156-74.  Adjudication upon final report.

At the date set for hearing any landowner may appear in person or by counsel and file his objection in writing to the report of the viewers; and it shall be the duty of the court to carefully review the report of the viewers and the objections filed thereto, and make such changes as are necessary to render substantial and equal justice to all the landowners in the district. If, in the opinion of the court, the cost of construction, together with the amount of damages assessed, is not greater than the benefits that will accrue to the land affected, the court shall confirm the report of the viewers. If, however, the court finds that the cost of construction, together with the damages assessed, is greater than the resulting benefit that will accrue to the lands affected, the court shall dismiss the proceedings at the cost of the petitioners, and the sureties upon the bond so filed by them shall be liable for such costs. Provided, that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources may remit and release to the petitioners the costs expended by the board on account of the engineer and his assistants. The court may from time to time collect from the petitioners such amounts as may be necessary to pay costs accruing, other than costs of the engineer and his assistants, such amounts to be repaid from the special tax hereby authorized.

The court shall, at the time of consideration of said report, determine whether:

(1)        The petitioners constitute a majority of the resident landowners, whose lands are adjudged to be benefited by the proposed construction work as shown in the final report of the board of viewers and finally approved by the court; or

(2)        The petitioners own three fifths of the land area which is adjudged to be benefited by the proposed construction work as shown in the final report of the board of viewers and finally approved by the court.

If the petitioners do not constitute either a majority of the resident landowners or own three fifths of the land as set out in subdivisions (1) or (2) above, then the proceedings shall be dismissed. (1909, c. 442, s. 16; 1915, c. 238, s. 2; 1917, c. 152, s. 16; C.S., s. 5332; 1925, c. 122, s. 4; 1959, c. 1312, s. 1; 1961, c. 1198; 1973, c. 1262, s. 23; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1989, c. 727, s. 218(158); 1997-443, s. 11A.123.)