AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 45, TITLE 31, OF THE DELAWARE CODE, TITLED AS THE SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LAW, BY REDEFINING BLIGHTED AREA AND DEFINING CERTAIN OTHER TERMS AS USED IN CONNECTION WITH URBAN RENEWAL, TO MAKE THE DETERMINATION OF BLIGHTED AREAS BY GOVERNING BODIES A BASIS FOR ACQUIRING LAND AND IMPROVEMENTS THEREON FOR A PUBLIC PURPOSE; TO ENABLE THE GOVERNING BODIES OF COMMUNITIES TO PROVIDE CONSERVATION AND REHABILITATION PROJECTS FOR SLUM AND BLIGHTED AREAS; TO PROVIDE FOR NEIGHBORHOOD AND COMMUNITY WIDE RENEWAL PLANS; AND TO GIVE ADDITIONAL POWERS TO THE COMMUNITY OR SUCH AGENCY AS IT BE DESIGNATED TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4501 be amended by striking out the definition of "Blighted Area" and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"Blighted area" means that portion of a municipality or community which by reason of, or because of, any of the conditions hereinafter enumerated is (found and determined by law to be) a social or economic liability to such municipality or community:
(1) The generality of buildings used as dwellings or the dwelling accommodations therein are substandard, unsafe, unsanitary, dilapidated or obsolescent, or possess any of such characteristics, or are so lacking in light, air, space, as to be conducive to unwholesome living;
(2) the discontinuance of the use of buildings previously used for commercial, manufacturing or industrial purposes, the abandonment of such buildings or the same being allowed
to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenantable;
(3) unimproved vacant land, which has remained so for a period of ten years prior to the date of the public hearing as set out in Section 4524 of this chapter, and which land by reason of its location, or remoteness from developed sections or portions of such municipality or community, or lack of means of access to such other parts thereof, topography, or nature of the soil, is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital;
(4) areas (including slum areas) with buildings or improvements which by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, deteriorated or deteriorating structures, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility or usefulness, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, predominance or defective or inadequate street layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the municipality or community; and
(5) a growing or total lack of proper utilization of areas caused by the condition of the title, diverse ownership of the real property therein, tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding the fair value of the land, or the existence of conditions which endanger life or property by fire or other causes and other conditions, resulting in a stagnant and unproductive condition of land potentially useful and valuable for contributing to and serving the public health, safety and welfare.
Section 2. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4501, be amended by striking out the definition of "Redevelopment project" and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"Urban renewal project" means undertakings and activities of a municipality or community in an urban renewal area for the elimination and for the prevention of the development or spread of slums and blight, and may involve slum clearance and redevelopment in an urban renewal area, or rehabilitation in an urban renewal area, or any combination or part thereof in accordance with an urban renewal plan. Such undertakings and activities may include:
(1) acquisition of a slum area or a blighted area or portion thereof ;
(0) clearance of any such areas by demolition or removal of existing buildings, structures, streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds or other improvements thereon;
(0) installation, construction or reconstruction of streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds and other improvements necessary for carrying out in the urban renewal area the urban renewal objectives of this chapter in accordance with the urban renewal plan;
(1) disposition of any property acquired in the urban renewal area (including sale, initial leasing or retention by the municipality or community itself) at its fair value for uses in accordance with the urban renewal plan;
(2) carrying out plans for a program of voluntary or compulsory repair, rehabilitation and conservation of buildings or other improvements in accordance with the urban renewal plan;
(3) acquisition of real property in the urban renewal area which, under the urban renewal plan, is to be repaired or rehabilitated for dwelling use or related facilities, repair or rehabilitation of the structures and resale of the property;
(4) acquisition of any other real property in the urban renewal area where necessary to eliminate unhealthful, insanitary or unsafe conditions, lessen density, eliminate obsolete or other uses detrimental to the public welfare, or otherwise to remove or prevent the spread of blight or deterioration, or to provide land for needed public facilities;
(5) acquisition of slum areas or blighted areas or portions thereof, including lands, structures, or improvements, the acquisition of which is necessary or incidental to the proper clearance, development or redevelopment or to the conservation or rehabilitation of such slum or blighted area or to the prevention of the spread or recurrence of slum conditions or conditions of blight;
(9) Urban renewal project shall also be construed as including and meaning redevelopment project wherever the context of this chapter requires.
