CHAPTER 138

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 162

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 17 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DISPOSITION OF SURPLUS PROPERTY.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 17 §137(b) of the Delaware Code by striking paragraph (b) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) When any property heretofore or hereafter acquired either by gift, purchase, or condemnation is no longer needed for transportation purposes, because the project is either completed or abandoned, the Department may dispose of the property using the following mechanisms:

(1) Except as provided in other subsections of this Section, the Department shall, in writing, notify the owner from which the real property was acquired or his/her successor in interest that the subject real property has been declared no longer needed for transportation purposes. Such notice is not required if the owner waived such interest at the time of initial Departmental purchase.

(2) The previous owner or successor in interest may elect to reacquire the property by providing written notice to the Department within 30 days of the Department's written notification of availability. The cost to the previous owner shall be based upon the Department's approved appraised value of the property as determined by a qualified appraiser(s). The previous owner or successor in interest must accept or reject the Department's resale offer within 30 days of written notice of approved appraised value and shall be prepared to settle for such reacquisition of property within 120 days of the Department's written notice of fair-market value. Should settlement not occur on this schedule through no fault of the Department, the Department may elect to invalidate the sale and proceed with public disposition.

(3) The Department shall determine if its disposable property has independent utility and in such cases shall sell the real property by public sale at a price not less than the approved appraised value as determined by a qualified appraiser.

(4) The Department shall notify the public of the sale by posting a notice of sale on the property at least two weeks before the sale and publishing a notice of the sale for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the property is located.

(5) The notice of sale shall describe the property to be sold; state the date, time, terms, conditions, and place a sale which should, when possible, be held on site.

(6) The public sale may be conducted by Departmental personnel.

(7) At the conclusion of the sale, the Department's representative shall announce the name of the highest bidder and the amount of the bid. If the highest bid is not equal to or greater than the approved appraised value, the Department's representative shall reject all bids and cancel public sale. The Department's representative shall record the results of the sale including the name and amount of the next-highest bid.

(8) The Department shall have the authority to accept or reject the highest bid, except that to be accepted the highest bid must be in an amount equal to or greater than the approved appraised value. The Department shall reject a bid only for due cause.

(9) In the event the Department confirms the sale and the highest bidder defaults, the Department may convey the property to the next highest bidder, provided that this bid was recorded at the public sale and was not less than the approved appraised value.

(10)In the event the Department rejects the purchase offer, the public sale will be deemed cancelled.

(11)If there is no bidder for the property or all the bids are rejected for cause, the Department may then proceed to market the property for direct private sale at a price not less than the property's approved appraised value.

(12)The provisions of subsection (3) of this Section do not apply to previous owner conveyances set forth in paragraph (2).

(13)Notwithstanding other provisions of this Section, the Department may determine the disposable property has minimal individual public utility for reasons such as but not limited to lack of access, irregular shape, or small size, and in such cases may negotiate the direct sale of such real property to an adjoining owner at a price not less than the property's approved appraised value. In cases where more than one adjoining owner indicates an interest in purchasing such a property of minimal public utility, the Department may elect to offer the property for sale via sealed bid to the highest bidder, or to divide the property to accommodate the interests of interested owners provided the total value received is not less than the approved appraised value of the property in its entirety.

(14) Notwithstanding other provisions of this Section, the Department may convey its surplus real property by direct sale to adjoining property owners as consideration in a right-of-way acquisition transaction provided the provisions of subsection (1) hereof are not abridged and the Department's trade of lands occur on a dollar-for-dollar value exchange in accordance with an approved appraised value.

(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this Section, the Department may dispose of its surplus real property to other governmental agencies or entities, for public purposes, on terms acceptable to the Department and the other agency or entity.

(16) Notwithstanding other provisions of this Section, the Department may convey its surplus real property or an interest in such property by direct sale to a public utility company when such property is needed for public utility purposes, provided the Department receives in return the approved appraisal value.

(c) As used in this Section, the term "approved appraised value" shall be interpreted as:

(1) When the estimated value of the property is less than $5,000, an appraisal performed by a qualified Department employee, reviewed and approved by a qualified Department review appraiser.

(2) When the estimated value of the property is in excess of $5,000, an appraisal performed by a qualified independent appraiser, reviewed and approved by a qualified Department review appraiser."

Section 2. The effective date of this Act shall be January 1, 1994.

Approved July 14, 1993.