AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 183, VOLUME 22, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE TOWN OF GREENWOOD" TO PROVIDE POWER AND AUTHORITY FOR THE LAYING OUT, LOCATING OR OPENING NEW STREETS, THE WIDENING OR ALTERING OF EXISTING STREETS AND THE VACATING OR ABANDONING OF STREETS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all members elected to each House concurring therein):
Section 1. Section 8, Chapter 183, Volume 22, Laws of Delaware, as amended, is hereby further amended by striking out all of Section 8 and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
Section 8 (a). The Town Council shall have the power and authority to lay out, locate and open new streets or to widen and alter existing streets or parts thereof and to vacate or abandon streets or parts thereof, whenever they shall deem it for the best interest of the Town.
(b) The procedure to be used to do any of those things heretofore listed shall be as follows:
Whenever five (5) or more property owners in a portion of the Town directly affected or abutting on the proposed street to be opened, laid out, changed, altered, or closed, shall by written petition with each signature duly acknowledged, request the Town Council to lay out, locate, or open a new street or to widen or alter an existing street or any part thereof or to vacate or abandon a street or any part thereof, the President of the Town Council shall appoint a committee composed of not less than three (3) of the elected members of the Town Council to investigate the possibility of changing the structure of the streets in the Town. The petition presented to the Council by the property owners shall include a description of property through which the proposed street shall be laid out or a description of the Street on which any other of the actions hereinbefore described shall take place and the reasons why the change in the structure of the streets of the Town Should be undertaken; or the Town Council by a majority vote of the elected members thereof may by Resolution propose that a committee of not less than three (3) of its elected members be appointed by the President of the Town Council to investigate the possibility of changing the street structure of the Town for any of the reasons hereinbefore set forth.
(c) Not later than ninety (90) days following its appointment the committee shall submit a report concerning its findings to the President of the Town Council and the Town Council. The report shall contain the advantages and disadvantages to the Town caused by the changing of the street structure and shall contain the conclusion of said committee either recommending or disapproving the changing of such street structure. If the report of the committee appointed by the President of the Town Council recommends changing the existing street structure of the Town of Greenwood and a majority of the elected members of the Town Council concur therein, the Council by resolution shall propose to the property owners and citizens of the Town that the Council proposes to change the street structure by opening a new street or by doing any of those things hereinbefore described to the existing street structure of the Town. If the report of the committee appointed by the President of the Town Council is not in favor of changing the existing street structure of the Town of Greenwood the resolution proposing the change in the street structure to the property owners and citizens of the Town of Greenwood shall be passed by a majority of three-fourths of the elected members of the Town Council. The resolution shall contain a description of the proposed change and shall fix a time and place for a public hearing on the matter of changing the street structure. The resolution adopted by the Town Council shall be printed in a newspaper published in the Town of Greenwood, or, if no newspaper is published hi the Town of Greenwood, publication .may be had in a newspaper having a general circulation in the Town, or in the discretion of the Town Council, the resolution shall be posted in five (5) public places in the Town for at least one week before the time set for the public hearing. The resolution shall also state the hour and place where and when the Town Council shall sit to hear objections and to award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property by the proposed change in the existing street structure of the Town.
(d) Whenever the Town Council shall have determined to locate or lay-out or widen any street, lane or alley, and shall have affixed the compensation therefor, it shall be their duty, immediately after the survey and location of said street, lane or alley, to notify by registered letter with return receipt requested, the owner or owners of the real estate through or over which such street, lane or alley may run, of their determination to open or widen the same, and to furnish a general description of the location thereof; also the amount of the compensation or damages allowed to each such property owner, and if such owner is not a resident within the Town, to notify the holder or tenant of said real estate and the owner of such property if his address be known; but if there be no holder or tenant resident in said Town and the address of the owner be unknown, or if there is a holder or tenant and the address of the owner be unknown, the said notice may be affixed to any part of the premises. If the owner is dissatisfied with the amount of compensation or damages allowed by the Town as aforesaid, said property owner may, within ten (10) days after such notice as aforesaid was posted or mailed, appeal from the written notice of assessment or compensation or damages by serving written notice by registered mail with return receipt requested upon the President of the Town Council to the effect that he or she is dissatisfied with the amount of said compensation or damages, and it is his or her intention to make written application to one of the Judges of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex County for the appointment of a Commission to hear and determine the matter in controversy; and in order to prosecute said appeal, such owner shall within fifteen (15) days after serving said notice upon the President as aforesaid, make written application to said Judge of the Superior Court of this State who is that time resident of Sussex County for the appointment of such a commission; and there upon the said Judge shall issue and appoint a Commission directed to five (5) freeholders of the said County, three (3) of whom shall be residents of the Town of Greenwood, and two (2) of whom shall be non-residents of the said Town, demanding them to assess the damages which the owner of the real estate through or over which the said street, lane or alley shall pass, and who shall have notified the said Town Council of their intention to appeal, may incur by reason thereof, and to make return of their proceeding to the said Judge at the time therein appointed.
(e) The freeholders named in such Commission, being first duly sworn or affirmed shall view the premises and shall by majority vote assess the damages as aforesaid, and shall make return, in writing of their proceedings to the said Judge who shall deliver and return to the Town Council, which shall be final and conclusive. The said Judge shall have the power to fill any vacancy in the Commission. The amount of damages being so ascertained, the Town Council may pay or tender the same to the person or persons entitled thereto within thirty (30) days after the same shall be finally ascertained, or if the person or persons so entitled reside out of, or are absent from the Town during the said period of thirty (30) days, then same shall be deposited to his or her credit in the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware with offices in Georgetown, Sussex County, Delaware, within said time, and thereupon the said property of lands may be taken or occupied for the uses aforesaid.
(f) If the ascertainment and assessment of damages by the freeholders appointed by the Judge as aforesaid shall be increased, the cost of the appeal shall be paid by the Town out of any money in the hands of the Treasurer belonging to the Town; but if said damages shall not be increased, the cost of the appeal shall be paid by the party appealing. The said freeholder members of the Commission shall receive and be allowed for each day's actual service or of any part of a day the sum of Five Dollars ($5.00). After the damages shall be fixed and ascertained by the freeholders, the Town Council shall have the option to pay the damages assessed within the time aforesaid and to proceed with the said improvements, or, upon the payment of the costs only, may abandon the proposed improvements.
(g) In the event that the Town Council feels that the damages assessed are not just in that they are excessive, it may then appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware. If the owner of the property feels that the damages awarded are inadequate, such owner may appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware.
Approved April 30, 1969.