[§127A-18]  Mitigation of hazardous situations.  (a)  Even in the absence of an emergency or disaster, the governor may authorize designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives to enter private property at reasonable times to mitigate situations deemed by the governor to be hazardous to the health and safety of the public; provided that this section shall be applicable only to the following actions:

     (1)  Cutting, trimming, or removing dangerous trees or branches that pose a hazard to other properties;

     (2)  Stabilizing or removing unstable rock and soil hazards; or

     (3)  Cleaning streams and waterways to mitigate or prevent flooding or other hazards;

provided further that at least ten days' written notice shall be provided to the landowner and to the occupier of the private property of the governor's intention to authorize designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives to enter the property to mitigate the hazardous situation; provided further that the landowner or occupier shall be given a reasonable opportunity to mitigate the hazardous situation without assistance of the State before designated state employees, agents, contractors, or representatives may enter the property.

     (b)  Written notice sent to the landowner's last known address by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, shall be deemed sufficient notice.  If land ownership cannot be determined, notice shall be given once in a daily or weekly publication of general circulation in the county in which any action or proposed action will be taken.

     (c)  If entry is refused, the governor may apply to the district court in the circuit in which the property is located for a warrant to enter the premises.  The district court may issue a warrant directing the chief of the appropriate county police to assist the governor in gaining entry onto the premises during regular working hours or at other reasonable times.

     (d)  The governor may seek recovery and reimbursement, by appropriate proceedings, of all costs and expenses incurred in the mitigation of a hazardous situation under this section, and any costs and expenses imposed against any landowner shall be a lien upon the landowner's property.

     (e)  This section shall take effect only upon authorization and funding for personnel to administer the program. [L 2014, c 111, pt of §2]



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