CHAPTER 49

AN ACT TO REGULATE SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT IN NEW CASTLE COUNTY.

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

Section 1. Part II, Title 9, Delaware Code, is amended by inserting therein a new chapter to be known as Chapter 28 to read as follows:

CHAPTER 28. SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT

§ 2801. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated:

(a) "Commission" means Regional Planning Commission of New Castle County;

(b) "County" means New Castle County;

(c) "District" means Regional Planning District of New Castle County, which comprises all that portion of the County not included within the corporate limits of any city or town, unless any territory within such corporate limits is included upon request made by the governing body or authority of any such city or town;

(d) "Levy Court" means Levy Court of New Castle County;

(e) "Plan" means the map, plat, or other document verbally or graphically illustrating or describing a plan of subdivision or land development;

(f) "Recorder of Deeds" means Recorder of Deeds in and for New Castle County;

(g) "Regulations" means land subdivision regulations;

(h) "Structure" means any man-made object having an ascertainable stationary location on land or in water, whether or not affixed to the land;

(i) "Subdivide" means the subdivision of land as defined herein, or any act directed toward the present or future subdivision of land;

(j) "Subdivider" means any person, or agent thereof, who undertakes the subdivision of land; or any successor to the rights of said person in said land;

(k) "Subdivision" means

(1) the division or redivision of a lot, tract, or parcel of land, by any means, including by means of a plan or plat or a description by metes and bounds, into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, of the transfer of ownership or of building development, exempting, however, the division of land for agricultural purposes into parcels of more than ten acres not involving any new streets or easements of access, divisions of property by testamentary or interstate provisions, or divisions of property upon court order;

(2) the division or allocation of land for the opening, widening or extension of any street or streets, or the division or allocation of land as open spaces for common use by owners, occupants or leaseholders, or as easements for the extension and maintenance of public sewer, water supply, storm drainage or other public facilities.

§ 2802. Power to regulate

In order to provide for the orderly growth and development of the County, to promote the health, safety, prosperity, and the general welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the County, to insure the conservation of property values and natural resources, including the protection of the County's agricultural lands, water resources, and industrial potential, and

to afford adequate provisions for public utilities, water supply, drainage, sanitation, vehicular access, education and recreational facilities, parkland and open space, among other and related activities, the Commission is authorized and empowered to regulate the subdivision of all land in the County not within the corporate limits of any city or town.

§ 2803. Land subdivision regulations

In order to carry out the provisions of this chapter, the Commission shall adopt and administer regulations in accordance with the following procedures:

(a) Within one year from the enactment of this chapter, the Commission shall propose regulations pursuant to the purposes specified in this chapter, and shall hold at least one public meeting, notice of which shall have been given by publication at least 15 days before said meeting in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. Copies of the proposed regulations shall be available to the public without charge at a place or places stated in said notice. Within 120 days after said meeting, the Commission may adopt the regulations as proposed or may make any amendment, change or addition thereto, except that prior to the adoption thereof the same procedures shall be followed.

(b) Prior to the adoption by the Commission of any subsequent amendment, change or addition to said regulations, the same procedures shall be followed.

(c) No regulation adopted by the Commission shall become effective unless and until approved by Levy Court.

§ 2804. Content of land subdivision regulations

Any regulations adopted and approved under this chapter shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions:

(a) Varying procedures for insuring the processing of land subdivision plans, within a reasonable period of time, relative to the number of lots or parcels and the extent of improvements required.

(b) Procedures for insuring that the arrangement of the lots or parcels of land or improvements thereon shall conform to the existing zoning at the time of recordation and that streets, or rights-of-way, bordering or within subdivided land shall be of such widths and grades and in such locations as deemed necessary to accommodate prospective traffic, that adequate easements or rights-of-way shall be provided for drainage and utilities, that reservations of areas designed for their use as public grounds shall be of suitable size and location for their designated uses, that sufficient and suitable monuments shall be required, that land which is subject to constituting a menace to safety, health or general welfare shall be made safe for the purpose for which subdivided, and that adequate provision for water supply is made.

