House Bill #7383 (2018)

AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY - TRESPASS AND ACTIONS FOR POSSESSION

Prohibits encroachment upon open space land and allows the owner of open space land or holder of a conservation restriction to bring a civil action in superior court to remedy the encroachment of that land, and to recover damages.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2018 – H 7383
  • 2018 – H 7383 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC004213
  • LC004213/SUB A
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2018
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PROPERTY - TRESPASS AND ACTIONS FOR POSSESSION
  • Introduced By: Representatives Keable, Kennedy, Canario, Edwards, and Blazejewski
  • Date Introduced: February 01, 2018
  • Referred To: House Judiciary
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Chapter 34-20 of the General Laws entitled "Trespass and Actions for Possession" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
  • 34-20-1.1. Damages for willful encroachment on state, municipal or nonprofit land conservation organization open space land - Civil Action.
  • (a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words and terms shall have given to them the meanings set forth below, unless the context indicates another or different meaning or intent:
  • (1) "Encroach" means to conduct an activity that causes damage or alteration to the land or vegetation or other features thereon, including, but not limited to, erecting buildings or other structures, constructing roads, driveways or trails, destroying or moving stone walls, cutting trees or other vegetation, removing boundary markers, installing lawns or utilities, or using, storing, or depositing vehicles, materials or debris.
  • (2) "Open space land" means and includes, but is not limited to, any park, forest, wildlife management area, refuge, preserve, sanctuary, green or wildlife area owned by the state, a political subdivision of the state or a nonprofit land conservation organization.
  • (b) No person may encroach or cause another person to encroach on open space land or on any land for which the state, a political subdivision of the state or a nonprofit land conservation organization holds a conservation easement interest, without permission of the owner of such open space land or holder of such conservation easement or without other legal authorization.
  • (c) Any owner of open space land, or holder of an interest in a conservation easement subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, may bring an action in the superior court for the county where the land is located against any person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section with respect to such owner's land or land subject to such conservation easement. The court shall order any person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section to restore the land to its condition as it existed prior to such violation or shall award the landowner the costs of such restoration, including reasonable management costs necessary to achieve such restoration. In addition, the court may award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs and such injunctive or equitable relief as the court deems appropriate.
  • (d) In addition to any damages and relief ordered pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the court may award damages of up to five (5) times the cost of restoration or statutory damages of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000). In determining the amount of the award, the court shall consider the willfulness of the violation, the extent of damage done to natural resources, if any, the appraised value of any trees or shrubs cut, damaged, or carried away as determined in accordance with the latest revision of The Guide for Plant Appraisal, as published by the International Society of Arboriculture, Urbana, Illinois, or a succeeding publisher, any economic gain realized by the violator, and any other relevant factors.
  • 34-20-1.1. Damages for willful encroachment on state, municipal or nonprofit land conservation organization open space land - Civil action.
  • (a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words and terms shall have given to them the meanings set forth below, unless the context indicates another or different meaning or intent.
  • (1) "Encroach" means to conduct an activity that causes substantial damage or alteration to the land or vegetation or other features thereon, including, but not limited to, erecting buildings or other structures, constructing roads, driveways or trails, destroying or moving stone walls, cutting trees or other vegetation, other than de minimus cutting, removing boundary markers, installing lawns or utilities, or using, storing, or depositing vehicles, substantial amounts of materials or debris.
  • (2) "Nonprofit land conservation organization" means a not-for-profit entity organized with a mission of permanently protecting open space land for conservation purposes.
  • (3) "Open space land" means and includes, but is not limited to, any park, forest, wildlife management area, refuge, preserve, sanctuary, green or wildlife area owned, or held pursuant to a conservation restriction as defined in § 34-39-1 et seq., by the state, a political subdivision of the state, or a nonprofit land conservation organization.
  • (b) No person may encroach or cause another person to encroach on open space land without permission of the owner of such open space land or holder of such conservation restriction on said open space land or without other legal authorization.
  • (c) Any owner, or holder of a conservation restriction as defined above in open space land, subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, may bring an action in the superior court for the county where the land is located against any person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section with respect to such owner's land or land subject to such conservation restriction. The court shall order any person who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section to restore the land to its condition as it existed prior to such violation or shall award the landowner the costs of such restoration, including reasonable management costs necessary to achieve such restoration. In addition, the court may award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs and such injunctive or equitable relief as the court deems appropriate.
  • (d) In addition to any damages and relief ordered pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the court may award damages of up to five (5) times the cost of restoration or statutory damages of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000). In determining the amount of the award, the court shall consider the willfulness of the violation, the extent of damage done to natural resources, if any, the appraised value of any trees or shrubs damaged, or carried away as determined in accordance with the latest revision of The Guide for Plant Appraisal, as published by the International Society of Arboriculture, Urbana, Illinois, or a succeeding publisher, any economic gain realized by the violator, and any other relevant factors.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC004213
  • LC004213/SUB A
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO PROPERTY - TRESPASS AND ACTIONS FOR POSSESSION
  • ***
  • This act would prohibit encroachment upon open space land and would allow the owner of open space land or the holder of a conservation easement to bring a civil action in superior court to remedy the encroachment of that land, and to recover damages resulting from this encroachment.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC004213 ========
  • This act would prohibit encroachment upon open space land and would allow the owner of open space land or the holder of a conservation restriction to bring a civil action in superior court to remedy the encroachment of that land, and to recover damages resulting from this encroachment.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC004213/SUB A ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for PASSAGE

May 09, 2018 at 4:37pm
Yeas: 73 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 2 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Amore NV
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino Y
Rep. Coughlin Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Cunha Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Giarrusso Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hearn Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian Y
Rep. Keable Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lancia Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marshall Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendonca Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Morgan Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardolillo Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Nunes Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. O'Grady NV
Rep. Perez Y
Rep. Phillips Y
Rep. Price Y
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Regunberg Y
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y
Rep. Winfield Y