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32 Stat., 545.
part of a square bounded on all sides by public streets, in the District of Columbia, shall present to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia a petition asking that any alley or alleys within said square or part of square may be closed wholly or partially, and shall in said petition offer to dedicate for public use, and shall so dedicate if in the opinion of the Commissioners of said District such dedication is necessary, as alleyways ground owned by the petitioners in amount equal at least in area to that of the alleyway sought to be closed, and shall also present to said Commissioners with said petition a correct plat of said square or part of square signed by all of the owners thereof, upon which shall be accurately delineated the positions and dimensions of the existing alley way or ways and a subdivision of the entire area of the alley or alleys sought to be closed into parcels, according to an agreement of all said owners for the future owership of the same, the name of the agreed future owner of each parcel being marked thereon, and showing also the position and dimensions of the new alley way or ways proposed to be substituted therefor, it shall be the duty of said Commissioners, upon being satisfied of the truth of the facts stated in the petition as to ownership and of correctness of the plat, and also that the proposed change will not be detrimental to the public convenience, to make an order declaring the existing alley way or ways closed, as prayed for, and opening the new alley way or ways proposed to be substituted therefor.
Sec. 1606. That the Commissioners shall cause a certified copy of the order to be attached to the plat and delivered to the petitioners, who shall file the same] filed for record with the recorder of deeds of the District and also in the office of the surveyor of the District, each of whom shall record the same, and thereafter the right of the public to use the alley way or ways declared closed and the proprietary interest of the United States therein shall forever cease and determine, and the title to the same shall be vested according to the agreement of the owners as shown in the aforesaid plat, each person being thenceforward the owner in fee simple of the parcel or parcels upon which his name shall be marked as provided in the aforegoing section. The new alley way or ways described in said order and delineated on said plat shall thereafter be and remain dedicated to public use as alleyways, and, like other alleys of said city, shall be under the care and control of the city authorities.
Sec. 1607. OBLITERATING SUBDIVISIONS AND ALLEYS.Whenever the title in fee simple to an entire square is vested in one person or in tenants in common, or partners, and such owner or owners desire to improve said square by the erection of a building thereon, covering not less than two-thirds of the area thereof, or for the purpose of some business enterprise, the Commissioners of the District may, on the petition of such owner or owners, setting
forth such ownership, the purpose for which it is desired to use such square, and the manner and the time in which it is proposed to improve the same, on being satisfied of the truth of the facts stated in the petition, and also that the proposed change and use will not be detrimental to the public interests, make an order canceling any previous subdivision of said square and obliterating all alleys therein. They shall cause a certified copy of such order to be attached to a plat of said square and delivered to the petitioners, who shall file the same filed for record with the recorder of deeds, and also the surveyor of the District, each of whom shall record the same. The expense of the recording provided for by this and the preceding section shall be advanced by the petitioner to the Commissioners under such regulations as they may prescribe. (32 Stat., Part I, p. 545.)
Sec. 1608. That the Commissioners of the District of Columbia be, and they are hereby, authorized to open, extend, widen or straighten alleys and minor streets in the District of Columbia under the following conditions, namely: First, upon the petition of the owners of more than one-half of the real estate in the square or blocks in which such alley or minor street is sought to be opened, extended, widened, or straightened, accompanied by a plat Macfarland, 34 L. showing the opening, extension, widening, or straightening R., 114; 33 L. R., proposed; second, when the Commissioners deem that 295: 205 U. 8., 135; the public interests require such opening, extension, 27 S. C. Rep., 440. widening, or straightening; third, when the health officer of said District certifies to the necessity for the same on the grounds of public health: Provided, That a minor street shall be of a width of not less than forty feet nor more than sixty feet and shall run through a square or block from one street to another.1
802; 32 App.,
Sec. 1608a. That if in the opening, extension, widening or straightening of an alley or minor street, or in the extension or widening of public streets or highways, an alley or part of an alley may have been, or may hereafter be, in the judgment of the said Commissioners rendered useless or unnecessary, said Commissioners are authorized to close the same. That if the alley to be closed is an original alley, they may sell the land contained therein for cash at a price not less than the assessed value of contiguous lots. That if the alley is not an original alley, the title thereto shall revert to the owners of the land abutting thereon, but all such land shall be subject to the assessment for benefits hereinafter referred to.1
Sec. 1608b. That the said Commissioners are authorized to accept the dedication of an alley or alleys and in connection therewith to close any existing alley or alleys in the square or block in which such dedication is made upon the application of the owners of all the property abutting on such existing alley or alleys. That if the alley proposed to be closed is an original alley, the party
1 Act approved February 23, 1905 (33 Stat., Part I, v. 733).
or parties making the dedication and the parties applying for the closing of the alley or alleys shall present with such application a mutual agreement in writing and under seal, in duplicate, as to the future ownership of the land contained in the alley or alleys to be closed, together with two plats showing the alley or alleys divided into parcels, with the name of the future owner marked on each parcel, in accordance with such agreement. That copies of the order of the Commissioners accepting the dedication and closing the original or subdivisional alley, together with the said agreements and plats in the case of an original alley, shall be forwarded by said Commissioners to the surveyor and recorder of deeds of the District of Columbia for record, and thereafter the title to the land in such subdivisional alley shall revert to the owners of the land abutting thereon, and the title to the land in the original alley shall vest in the parties whose names appear on said plat in accordance with said agreement.'
Sec. 1608c. That the Commissioners are authorized to close any alley or part of alley the width of which is less than ten feet upon the application in writing of the owners of all the abutting property. If the title to such closed alley is in the United States, the land shall be sold, as provided in section sixteen hundred and eight a hereof; and if the title is not in the United States, the land shall revert as provided in said section."
