CHAPTER 34

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 45, TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC LANDS LYING BENEATH THE WATERS OF A NAVIGABLE BODY OF WATER.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Chapter 45, Title 7 of the Delaware Code is amended by adding thereto the following new section:

§ 4520. Sale, lease, or easement of or in subaqueous public lands; special commission, qualifications of members, term and expenses

(a) Whenever in the opinion of the Governor, it shall be in the public interest to do so, the Governor may, for and on behalf and in the name of the State, sell a fee simple or any lesser interest in, lease, or grant an easement in or over, any part or parts of the public lands of the State lying beneath the waters of the Delaware Bay, Delaware River or any other body of navigable water in the State (including the beach or shore to the mean high water level, except Rehoboth Bay, Indian River, Assawoman Bay and Assawoman Canal) for such price, or rent, and on such other terms and conditions as shall have been fixed and recommended in writing to the Governor by at least a majority of a special commission of three members who shall be specially appointed by the Governor for each transaction for the specific purpose of fixing the purchase price, rent and other terms and conditions which are to govern such transaction.

(b) The members of such special commission shall have no interest in or connection with the prospective purchaser, lessee or grantee. At least two members of such commission shall be residents of the county in which the property involved is located. No more than two members of each such commission shall be of the same political party. A special commission so constituted shall be appointed by the Governor on each occasion when an application is made to the Governor by a prospective purchaser, lessee or grantee. The terms of the members of each such commission and the life of each such commission shall terminate and expire thirty days after the commission has rendered its written recommendation and report to the Governor, unless the Governor shall extend such terms and the life of the commission until the consummation of the specific transaction with respect to which the Commission was appointed. If a vacancy shall occur in the membership of a commission for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a new member to fill the vacancy. The members of a commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for their expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Each commission is authorized to employ, engage or obtain such appraisers, surveyors and other appropriate professional or technical assistance as it deems necessary, or advisable under the particular facts and circumstances involved in the performance of its duties. The expenses of each such commission incurred in the performance of its duties, including the expenses of the commissioners, shall be paid by the person who has made application to purchase, lease or obtain an interest in the property and, on request of the Governor or the commission, the estimated expenses shall be advanced from time to time by such applicant.

(c) Before acting under this section, in any instance, the Governor may, at his option, request any State agency or agencies for a report or recommendation with respect to the pertinent facts and conditions involved in any proposed grant or lease for which an application has been made to him. The Governor shall furnish a copy of any such report or recommendation to the special commission appointed by him pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(d) Within 20 days after the appointment of a special commission, it shall fix a time (which shall not be more than 50 days after its appointment) and a place (which shall be in the county seat of the county in which the property is located) for a public hearing on the application to purchase, lease or obtain an interest in the property. The commission shall give notice of such hearing, at least' 10 days before the hearing, by publishing a notice once in a newspaper published in the county in which the property is located and by mailing a notice by registered mail to the applicant. A general description of the location of the property, which may but need not be by metes and bounds, shall be included in the notice.

(e) If any part of the subaqueous land which may be the subject of any transaction authorized by this section is covered by a lease granted by the Delaware Commission of Shell Fisheries pursuant to chapter 19 of Title 7 of this Code, then any conveyance, lease or grant of such subaqueous land made pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section shall be subject to the unexpired term of such then outstanding lease theretofore granted by the Delaware Commission of Shell Fisheries.

(f) Nothing contained in this section shall authorize the Governor to grant any title, lease, easement or other interest for oyster purposes and this section does not repeal or affect any of the powers or jurisdiction of the Delaware Commission of Shell Fisheries except so far as is necessary to give effect to the full enjoyment and use by the grantee or lessee of the title, lease, easement or other interest granted under and pursuant to this section.

(g) This section shall expire on June 30, 1964; provided, however, that any transaction or proceeding under this section that is commenced before such expiration date may be consummated and concluded after that date.

Approved May 1, 1961.