SENATE BILL NO. 40
AN ACT PURSUANT TO 22 DELAWARE CODE, SECTION 813(c), NEGATING THE VOTE ON NOVEMBER 7, 1978, BY THE CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON ON THE QUESTION OF ADDING AN ANNEXATION AMENDMENT (PROPOSED SECTION 1-105) TO THE WILMINGTON HOME RULE CHARTER OF 1979.
WHEREAS, The General Assembly of the State of Delaware believes that the proposed Charter Section 1-105 of the Charter of the City of Wilmington proposes an unwise and inappropriate method for alteration of the boundaries of the City of Wilmington; and
WHEREAS, Section 835(a)(5), Title 22 of the Delaware Code, prohibits the amendment of a city charter so as to "enlarge or otherwise alter the power or procedure whereby a municipal corporation may enlarge its boundaries"; and
WHEREAS, the proposed City of Wilmington's Charter Section 1-1054 is invalid since it alters the procedures whereby the City of Wilmington may enlarge its boundaries.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each Howe thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. The General Assembly hereby negates the referendum regarding annexation (proposed Section 1-105) purportedly passed by the voters of the City of Wilmington on November 7, 1978, which reads as follows:
"Are you in favor of amending the Wilmington City Charter to provide methods for the extension of City boundaries by annexation of land by the City when approved by the owners and residents of the area annexed?"
Proposed Section 1-105 entitled, Extension of City of Wilmington, reads as follows:
"Section 1-105. Extension of City of Wilmington boundaries: Special Elections; Voting Rights
(a) The City of Wilmington may, by ordinance, extend the boundary limits of the City so as to include any portion of the adjoining or adjacent territory provided that:
(1) When the territory to be annexed consists of two (2) or more separate parcels of real estate owned by two (2) or more different record owners, none being the City of Wilmington, twenty-five percent (25%) of the real estate owners in such territory have petitioned the City of Wilmington to request a special election to determine if a majority of said qualified voters of the territory to be annexed are in favor of being included in the limits of the City of Wilmington. At such election, if the majority of the qualified voters in such territory shall vote approval to be included within the limits of the City of Wilmington, then and only then shall such territory be Included within the limits of the City of Wilmington. For the purposes of this subsection, 'qualified voter' shall mean:
(ii Each voter residing in the territory to be annexed who is qualified to vote at the next general election as of the date of a special election held pursuant to this section not being a property owner of real estate in such territory to be annexed shall have one (1) vote;
(ii) Each owner of record of real estate situated in the territory to be annexed shall have one (1) vote. Such special election shall be held by the proper election officers of the district or districts embracing the territory.
(2) When the territory to be annexed consists of one (1) or more separate parcels of real estate owned by one (1) record owner, not being the City of Wilmington, the record owner shall have petitioned the City of Wilmington requesting that the territory be annexed and the City of Wilmington thereafter adopts an ordinance duly passed by the City Council. Annexation under this subparagraph shall be effected without an election.
(3) When the territory to be annexed is owned only by the City of Wilmington, the City of Wilmington adopts an ordinance duly passed by the City Council. Annexation under this subparagraph shall be effected without an election.
(4) The aforesaid ordinance shall provide for the zoning classification of the annexed territory and shall further specify of which of the eight (8) councilmanic districts the annexed territory shall become a part.
(b) As used in this section:
'Adjacent' means to lie upon or touch the boundary of the City of Wilmington.
'Adjoining' in addition to its general meaning shall also mean to lie upon or touch a highway, railway, or watercourse which lies upon the boundary line of the City of Wilmington and separates the City of Wilmington and the territory sought to be annexed by only the width of such highway, railway, or watercourse. If more than one (I) highway and/or railway and/or watercourse, or any combination of the same, separates the City of Wilmington and the territories to be annexed, and such highways and/or railways and/or watercourses lie upon or touch each other, then the City of Wilmington and the territory sought to be annexed shall be deemed to be adjoining."
Section 2. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting municipal charter amendments by the City of Wilmington or by any other municipality which enlarge or otherwise alter the power or procedure whereby a municipal corporation may enlarge its boundaries.
Approved February 6, 1979