CHAPTER 459

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 562

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 216 VOLUME 27 LAWS OF DELAWARE RELATING TO "AN ACT AMENDING MERGING AND CONSOLIDATING THE CHARTER OF NEW CASTLE BY PROVIDING NEW CASTLE WITH AUTHORITY TO ANNEX TERRITORY.

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. Amend Chapter 216 Volume 21 Laws of Delaware by adding a new Section 29.

"Section 29. In the event it becomes feasible and necessary in the future for the city of New Castle to enlarge its then existing limits and territory, such annexation accomplished pursuant to the following procedures shall be lawful:

(a) If all of the property owners and qualified voters of the territory contiguous to the then existing corporate limits and territory of the City, by written petition with the signature of each such petitioncr duly acknowledged shall request the Council to annex that certain territory in which they reside or own property, the President of Council shall appoint a Committee composed of not less than three (3) of the deemed appropriate to investigate the possibility of annexation. The petition presented to the Council shall include a description of the territory requested to be annexed and the reasons for the requested annexation. Not later than ninety (90) days following its appointment the Committee shall submit a written report containing its findings and conclusions to the Mayor and Council. The report so submitted shall include the advantages and disadvantages of the proposcd annexation both to the City and to the territory proposed to be annexed and shall contain the recommendation of the Committee whether or not to proceed with the proposed annexation and the reasons therefor. The Council may then pass a Resolution annexing such territory to the City. Such Resolution must be passed by the affirmative vote of two thirds (2/3) of all the elected members of the Council.

Once the favorable vote for annexation shall have been cast, the Council shall cause a description and a plot of the territory so annexed to be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for New Castle County, but in no event shall said recordation be completed more than ninety (90) days following the date of the favorable vote for annexation by the Council. The territory considered for annexation shall be considered to be a part of the City from the time of recordation. The failure to record the description of the plot within the specified time shall not make the annexation invalid, but such annexation shall be deemed to be effective at the expiration of the ninety (90) day period from the date of the favorable vote of Council.

(b) If less than all of the property owners and qualified voters of a territory contiguous to the then limits and territory of the City by written petition, with the signature of each such petitioner duly acknowledged, shall request the Council to annex that certain territory in which they own property, the President Council shall appoint a Committee composed of not less than three (3) of the elected members of Council, and such other persons as arc deemed appropriate, to investigate the possibility of annexation. The petition presented to the Council shall include a description of the territory requested to be annexed and the reasons for the requested annexation.

(c) In the absence of the presentation to Council of a petition as described in paragraph (b) above, the President of Council may appoint a Committee composed of not less than three (3) of the elected members of Council and such other persons as may be deemed appropriate to investigate the possibility of annexation, if, upon the motion of any member of Council, a majority of all of the members of Council vote in favor of the appointment of a Committee. All procedures set forth hereafter governing annexation shall apply whether the annexation proceeding originates in Council or by petition of property owners and residents of the territory proposed to be annexed.

(d) Not later than ninety (90) days following its appointment be the Council, the Committee shall submit a writtcn report containing its findings and conclusions to the Mayor and Council. The report shall include the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed annexation both to the City and to the territory proposed to be annexed and shall contain the recommendation of the Committee whether or not to proceed with the proposed annexation and the reasons therefor. In the event that the Committee concludes that the proposed annexation is advantageous both to the city and to the territory proposed to be annexed, within thirty (30) days after receiving the report, the Council shall vote on a Resolution proposing annexation to the property owners and residents of both the city and the territory proposed to be annexed. The Resolution must be passed by the affirmative vote of a majority of all the elected members

of the Council. Indicating to the property owners and residents of both the city and the territory proposed to be annexed that the city proposes to annex certain territory contiguous to its then limits and territory. In the event that the Committee concludes that the proposed annexation is disadvantageous either to the city or to the territory proposed to be annexed, within (30) days after receiving the report of the Committee, the Council shall vote on a Resolution proposing annexation to the property owners and residents of both the City and the territory property proposed to be annexed. The Resolution must be passed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of all the elected members of the Council. If the Resolution proposing annexation shall fail to receive the affirmative vote of a majority or two-thirds (2/3), as the case may require, of the elected members of the Council, the territory proposed to be annexed shall not again be considered for annexation for a period of one (1) year from the date that such Resolution failed to receive the required afffirmative vote. The Resolution proposing annexation shall contain a description of the territory proposed to be annexed, shall describe the zoning proposed for the territory to be annexed and shall fix a time and place for a public hearing on the subject of the proposed annexation. The Resolution adopted by the Council setting forth the above information shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City and in the territory proposed to be annexed at least 15 days prior to the date set for the public hearing and shall be posted in four (4) public places both in the City and in the territory proposed to be annexed.

