CHAPTER 268

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 399

AN ACT TO AMEND CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER 7 OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON HOME RULE CHARTER RELATING TO APPEALS PROCEDURES BY THE COMMISSIONER OF LICENSES AND INSPECTIONS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

WHEREAS, litter, weeds, garbage, rubbish and other offensive materials which are placed and/or permitted to remain on private property create an eye-sore and pose a threat to public health and safety; and

WHEREAS, criminal penalties have not been sufficiently effective in deterring violations of the Wilmington City Code provisions relating to the removal of fecal matter, health and sanitation and the storage and disposal of garbage and rubbish; and

WHEREAS, it is believed that subjecting failure to comply with these City Code provisions to civil penalties immediately imposed will have more of a deterrent effect on this unlawful conduct, and will also eliminate the costs associated with criminalizing these violations; and

WHEREAS, the Wilmington City Council has introduced an ordinance to amend Chapters 3, 13, 34 and 45 of the City Code to subject failure to comply with the City Code provisions relating to the removal of fecal matter, health and sanitation and the storage and disposal of garbage and rubbish to civil penalties, and establish a new appeals procedure applicable to these civil penalties; and

WHEREAS, under that new appeals procedure, appeals from the civil penalties will be decided by the Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or his or her designee without a hearing, rather than by the Board of Licenses and Inspections Review; and

WHEREAS, the current provisions of 1 Wilm.C. (Charter) Chapter 7 require appeals from actions taken by the Department of Licenses and Inspections to be decided by the Board of Licenses and Inspections Review, and require the appellants to be afforded a hearing; and

WHEREAS, the Wilmington City Charter may be amended by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of the Delaware General Assembly, pursuant to the provisions of § 811, Title 22, Delaware Code.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 7 of the City of Wilmington Home Rule Charter by deleting the stricken language and adding the underlined language to state as follows:

"Chapter 7. Department of Licenses and Inspections and its Departmental Boards.

Sec. 5-702. Functions of department generally.

The department of licenses and inspections shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:

(d) Enforcement of ordinances, etc. The department shall determine as the result of its inspections whether any person or the owner of any property is violating the conditions of any license, or whether or not any property owner is violating or failing to comply with any statute, ordinance or regulation which it is the duty of the department to enforce. If the department shall find a violation or non-compliance to exist, it shall forthwith make such order or take such other lawful action as may be necessary to correct the dangerous or unlawful condition; and if necessary, it shall invoke the assistance of the law department or the Wilmington Police or both.

Sec. 5-703. Transmission of copies and reports.

The department of licenses and inspections shall:

(c) Violations and Non-compliance. Transmit to the city solicitor a report of every violation of and non-compliance with any statute, ordinance or regulation concerning any license, or discovered upon any inspection.

Sec. 5-705. Board of license and inspection review.

The board of license and inspection review shall provide an appeal procedure whereby any person aggrieved by the issuance, transfer, renewal, refusal, suspension, revocation or cancellation of any city license or by any notice, order or other action as a result of any city inspection affecting him directly (except for any civil penalty imposed pursuant to Sections 3-12, or Chapter 13 of the City Code), shall upon request be furnished with a written statement of the reasons for the action taken and afforded a hearing thereon by the board of license and inspection review. Upon such hearing, the board shall hear any evidence which the aggrieved party or the city may desire to offer, shall make findings and render a decision in writing. The board may affirm, modify, reverse, vacate or revoke the action from which the appeal was taken to it.

Sec. 5-708. Appeals to commissioner of licenses and inspections.

The commissioner of licenses and inspections shall provide an appeal procedure whereby any person aggrieved by any civil penalty imposed pursuant to Sections 3-12 or Chapter 13 of the City Code may submit a detailed written explanation of the grounds for the appeal, along with payment in full of the civil penalty. After reviewing such written submission, the commissioner of licenses and inspections or his or her designee shall issue a written decision affirming, modifying, reversing, vacating or revoking the civil penalty, and such decision shall be final. In the event the civil penalty is reversed, revoked, vacated or decreased in amount, the appellant shall be reimbursed for payment of the portion of the civil penalty found to have been wrongfully imposed.".

Approved May 15, 2006