A. When a county is authorized by subsection A of § 15.2-1904 to use the procedures set forth in Chapter 3 (§ 25.1-300 et seq.) of Title 25.1, it shall comply either with the requirements of subsection B or subsection C.
1. No property shall be entered upon and taken by any county before the conclusion of condemnation proceedings unless, prior to entering upon and taking possession of such property or right-of-way, the governing body of the county notifies the owners of the property by certified mail, that it intends to enter upon and take the property. Such notice shall be sent by the date specified in the resolution or ordinance required by § 15.2-1903 and shall set forth the compensation and damages offered by the county to each property owner;
2. Any property owner given notice as provided in subdivision 1 may, within 30 days following the sending of the notice, institute a proceeding in the circuit court of the county, wherein the condemnation proceedings are to be instituted, to determine whether such taking is of such necessity as to justify resort to entry upon the property prior to an agreement between the county and the property owner as to compensation and damages to be paid therefor. Any other property owner affected may intervene. The county shall be served notice as provided by law and shall be made a party defendant. The proceedings shall be placed upon the privileged docket of the court and shall take precedence over all other civil matters pending therein and shall be speedily heard and disposed of. The issue in any such proceeding shall be whether the circumstances are such as to justify an entry upon and taking possession by the county of the property involved prior to an agreement or award upon compensation and damages therefor. If the court is of the opinion that no such necessity exists, and that such manner of taking would work an undue hardship upon any such owner, it shall enter an order requiring the county to proceed by methods of condemnation providing for the determination of compensation and damages for property to be taken prior to such taking, if the county deems it necessary to proceed with the project for which the property is sought; and
3. At any time after the giving of the notice as provided in subdivision 1, upon the filing of an application by the landowner to such effect in the court having jurisdiction, and, in any event, within 120 days after the completion of the project for which the entry and taking of possession prior to condemnation was undertaken, if the county and the owner of such property have been unable to agree as to compensation and damages, if any, caused thereby, the county shall institute condemnation proceedings, and the amount of such compensation and damages, if any, awarded to the owner in such proceeding shall be paid by the county. The authorities constructing such project under the authority of this section shall use diligence to protect growing crops and pastures and to prevent damage to any property not taken. So far as possible all rights-of-way shall be acquired or contracted for before any condemnation is resorted to.
C. As an alternative to the procedure set forth in subsection B, any other laws to the contrary notwithstanding, upon the passage of an ordinance or resolution following a public hearing by the board of supervisors of any county declaring its intent to enter and take certain specified properties for any of the purposes set out in subsection A of § 15.2-1904, which ordinance or resolution shall also state the compensation and damages, if any, offered each property owner by the county and declare the necessity to enter upon and take such property prior to or during the condemnation proceedings, the county, for such purposes set forth in the resolution or ordinance, shall be authorized to institute and conduct condemnation proceedings in accordance with the procedure set forth in Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1, except that (i) the county may institute and conduct condemnation proceedings in accordance with the procedure set forth in Chapter 3 (§ 25.1-300 et seq.) of Title 25.1 and (ii) such proceedings shall be instituted by and conducted in the name of the governing body of the county.
Code 1950, §§ 15-668.1, 15-668.2; 1954, c. 384; 1958, c. 382; 1960, c. 6; 1962, cc. 494, 511, 623, § 15.1-238; 1964, c. 269; 1979, c. 303; 1983, c. 434; 1989, c. 304; 1990, c. 514; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 940.