(c) Following the public hearing, but in no event later than thirty (30) days thereafter, a second Resolution shall be considered by Council ordering a Special Election to be held not less than thirty (30) nor more than sixty (60) days after passage of the Resolution on the subject of the proposed annexation. Passage of this second Resolution shall be considered the determination of the Council to proceed with the matter of the proposed annexation. If the Committee recommended annexation then this Resolution must be adopted by a majority of Council. If the committee did not recommend annexation then it must be passed by two- thirds (2/3) of all the members of Council.

(I) The notice of the time and place of said Special Election shall be published within thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of the Special Election in at least two (2) issues of a newspaper having a general circulation in the City and in the territory proposed to be annexed, shall be posted in four (4) public places, both in the City and in the territory proposed to be annexed, at least fifteen (15) days prior to the date set for the said Special Election.

(g) At the Special Election, the following rules shall govern eligibility to vote:

(1) Each legal entity (whether an individual partnership, corporation, association. trust, or any other entity capable of holding legal title), owning property solcy in its own name. shall be entitled to one vote. Where property is held in a life estate, the holders of the life estate shall be deemed, for purposes of this provision, to be the owners in fee thereof and entitled to vote accordingly.

(ill Each bona fide domiciliary of the territory shall be entitled to one vote provided they are 18 years of age or older and have resided in the territory for at least 30 days prior to the day of the election.

(ill) These rules shall be construed so as to permit only one- man, one- vote. Where a voter is entitled to vote by virtue of both residence and ownership of property in the territory, that voter shall be entitled to only one vote; where a voter is entitled to vote by virtue of ownership of two or more properties in the territory, that voter shall be entitled to only one vote.

(iv) Any legal entity entitled to vote (other than a natural person) must cast their vote by a duly executed power of attorney.

(v) Any person holding a power of attorney will be accompanied into the voting booth be an election officer to Insure that the vote Is cast in accordance with the power of attorney. In the event that an individual holds a power of attorney duly executed and acknowledged specifically authorizing the individual to vote at the Special Election, a duly authenticated power of attorney so filed shall constitute conclusive evidence of the right of said person to vote in the Special Election.

(v1) The books and records of the City in the case of property owners in the City and the books and records of the Board of Assessment of New Castle County and Department of Elections In the case of property owners and residents of the territory proposed to be annexed shall be conclusive evidence of the right of such property owners and citizens to vote at the Special Election.

(I) The Council shall appoint three (3) persons to act as a Board of Special Election, at least one (1) of whom shall vote as residents or property owners of the City shall be accomplished on at least one different voting machine. The polling place shall be open from twelve o'clock noon, prevailing time, until six o'clock in the afternoon, prevailing time, on the date set for the Special Election. All persons in the polling place at the time of the closing of the polls shall be permitted to vote, even though such votes are not cast until after the time for the closing of the polls. The Council or the Board of Special Election may call upon the Department of Elections for New Castle for such assistance as may be deemed necessary by the Council or the Board may deem advisable.

(j) Immediately upon the closing of the polling place, the Board of Special Election shall count the ballots for and against the proposed annexation and shall announce the result thereof, the Board of Special Election shall make a Certificate under their hands of the votes cast for and against the proposed annexation and the number of void votes and shall deliver the Certificate to the Council of the City of New Castle. Said Certificate shall be filed with the papers of the Council.

(k) In order for the territory proposed to be annexed to be considered annexed, a majority of the votes cast both from the City and from the territory proposed to be annexed must have been cast in favor of the proposed annexation. In the event that the Special Election results in an unfavorable vote for annexation. no part of the territory considered at the Special Election for annexation shall again be considered for annexation for a period of at least one (1) year from the date of the said Special Election, If a favorable vote for annexation shall have been cast, the Council shall cause a description and a plot of the territory so annexed to be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, in and for New Castle County. but in no event shall said recordation be completed more than ninety (90) days following the date of the said Special Election. The territory considered for annexation shall be considered to be a part of the City from the time of recordation. The failure to record the description or the plot within the specified time shall not make the annexation invalid. but such annexation shall be deemed to be effective at the expiration of the ninety (90) day period from the date of the favorable Special Election.

Approved July 8, 1986.