AN ACT to amend Chapter 61 of the Revised Statutes of the State of Delaware.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, in General Assembly met, That Chapter 61 of the Revised Statutes of Delaware be and the same is hereby amended by adding the following to said chapter as a fourth section thereof: "Any person may erect, or raise a dam to raise water for working any mill upon and across dams any stream in this State where it is not navigable, upon the terms and conditions, and subject to the regulations hereinafter expressed. No such dam shall be erected to the injury of any mill lawfully existing above it upon the same stream; nor to the injury of any mill site above it on the same stream; nor shall any dam be so erected or raised as to back the water upon any lands of a contiguous owner through or over which there is a fall of more than three feet ; nor unless the Person or persons applying shall he the owner or owners of the land where the abutment of said dam is built on one side of the stream. The Court of General Sessions of the Peace and Jail Delivery within each county shall have jurisdiction on all applications to authorize the building dams or raising of any dam in such county. The proceedings shall be by petition to the court upon fourteen days' notice, in writing, to all persons owning or holding land that will be affected by raising or building such dam; and such notice may be served to persons residing in the county personally, or by leaving a copy at his or her dwelling house; and persons residing out of the county by a copy sent to their address by mail. The court shall by order erect appoint five disinterested and substantial freeholders of the county as commissioners, directing them to go upon and view the premises embraced within the application for authority to raise or erect any dam; and in conformity with section 2 of this act, after due and careful examination of these premises, they shall determine to what height it shall be lawful for the person or persons making application to raise or build such dam; and they shall affix some durable mark at some place convenient and contiguous to such dam, to designate the height thereof: they shall also assess the full value of the damages that each owner of the lands may sustain by reason of the erection or raising of such dam, taking into consideration the benefit as well as damages accruing to such owners ; and shall make return in writing, on the first day of the next term of the court holden after their appointment, of their proceedings, clearly set forth in writing under their hands or the hands of a majority of them. Before the said commissioners shall enter upon the discharge of their duties under this act, they shall severally take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to perform their duty with fidelity. The commissioners may employ a surveyor or civil engineer to go upon the premises Compensation with them, if they deem it necessary. The commissioners and surveyor, or civil engineer, shall be paid the sum of two dollars for each and every day they may be employed under the order. If any owner or owners of land affected by raising or building any dam, shall be dissatisfied with the damages assessed to him or them, as returned by the commissioners or a Majority, of them on an order for viewing, and shall apply to the court, within six days after the return, for an order of review, the court shall grant shell order, and appoint five other suitable persons to review the premises and reassess the damages to the lands of such persons as join in the application for a review, and which are or will be damaged by the raising or building of said dam. If no greater damages are allowed to the owner of any land than were given on the first order, said owner shall not receive any larger sum than is assessed by the commissioners appointed on the order of review.
All expenses on each order of court shall be paid by the person or persons who apply for the order. Whenever any person or persons who make any application to raise or build any dam, shall have paid the damages assessed in conformity with this act, or in ease of a refusal to receive any of said damages, shall have made a lawful tender of the sums so refused, he or they shall have authority to raise or build such dam to the height as returned by the commissioners, or a majority of them, who were appointed upon his or their petition.
SEC. 2. And be it enacted, That in any edition of the laws of this State, to be hereafter published, the said Chapter 61 of the amended, Revised Statutes of the State of Delaware shall be printed as herein by this act amended.
Passed at Dover, February 8, 1850.