Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The Town Council is authorized to lay out ways therein and may, at any time within two years after the passage of an order laying out, relocating, altering, widening, grading or discontinuing a way and after the work has been completed or the way has been discontinued, if such order declares that such action has been taken under the provisions of law authorizing the assessments of betterments, and if in its opinion any land receives a benefit or advantage therefrom beyond the general advantage to all land in the town, determine the value of such benefit or advantage to such land and assess upon the same a proportional share of the cost of such laying out, relocation, alteration, widening, grading or discontinuance; but no assessment shall exceed 1/2 of the amount of such adjudged benefit or advantage.
The Town Clerk shall notify all abutters who shall be affected by a vote of the Town Council which will affect them under the town's Betterment Act. This notice shall be mailed no less than 30 days before the Council meeting at which the vote thereon shall be taken. In case of special meetings, two weeks shall be sufficient.
A. 
If such assessment is invalid and has not been paid or has been recovered back, it may be reassessed by the Town Council to the amount for which the original assessment ought to have been made, and it shall be a lien upon the land and shall be collected in the same manner as reassessed taxes.
B. 
The cost so assessed shall include all damages for land and buildings taken. The damages for land taken shall be fixed at the value thereof before such laying out, relocation, alteration, widening, grading or discontinuance and shall also include the value of all buildings on the land a part of which is taken, deducting therefrom the value of materials removed and of all buildings or parts of buildings remaining thereon. Such cost shall be paid in the manner and upon the conditions required in like proceedings.
An owner of land abutting on any such way liable to such assessment may give notice, in writing, to the Town Council before the estimate of damages is made that he elects to surrender his land, and if the Town Council adjudges that the public convenience and necessity require the taking of such abutting estate for the improvements named, it may take the whole thereof and shall thereupon estimate its value, excluding the benefit or advantage accruing from such improvements. Such owner shall convey the estate to the town and may recover therefrom in any action of contract the value so estimated. The town may sell any portion of such land which is not needed for such improvements.
If any owner any time before demand gives notice to the Town Council to apportion the assessment into three equal parts and certify its apportionment to the assessors, who shall add one of such parts, with interest from the date of the apportionment, to the annual tax of such land for each of three years next ensuing. All such assessments which remain unpaid after they become due shall bear interest until the payment thereof.
A. 
A person who is aggrieved by the doings of the Town Council may within one year file a petition in the Superior Court for the county in which the land is situated and after notice to the land shall have a trial by a jury therein, and upon request of either party the jury shall take a view.
B. 
If the jury does not reduce the assessment, the respondent shall recover costs, which shall be a lien upon the land and shall be collected in the same manner as the assessment; but if the jury reduces the assessment, the petitioner shall recover costs.
If any assessment is made upon land the whole or part of which is leased, the owner shall pay the assessment and may collect of the lessee an additional rent for the portion so leased equal to 10% per annum on that portion of the amount paid which the leased portion bears to the whole estate after deducting from the whole amount any money received for damages to such land in excess of what he has necessarily expended thereon by reason of such damages.