CHAPTER 331

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 333, VOLUME 53, LAWS OF DELAWARE, RELATING TO BORROWING MONEY BY ISSUING BONDS, "FOR THE ACQUISITION OF STRUCTURES ON LAND LEASED BY THE LEVY COURT OF SUSSEX COUNTY, AND FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF AN ADDITION TO THE PRESENT COURT HOUSE, AS WELL AS ALTERATIONS TO THE SAID PRESENT COURT HOUSE, AND TO AUTHORIZE THE SAID LEVY COURT TO EXERCISE THE RIGHT OF EMINENT DOMAIN FOR SAID PURPOSES."

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

Section 1. Section 1, Chapter 333, Volume 53, Laws of Delaware, is amended to read as follows:

That the Levy Court of Sussex County shall be and is hereby granted full power and authority to purchase and acquire certain buildings on a tract of land now owned by the said Levy Court, and leased to various individuals, companies and firms, as well as the fee simple title to other lands, tenements and hereditaments, adjoining property of The Sussex County Levy Court, which abuts on Race Street and Pine Street in the town of Georgetown, Delaware, and to construct an addition to the present Court House with all necessary appurtenances thereto; said structure when completed shall be known as the Court House, in and for Sussex County, or an addition thereto.

The Levy Court of Sussex County is authorized to enter into contracts and agreements with persons, firms, or corporations, relative to the purchase of said buildings, and lands, and the constructing and equipping of a Court House and an addition thereto, for Sussex County, and to this end may require of said firms, persons or corporations, proper security for the faithful performance of the work to be done. The said Levy Court may engage the services of competent architects who shall prepare proper plans and specifications, and the said Levy Court shall award any contract or contracts to the lowest responsible bidder or bidders, but with the right to reject any and all bids.

Section 2. Section 2, Chapter 333, Volume 53, Laws of Delaware, is amended to read as follows:

The said Levy Court may acquire said buildings and lands, or interest therein, either by purchase or by the exercise of the right of eminent domain, which is hereby expressly granted. Whenever the Levy Court cannot agree with the lessee, lessees, or the owner of the fee simple title of said lands, buildings or other property, necessary to be taken, for the purpose thereof, the said Levy Court may apply to the Superior Court sitting in and for Sussex County, or any Judge of said Court, for the appointment of five freeholders of said County, who shall go upon the said lands and enter into said buildings, fairly and impartially assess the damage of said lessee, lessees or legal holders of the fee simple title to said lands, and the said freeholders shall certify their findings and award to all known parties in interest, and make a report of their findings to be filed in the said Superior Court or with the said Judge, as the case may be, appointing them. The said Levy Court, before making the said application, shall give to the said lessee, lessees, or owners of the fee simple title of the property involved, at least ten days' notice in writing, of the intent of the application, if such party in interest is within the State, and if such party in interest is unknown, or without the State, or if under legal disability and having no legal representative within the State, then such notice shall be published in some newspaper in Sussex County, at least ten days' prior to the intended application, and such publication shall be deemed to be sufficient notice. The said freeholders appointed as aforesaid, shall be sworn or affirmed before some officer authorized to administer oaths or affirmation, before entering upon the premises, faithfully and impartially to perform the duties assigned them. They shall give five days' notice in writing to the party or parties in interest of the property so proposed to be condemned or to their guardian or guardians duly appointed within the State, and to the said Levy Court, of the time of their meeting to view the premises; if the party or parties in interest be unknown or without the State, or if under legal disability, and having no legal representative within the State, publication of such last mentioned notice be made in some newspaper in Sussex County, at least ten days prior to the said meeting, and such publication shall be sufficient notice thereof. The said freeholders or commissioners shall keep a record of their proceedings with their findings and awards, and return the same to the Superior Court or Judge, as the case may be, and shall certify their findings and awards to the party or parties in interest, of the property and to the Levy Court; if the Levy Court or any known party in interest is dissatisfied with such findings or awards, it or he may, on application to the said Court or Judge, within fifteen days after such findings and awards have been made and filed, require the appointment of a Commission of Review, which shall consist of five freeholders appointed in like manner and with like instructions, as were contained in the first Commission; provided, that if a review be granted, upon the application of a person or persons, in interest, the review shall extend only to the assessment of damages made in respect to the person or persons making such application. If the return of the Commission of Review, varies in the damages assessed from the return of the original Commission, the said Court or Judge shall, upon application of the Levy Court or any party in interest, appoint a second Commission of Review within ten days after the filing of such return. If a Review be not applied for in due time, the return of the original petition shall be conclusive as to the amount of damages; if the return of any two Commissions corresponds as to the amount of such damages, such amount shall be conclusive, but if there be more than one return, and none conclusive under the foregoing provisions, the said Superior Court or said Judge shall confirm such one of them as it or he may deem most just and the return so confirmed shall be conclusive. The said Superior Court or said Judge may set aside a return for gross inequality or inequity, in which case it or he shall issue another Commission in its place, and the said Court or Judge shall have power to fill any vacancies in a Commission.

Upon the institution of condemnation proceedings by petition and notice aforesaid, the said Levy Court may, in its discretion, state in said petition that the possession, right to enter, or occupancy of said land or interest is necessary to the project without delay, and the title to said land in fee simple absolute, or such less estate or interest therein, as may be specified, shall immediately pass and vest to the said Levy Court, and said lands or interest therein shall be deemed to be condemned and taken for the use of said Sussex County, and the right to just compensation therefor shall vest in and to the person or persons entitled thereto. In the event of an immediate taking as herein specified, the said Court or Judge shall have power to fix the time within which and the terms upon which the parties in possession shall be required to surrender possession to the petitioner, and to make such orders in respect to encumbrances, leases, taxes, rights, assessments, insurance or other charges, if any, as shall be just and equitable. The right to take possession and title in advance of final order of judgment in condemnation proceedings as provided herein shall be in addition to any right, power or authority conferred by the Laws of the State of Delaware under which such proceedings may be conducted and shall not be construed as limiting or modifying any such right, power or authority.

Section 3. Section 3, Chapter 333, Volume 53, Laws of Delaware, is amended to read as follows:

That the Levy Court of Sussex County be and it is hereby authorized and empowered to borrow upon the faith and credit of said County, as herein provided, a sum not exceeding two million five hundred thousand (2,500,000.00) dollars; to be expended in acquiring the leasehold interest, lands, buildings, to erect an addition to the present Court House, and to alter the present Court House, and for the construction of said Addition, as well as the cost for altering the present Court House in Sussex County, and for the purpose of securing the payment of such sum to issue bonds in such denominations and bearing such rate of interest not exceeding four per cent annum, and in such form as the Levy Court may deem expedient. The interest upon said bonds shall be payable semi-annually in each and every year after the date of issuance thereof.

Approved July 7, 1964.