(c) Procedures for encouraging and promoting flexibility and ingenuity in the layout and design of subdivisions and land development, and for encouraging practices which are in accordance with contemporary and evolving principles of site planning and development.

§ 2805. Issuance of building and occupancy permits

(a) No building permit shall be issued for the erection of any building or for the construction of any improvement or structure on any part of any land which has been subdivided after the adoption of regulations under this chapter, and no street, right-of-way, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main, or other improvements in connection therewith shall be constructed, opened or dedicated for public use or travel, or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon, except pursuant to an approval received for the land subdivision in accordance with the regulations adopted under this chapter.

(b) No occupancy permit shall be issued for such building, improvement or structure, or land thereunder, except upon a determination of full compliance with the land subdivision approval.

§ 2806. Selling before approval; penalty; civil suits

(a) No street, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main, or other improvements shall be constructed, opened, or dedicated

for public use or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon, and no part of any land which has been subdivided after the adoption of regulations under this chapter, shall be sold, transferred or conveyed, except pursuant to an approval received for the land subdivision in accordance with the regulations adopted under this chapter.

(b) Whoever violates any provision of subsection (a) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both. Each lot or parcel so transferred or sold and each improvement so constructed, opened or dedicated shall be deemed a separate violation, and each and every day during which such violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation. The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of offenses under this section.

(c) The Levy Court or any owner of real estate affected by such violation may, in addition to other remedies provided by law, institute injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action or actions, proceeding or proceedings to prevent, enjoin, abate or otherwise correct such violation.

§ 2807. Recording unapproved plans; penalty

(a) The Recorder of Deeds within the County shall not receive for filing any plan of land or any plan showing an arrangement of lots or parcels of lands, streets, easements, or rights-of-way that may be intentionally or otherwise, whether immediate or in the future, for the transfer, conveyance, or lease of subdivided lands, unless and until, in accordance with the regulations adopted under this chapter, said plan shall have been submitted to and approved by the Commission and by Levy Court and each such approval shall have been endorsed in writing on said plan by the Chairman or the Executive Director of the Commission and by the President of the Levy Court.

(b) Any plan received by the Recorder of Deeds for filing or recording without the approval of the Commission and Levy Court endorsed thereon, shall be null and void and without legal effect and shall, upon application of the Commission or Levy Court, to the Superior Court, be expunged from the records of the Recorder of Deeds.

(c) Whoever causes any plan to be filed or recorded contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $500. The Superior Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of offenses under this section.

§ 2808. Improvements private until dedicated

The approval of a plan by the Commission and by Levy Court shall, when recorded, be deemed and taken as acceptance of the intended dedication of the streets, grounds or other improvements appearing thereon to the public use by the appropriate governmental body or agency. The approval of a plan shall not impose any duty or obligation upon Levy Court or any other public agency to improve, repair, or maintain the streets, grounds or other improvements appearing on the plan.

§ 2809. Approved plan to be recorded

The subdivider shall, within 120 days after the approval of a plan, record such plan in the office of the Recorder of Deeds. If such plan is not recorded within said time, the approval shall expire.

§ 2810. Schedule of fees

The Commission shall establish a uniform schedule of fees to be paid by the subdivider and to be proportioned to the cost of processing a subdivision submitted for review and approval of the Commission. No schedule established by the Commission shall become effective unless and until approved by Levy Court.

§ 2811. Effect of approved plan on official map

After a plan has been approved and recorded as provided under this chapter, all public streets and public grounds on such plan shall be, and become, a part of the official map of the County without public hearing.

§ 2812. Effect upon other, laws

All laws inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency. The passage of this Act shall not invalidate any resolutions or regulations adopted under prior laws.

Approved May 4, 1965.

Note: This chapter has been codified as Chapter 29, Title 9, Delaware Code.