

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

SUMMARY:

This bill requires town selectmen to notify abutting property owners when the selectmen propose to discontinue all or part of a highway, private way, or land dedicated for such use. It requires the selectmen to record certain information on the land records if they vote to approve the discontinuance. These provisions apply only if the selectmen propose or vote on a discontinuance at a regular or special town meeting on or after October 1, 2013.

By law, with limited exceptions, selectmen can discontinue all or part of a highway, private way, or land dedicated to these uses. The discontinuance is subject to approval by majority vote at a regular or special town meeting.

The bill also specifies that any person aggrieved by the discontinuance or partial discontinuance may apply to the Superior Court for the judicial district in which the town is located for relief. Such application must be filed within eight months; presumably this period begins to run when the discontinuance is approved.

Lastly, the bill makes technical changes.

*House Amendment “A” (1) limits the application of the provisions of the bill to partial or complete discontinuances considered or approved on or after October 1, 2013; (2) requires notice when discontinuance is proposed, rather than completed; (3) makes other changes to the notice requirement; (4) requires a notice of the discontinuance to be filed on the land records, rather than with the town clerk; and (5) makes minor and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013, and applicable to discontinuances or partial discontinuances considered or approved on or after that date.

PROPOSING A DISCONTINUACE

Under the bill, if the selectmen meet to consider a discontinuance, they must notify the owner of each property that bounds the highway, private way, or dedicated land. The notice must (1) include the date, time, place, and subject of the meeting and (2) be sent by first class mail at least 15 days before the meeting to each property owner's address, as shown on the most recent grand list (see BACKGROUND). If the selectmen believe that the boundary lines of a highway or private way have become lost or are uncertain, they must make reasonable efforts to identify the lines and notify the owners using these lines. The reasonable efforts do not have to include (1) examining titles or abstracts or (2) a land survey.

RECORDING AN APPROVED DISCONTINUANCE

If the selectmen approve a discontinuance, the bill requires that they cause a notice of the approval to be recorded in the land records. The approval notice must include (1) a listing of each parcel that bounds the affected highway, private way, or dedicated land or the lines identified by the selectmen and (2) the name of each owner of the affected parcels, as shown in the most recent grand list.

BACKGROUND

Grand List

The grand list is a listing of all real estate parcels within a municipality. The listing generally includes (1) property owner's address, (2) property location, and (3) appraised value.

Related Law

CGS 13a-55 gives property owners bounding a partially or completely discontinued or abandoned highway a right-of-way to the nearest or most accessible highway.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

43

Nay

1

(04/12/2013)

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

11

Nay

6

(05/14/2013)