CHAPTER 159 - DOVER

AN ACT TO AMEND AN ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT CHANGING THE NAME OF 'THE TOWN OF DOVER' TO 'THE CITY OF DOVER' AND ESTABLISHING A CHARTER THEREFOR" BY PROVIDING A PROCEDURE FOR CONDEMNATION OF PROPERTY TAKEN FOR MUNICIPAL PURPOSES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of the members elected to each House of the Legislature concurring therein):

Section 1. That Chapter 158 of Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, be and the same is hereby amended by repealing Section 2 of said Chapter 158 of Volume 36, and inserting in lieu thereof the following to be known as Section 2 thereof:

"Section 2. The inhabitants of the City of Dover within the boundaries defined in Section 1 of this Act, or within the boundaries hereafter established, shall continue to be a body politic and corporate, by the name of "The City of Dover", and under that name shall have perpetual succession; may have and use a corporate seal; may sue and be sued; may hold and acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease or condemnation, real property and personal property within or without its boundaries for any municipal purpose, in fee simple or lesser estate or interest, and may sell, lease, hold, manage, and control such property as its interest may require; and shall have all other powers and functions requisite or appropriate for the government of the City, its peace and order, its sanitation, appearance and beauty, the health, safety, convenience, comfort and well-being of its population, and the protection and preservation of property, public and private.

Whenever it shall be necessary for any municipal purpose to condemn any real property or personal property under this charter, except as is herein otherwise specifically provided, the procedure shall be as follows, to wit:

The Council shall, by a majority vote, adopt a resolution favorable to the acquisition of such real property or personal property, as the case may be, giving a sufficient description of such property, whether real or personal, as shall identify said property and as shall determine the amount of the property proposed to be taken. The said resolution shall also state the day, hour and place when the said Council will sit to hear objections and to award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property.

A copy of such resolution shall be posted in five or more public places in the City at least five days before the day fixed for the hearing aforesaid.

At the time and place fixed in the said resolution, said Council shall hear such residents of the City or owners of the property affected as shall attend, and shall at said meeting, or at a subsequent day, as they shall deem proper, adopt a resolution by a majority vote to proceed with or to abandon, the proposed acquisition of the property mentioned in the original resolution, as they shall deem for the best interest of the said City. And in case the determination of the said Council shall be to proceed with the plan contemplated by the resolution first aforesaid, they shall also award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property in consequence thereof. Such compensation, if any be awarded, shall be paid by the Treasurer of the City, on a warrant drawn on him by authority of the Council aforesaid. If anyone who will be deprived of property as aforesaid be dissatisfied with the compensation awarded by the Council aforesaid, he may within five days after the award of the Council, as aforesaid, appeal from such award by serving written notice to that effect on the City Manager. In order to prosecute said appeal such appellant shall, within five days after the expiration of the five days allowed for the appeal as aforesaid, apply to the judge of the Superior Court for the State of Delaware resident in Kent County, or in his absence at said time, to the Chief Justice of the said Court, for the appointment of freeholders to hear and determine the matter of compensation to such appellant for any property of which he will be deprived as aforesaid, and thereupon the said judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, shall issue a commission under his hand directed to five impartial freeholders of Kent County commanding them to determine and fix the damages which the said appellant will sustain by reason of being deprived of any property as aforesaid, taking into consideration the benefits or advantages that will ensure to the said appellant, and to make return of their findings to the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, at a time therein appointed. The said freeholders shall give notice of the day, hour and place when they will meet to view the premises and to assess the damages, if any, as aforesaid. Such notice shall be served upon the appellant personally, or by posting a copy on the premises affected at least five days before the day when they are to view the premises as aforesaid and a copy of such notice shall also be served on the City Manager at least five days before the day of such meeting.

The freeholders named in such commission, being first sworn or affirmed, on the day and at the hour and place stated in the notice aforesaid, shall view the premises and hear the appellant and his witnesses and the Council and their witnesses, and shall without delay, determine and fix the damages, if any, which the said appellant will sustain by reason of being deprived of any property as aforesaid. Thereupon and without delay the said freeholders shall make return in writing of their proceedings in the premises to the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, who shall cause the said return to be delivered to the said City Manager and such return shall be final and conclusive. The said Judge or Chief Justice shall have power to fill any vacancy among the freeholders. The amount of damages being ascertained as aforesaid, the said Council may pay or tender the same to the person or persons entitled thereto, within one month after the same shall be finally ascertained, or may deposit the same to his or her credit in any bank in the City to the credit of the person or persons entitled thereto within the said period of one month, and thereupon the said Council may carry into effect the plan contemplated in their resolutions aforesaid. In the ascertainment and assessment of damages by the freeholders appointed by the Judge or Chief Justice aforesaid, if the damages shall be increased, the costs of the appeal shall be paid by the Treasurer of the City out of any money in his hands belonging to the City, but if said damages shall not be increased the costs of the appeal shall be paid by the party appealing. The fees to the freeholders shall be five dollars per day to each, which shall be taxed as part of the costs."

Approved April 1, 1935.