Section 3. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4501, be amended by striking out the definition of "Redevelopment Plan" and substituting in lieu thereof :
"Urban Renewal Plan" means a plan, as it exists from time to time, for an urban renewal project, which plan :
(1) shall conform to the general plan for the municipality or community as a whole; and
(2) shall be sufficiently complete to indicate such land acquisition, demolition and removal of structures, redevelopment, improvements, rehabilitation and conservation as may be proposed to be carried out in the urban renewal area, zoning and planning changes, if any, land uses, maximum densities and building requirements.
(3) The term urban renewal plan shall be also construed as including and meaning redevelopment plan wherever the context of this Chapter requires.
Section 4. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4501, be amended by adding thereto the following:
"Conservation" means the preservation of an area or section of a community and the supervision and care of such area or section for the prevention, recurrence, or spread of slum conditions or conditions of blight.
"General neighborhood renewal plan" means a plan for an area of such size that it will encompass two or more projects that will entail renewal activities which may have to be spread
over a period of up to ten years, and for which programming of the entire area is desirable in advance of the planning and carrying out of specified projects.
"Rehabilitation" means the reconstruction, alteration or repair of improvements, structures and buildings in accordance with the requirements of the municipality or community in its codes, laws or regulations pertaining to building, fire prevention, health, housing, and zoning, and also the use of land, and the use and occupancy of buildings and improvements.
"Related activities" means (1) planning work for the preparation of a general neighborhood renewal plan, or for the preparation or completion of a community-wide plan or program pursuant to (1) § 4520 of this Chapter, as amended, and (2) the functions related to the acquisition and disposal of real property pursuant to § 4516 (9) (a) of this Chapter, as amended.
"Urban renewal area" means a slum area or a blighted area of any combination thereof which the local governing body designates as appropriate for an urban renewal project.
Section 5. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4518, be repealed and in lieu thereof the following be substituted:
§ 4518. Finding of necessity by local governing body
An authority shall not exercise the authority hereafter conferred upon municipalities or communities by this Chapter until after the local governing body shall have adopted a resolution finding that:
(1) one or more slum or blighted areas shall exist in such municipality or community, and
(2) the rehabilitation, conservation, redevelopment, or a combination thereof, of such area or areas is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of such municipality or community.
Section 6. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4516, be amended by adding thereto the following:
(4) (a) Within its area of operation to enter into any building or property in any urban renewal area in order to make inspections, surveys, appraisals, soundings or test borings, and to obtain an order for this purpose from a court of competent jurisdiction in the event entry is denied or resisted.
(9) (a) With the approval of the local government body, (1) prior to approval of an urban renewal plan, or by approval of any modification of the plan, to acquire real property in an urban renewal area, demolish and remove any structures on the property, and pay all costs related to the acquisition, demolition, or removal, including any administrative or relocation expenses; and (2) to assume the responsibility to bear any loss that may arise as the result of the exercise of authority under this subsection in the event that the real property is not made part of the urban renewal project;
(9) (b) Within its area of operation, to make or have made all surveys and plans necessary to the carrying out of the purposes of this chapter, as amended, and to contract with any person, public or private, in making and carrying out such plans and to adopt or approve, modify and amend such plans, which plans may include, but are not limited to: (1) plans for carrying out a program of voluntary or compulsory repair and rehabilitation of buildings and improvements, (2) plans for the enforcement of state and local laws, codes and regulations relating to the use of land and the use and occupancy of buildings and improvements and to the compulsory repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal of buildings and improvements, and (3) appraisals, title searches, surveys, studies and other plans and work necessary to prepare for the undertaking of urban renewal projects and related activities; and to develop, test, and report methods and techniques, and carry out demonstrations and activities, for the prevention and the elimination of slums and urban blight, and to apply for, accept and utilize grants of funds from the Federal Government for such purposes;
(9) (c) To engage in rehabilitation and conservation activities as defined in Section 4501 of this chapter as amended.