Sec. 1608d. That whenever the title in fee simple to an entire square is vested in one person or tenants in common or partners, and such owner or owners desire to improve said square by the erection thereon of a building covering not less than two-thirds of the area thereof, or to use said square for the purpose of some business enterprise, the Commissioners are authorized, in their discretion, to order any alley or alleys in such square to be closed, and a copy of said order shall be filed with the surveyor and recorder of deeds of said District for record.1
Sec. 1608e. That whenever it becomes necessary to open, widen, extend, or straighten alleys or minor streets by condemnation the said Commissioners shall institute condemnation proceedings in the supreme court of the District of Columbia, sitting as a district court, by a petition in rem particularly describing the land to be taken, which petition shall be accompanied by duplicate plats to be prepared by the surveyor of said District, showing the courses and boundaries of the alley or minor street proposed to be opened, widened, extended, or straightened, the number of square feet to be taken from each lot or part of lot in the square or block, showing the existing alleys or minor street in said square or block, and such other information as may be necessary for the purposes of such condemnation. Upon the filing of such petition, one copy of the plat, indorsed with the docket number of the case, shall be returned by the clerk of said court to the said surveyor for record in his office.1
1 Act approved February 23, 1905 (ib.).
U. S., 135.
Sec. 1608f. That the said court shall cause public notice Establishing of of not less than ten days to be given of the filing of said 38 L. R.. 763; 205 proceedings, by advertisement in such manner as the court shall prescribe, which notice shall warn all persons having any interest in the proceedings to attend court at a day to be named in said notice and to continue in attendance until the court shall have made its final order ratifying and confirming the award of damages and assessment of benefits of the jury; and, in addition to such public notice, said court, whenever in its judgment it is practicable to do so, shall cause a copy of said notice to be served by the United States marshal for the District of Columbia, or his deputies, upon such owners of the fee of the land to be condemned as may be found by said marshal or his deputies within the District of Columbia.1
Sec. 1608g. That after the return of the marshal and the filing of proof of publication of the notice provided for in the preceding section, said court shall cause a jury of five judicious, disinterested men, not related to any person interested in the proceedings and not in the service or employment of the District of Columbia or of the United States, to be summoned by the said marshal, to which jurors said court shall administer an oath or affirmation that they are not interested in any manner in the land to be condemned nor in any way related to the parties interested therein, and that they will, without favor or partiality, to the best of their judgment, assess the damages each owner of land taken may sustain by reason of the opening, extension, widening, or straightening of said alley or minor street and the condemnation of lands for the purposes thereof, and assess the benefits resulting therefrom as hereinafter provided. The court, before accepting the jury, shall hear any objections that may be made to any member thereof, and shall have full power to decide upon all such objections, and to excuse any juror or cause any vacancy in the jury, when impaneled, to be filled; and after said jury shall have been organized and shall have viewed the premises, said jury shall proceed to hear and receive such evidence as may be offered or submitted on behalf of the District of Columbia and by any person or persons having any interest in the proceedings for the opening, extension, widening, or straightening of said alley or minor street; but all such hearings shall be in the presence of the court and under its supervision and direction. When the hearing is concluded the jury, or a majority of them, shall return to said court, in writing, its verdict of the amount found to be due and payable as damages sustained by reason of the said opening, extension, widening, or straightening under the provisions hereof, and of the pieces or parcels of land benefited by such opening, extension, widening, or straightening, and the amount of the assessment for such benefits against the same.1
1 Act approved February 23, 1905 (ib.).
Sec. 1608h. That if a part only of any piece or parcel of ground shall be condemned, the jury, in determining its value, shall not take into consideration any benefits that may accrue to the remainder thereof from such opening, extension, widening, or straightening, but such benefits shall be considered in determining what assessment shall be made on or against such part of such piece or parcel of land as may not be taken as herein before provided.1
Sec. 16081. That the court shall have power to hear and determine any objections which may be filed to said verdict or award, and to set aside and vacate the same, in whole or in part, when satisfied that it is unjust or unreasonable, and in such event a new jury in the case, having the qualifications herein before mentioned, shall be summoned, who shall proceed to assess the damages or benefits, as the case may be, in respect of the land as to which the verdict may be vacated, as in the case of the first jury: Provided, That the exceptions or objections to the verdict and award shall be filed within thirty days after the return of such verdict and award: And provided further, That if the court is satisfied that part of the verdict or award should be set aside or vacated, then and in that event, at the election of the said Commissioners, the court shall set aside and vacate the entire verdict or award and a new jury shall be summoned in the case as aforesaid. The verdict of a new jury summoned in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be final, and if the amount of damages assessed by any new jury summoned as aforesaid shall not be greater, or if the assessment of benefits shall not be less, than the amount assessed by the jury first summoned, according as the objection to the verdict may have been to the assessment of damages or benefits, the costs of the new jury shall be assessed against the property of the party or parties objecting, but if the party or parties should prevail by the verdict of the new jury, either in increasing his or their damages, or in diminishing the assessment for benefits, then, and in that event, the costs of the new jury shall be paid by the District of Columbia, and if the Commissioners of the District of Columbia do not elect that the entire verdict shall be set aside, and the same be set aside or vacated in part, the residue of the verdict and award shall not be affected thereby.1
Sec. 1608j. That said jury shall assess as benefits accruing by reason of said opening, extension, widening, or straightening an amount equal to the amount of damages as ascertained by them as herein before provided, including five dollars per day for the marshal and five dollars per day for each juror for the services of each when actually employed, and all other expenses of such proceedings upon each lot or part of lot or parcel of land in the square or block in which such alley or minor street is to be opened, extended, widened, or straightened, and upon each lot, part of lot, or parcel of ground in the
1 Act approved February 23, 1905 (ib.).