CHAPTER 527

AN ACT DECLARING A MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN ACTIVITIES ALONG THE DELAWARE RIVER AND BAY, DECLARING ACTIVITIES IN VIOLATION OF THE MORATORUM TO BE PUBLIC NUISANCES AND PROVIDING CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE MORATORIUM.

WHEREAS, the People of the State of Delaware have a paramount interest in the conservation, utilization, development, management and control of the lands bordering on the Delaware shore of the Delaware River and Bay; and

WHEREAS, a comprehensive multi-purpose plan for the protection of such interest in the River and Bay area is under study, and legislation concerning the utilization, development, management and control of the lands bordering the River and Bay is planned for presentation in the near future; and

WHEREAS, it has come to the attention of the Members of the General Assembly that certain diking, filling, bulkheading, dumping, creating of piers and other such activities are planned or are underway which should be reviewed in accordance with the contemplated plan and impending legislation to ascertain whether such activities are in the best interest of the State; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly is concerned with such activities and at the same time wishes to preserve the basic property rights inherent in land owners along the River and Bay; and

WHEREAS, such activities may involve an immediate threat of loss of access by fishermen, boaters and others to the Delaware River and Bay;

NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the Members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Fifteen days after the Governor signs this Act a moratorium is declared on all diking, bulkheading, filling, dumping, creation of piers or other such activity on lands bordering the Delaware River and Bay which is taking place or is planned for the area between the high and low water marks along the Delaware River and Bay within the State of Delaware. All such activities which are in progress as of the aforementioned date shall cease immediately and shall not be resumed unless and until done in conformity with the procedure set forth herein. This moratorium shall remain in effect until June 30, 1971, unless repealed sooner by an Act of the General Assembly.

Section 2. The moratorium declared in Section 1 hereof shall not apply to any repair to or maintenance of any piers or bulkheads which were constructed prior to the effective date of said moratorium. This exemption shall apply as long as no extensions or additions are made to previously constructed piers or bulkheads. Any extension or addition if constructed shall be made only in conformity with the procedures set forth herein.

Section 3. The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control shall be empowered to determine when and if there is a pressing and urgent need sufficient to allow diking, bulkheading, filling, dumping, creation of piers or other such activity. After such determination, the Secretary may, with the written approval of the Governor, grant a permit with whatever restriction the Secretary deems necessary.

Section 4. Any person, individual, association, company, partnership or corporation which conducts any diking, bulk-heading, filling, dumping, creation of piers or other such activities after the moratorium declared herein becomes effective without first obtaining a permit as prescribed in Section 3 hereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined for each day of such offense a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000).

Section 5. Any diking, bulkheading, filling, dumping, creation of piers or other such activity conducted after the effective date of the moratorium declared herein for which a permit has not been obtained, as prescribed in Section 3 hereof, is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. The Attorney General is empowered, authorized and directed to bring suit to enjoin such public nuisance in the Court of Chancery.

Section 6. If any section, subsection, phrase, sentence, word, or words herein shall be declared unconstitutional or any section as it applies to any factual circumstances is declared to be unconstitutional any other sections, subsections, phrases, sentences, word or words shall remain in full force and effect and for the purposes of any further factual circumstances this law shall remain in full force and effect.

Approved June 9, 1970.