Section 7. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4502, be amended by adding thereto the following declaration :
It is hereby found and declared that (a) there exists in communities of the State blighted and deteriorated areas which constitute a serious and growing menace, injurious to the public health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of the State, and the findings and declarations heretofore made in Chapter 45, Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4502, are hereby affirmed and restated (b) certain blighted, deteriorated, or deteriorating areas, or portions thereof, may require acquisition and clearance, as provided in the act to which this act is supplement, since the prevailing condition of decay may make impracticable the reclamation of the area by conservation or rehabilitation, but other areas or portions thereof may, through the means provided in this chapter susceptible of conservation or rehabilitation in such a manner that the conditions and evils hereinbefore enumerated may be eliminated, remedied or prevented, and to the extent feasible salvable blighted, deteriorated, or deteriorating areas should be conserved and rehabilitated through voluntary action and the regulatory process, and (c) all powers conferred by this chapter as amended, are for public uses and purposes for which public money may be expended and such other powers exercised, and the necessity in the public interest for the provisions of this chapter is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination. A municipality or community to the greatest extent it determines to be feasible in carrying out the provisions of this act and the act to which his act is a supplement shall afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the municipality or community as a whole, to the conservation or rehabilitation or redevelopment of areas by private enterprise.
Section 8. That Chapter 45 of Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4525, be repealed and in lieu thereof the following be substituted:
Following such hearing, the local governing body may approve an urban renewal project and the plan therefor if it finds that (1) a feasible method exists for the location of families who will be displaced from the urban renewal area in decent, safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations within their means and without undue hardship to such families; (2) the urban renewal plan conforms to the general plan of the municipality or community as a whole; (3) the urban renewal plan gives due consideration to the provision of adequate park and recreational areas and facilities that may be desirable for neighborhood improvement, with special consideration for the health, safety and welfare of children residing in the general vicinity of the site covered by the plan; and (4) the urban renewal plan will afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the municipality or community as a whole, for the rehabilitation or redevelopment of the urban renewal area by private enterprise; provided, that if the urban renewal area consists of an area of open land to be acquired by the municipality or community, such areas shall not be so acquired unless (1) if it is to be developed for residential uses, the local governing body shall determine that a shortage of housing of sound standards and design which is decent, safe and sanitary exists in the municipality or community; that the need for housing accommodations has been or will be increased as a result of the clearance of slums in other areas; that the conditions of blight in the area and the shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing cause or contribute to an increase in and spread of disease and crime and constitute a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare; and that the acquisition of the area for residential uses is an integral part of and essential to the program of the municipality or community, or (2) if it is to be developed for a non-residential uses, the local governing body shall determine that such non-residential uses are necessary and appropriate to facilitate the proper growth and development of the community in accordance with sound planning standards and local community objectives, which acquisition may require the exercise of governmental action, as provided in this chapter, because of defective or unusual conditions of title, diversity or ownership, tax delinquency, improper subdivisions out moded street patterns, deterioration of site, economic disuse, unsuitable topography or faulty lot layouts, the need for the correlation of the area with other areas of a municipality or community, by streets and modern traffic requirements, or any combination of such factors or other conditions which retard development of the area.
Section 9. That Chapter 45, Title 31, Delaware Code, § 4520, be amended by adding thereto the following:
(a) The Authority or any public body authorized to perform planning work may prepare a general neighborhood renewal plan for urban renewal areas which may be of such scope that urban renewal activities may have to be carried out in stages over an estimated period of up to 10 years. Such plan may include, but is not limited to, a preliminary plan which (1) outlines the urban renewal activities proposed for the area involved, (2) provides a framework for the preparation of urban renewal plans, and (3) indicates generally the land uses, population density, building coverage, prospective requirements for rehabilitation and improvement of property and portions of the area contemplated for clearance and redevelopment. A general neighborhood renewal plan shall, in the determination of the local governing body, conform to the general plan of the locality as a whole and the workable program of the municipality.
(b) The Authority or any public body authorized to perform planning work may prepare or complete a community-wide plan or program for urban renewal which shall conform to the general plan for the development of the municipality or community as a whole and may include, but is not limited to, identification of slum or blighted areas, measurement of blight, determination of resources needed and available to renew such areas, identification of potential project areas and types of action contemplated and scheduling or urban renewal activities.
Approved December 27, 1965.