CHAPTER 215

LAUREL - RELATING TO THE LAYING OUT AND VACATION OF STREETS

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF TILE TOWN OF LAUREL AS ESTABLISHED BY CHAPTER 164, VOLUME 29, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AND AS AMENDED, IN REFERENCE TO THE LAYING OUT AND VACATION OF STREETS, AND THE CONDEMNATION OF LANDS THEREFOR.

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

Section 1. That Chapter 164, Volume 29, Laws of Delaware, be amended by striking out Sections 19 and 20 of said Chapter, and by substituting therefor the following Sections to be known as Sections 19 and 20:

Section 19. Mayor and Council of Laurel shall have the power and authority to locate, lay-out and open any new street or streets, re-open any old street or streets, widen streets or parts thereof, and to vacate such street or streets or parts thereof as may be necessary, allowing to the persons respectively interested therein or affected thereby such compensation or damages as shall be deemed just and reasonable for the best interest of the Town of Laurel, under all the circumstances having regard for the benefit or advantage which may accrue to the owner of the lands affected, which compensation, if any be allowed, shall be paid by the Treasurer of the Town on warrant drawn on him by Mayor and Council of Laurel.

Section 20. The procedure shall be as follows: Mayor and Council of Laurel shall, by a majority vote, adopt a resolution favorable to the opening of the new street or streets, or to the widening or altering of a street, or to the vacation or abandonment of a street, or any portion thereof as the case may be, and shall give a general description of the streets to be opened or widened, or altered or vacated.

The resolution shall also state the day, hour and place when Mayor and Council will sit to hear objections and to award just and reasonable compensation to any owner of land or property who will be deprived of property or affected adversely. A copy of such resolution shall be posted in five (5) or more public places in the Town of Laurel at least five (5) days before the day fixed for the hearing as aforesaid, and also a copy of the resolution shall be sent by mail to each of the persons whose lands will be affected, addressed to the last known post office address of such person at least five (5) days before the day fixed for the hearing aforesaid.

At the time and place fixed in the resolution Mayor and Council shall hear such residents of the Town, or owners of the property affected as shall attend, and it shall at said meeting, or at a subsequent day as it shall deem proper, adopt a resolution by a majority vote, to proceed with or abandon the proposal as it shall deem for the best interest of the Town. In case the determination shall be to proceed with the plan contemplated by the resolution, Mayor and Council of Laurel shall award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property, or affected adversely, in consequence thereof. Such compensation, if any be awarded, shall be paid upon delivery of a deed in fee simple in favor of the Town of Laurel, clear of all liens and encumbrances, or upon delivery of the proper release or other proper and necessary writing as shall be deemed necessary. If any person who will be deprived of property or whose interest therein shall be affected adversely shall be dissatisfied with the compensation awarded, he may, within five (5) days after the award appeal therefrom by serving written notice to that effect upon the Town Clerk or Mayor of Laurel. To prosecute the appeal the appellant shall within five (5) days after the expiration of the five (5) days allowed for the appeal aforesaid, apply to the Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, resident in Sussex County, or in his absence at that 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, and thereupon the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, shall issue a commission under his hand directed to five (5) impartial freeholders in Sussex County commanding them to determine and fix the damages which the appellant will sustain, taking into consideration the benefits or advantages that will inure to the appellant, and to make return of their findings to the said Judge or Chief Justice at the time appointed in said commission.

The 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 (5) days before the day when they are to view the premises aforesaid, and a copy of such notice shall also be served on the Town Clerk or the Mayor at least five (5) days before the day of such meeting.

The freeholders, being first sworn or affirmed, on the day and at the hour and place stated in the notice shall view the premises, and shall hear the appellant and his witnesses and Mayor and Council of Laurel and its witnesses and shall, without delay, determine the damages, if any, which the appellant will sustain by reason of the execution of the plan as aforesaid. Thereupon and without delay the freeholders shall make return of their proceedings to the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, who shall cause the return to be delivered to the Town Clerk, or Mayor of Laurel, and such return shall be final and conclusive. The Judge or Chief Justice shall have power to fill any vacancy among the freeholders.

The amount of damages being ascertained as aforesaid, Mayor and Council of Laurel may pay or tender the same to the person or persons entitled thereto within one month after ascertainment thereof, or may deposit the same to the credit of the person entitled thereto in any Bank in the Town of Laurel, within the said period of one month, and thereupon Mayor and Council of Laurel may carry into effect the plan contemplated in the resolution aforesaid.

In the ascertainment and assessment of the damages by the freeholders, if the damages shall be increased, or if the Council shall decide not to proceed with the accomplishment of the plan as aforesaid the cost of the appeal shall be paid by the Mayor and Council of Laurel; but if said damages shall not be increased the cost of the appeal shall be paid by the appellant.

The fee of the freeholders shall be Five Dollars ($5.00) per day to each of them, which shall be taxed as a part of the costs. After the damages shall be ascertained as aforesaid, Mayor and Council of Laurel shall have the option of paying the damages assessed within the term aforesaid and proceed with the execution of the plan, or upon the payment of the costs only may abandon the proposed plan and improvement.

Whenever the land comprehended or included in any street, or part thereof, vacated or abandoned under this Section, if owned by the Town of Laurel, Mayor and Council of Laurel may, in its discretion, sell such land at public sale and for such consideration as may be deemed proper, and it shall have the right and power to convey to the purchaser or purchasers thereof a good and sufficient title thereto for whatever estate the Town of Laurel may have therein.

The word "street" shall be deemed to comprehend and include sidewalks, lanes and alleys for all the purposes of this Section.

Approved June 4, 1951.