OF ROADS AND BRIDGES.
AN ACT Concerning the Elimination of Grade Crossings
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. Whenever it is desired to eliminate any grade crossing in this State, either by lowering or raising the grade of any public road at any such grade crossing, whereby it becomes necessary to take or occupy any property for the purpose of eliminating such grade crossing, or whereby any damage will be done to any property adjacent thereto, the owner or owners of such property shall be paid or tendered such damages as they shall respectively be entitled to receive, whether said damages shall be caused by the County or by any railroad company or companies whose tracks or road-beds are located at said crossings; which damages shall be assessed as follows, viz:
FIRST: Five or more freeholders of the county, or the President of the Levy Court of the County upon resolution of said Court, may apply to the Resident Judge of Resident Judge the County where the grade crossing which it is desired to eliminate is located, or where the property desired to be taken or liable to be damaged is located, first giving all parties in interest, or their legal representatives, at least five days' notice in writing of the intended application, if they be within the State and under no legal disability to receive the same; and if any owner or party interest be unknown or without the State or under legal disability to receive such notice, and have no legal representatives within the State, then such notice shall be published in some newspaper of the County in which such grade crossing is located at least five days previous to the intended application and the Resident Associate Judge shall appoint five judicious and impartial freeholders of the County to view the premises and make return on a day fixed by such Resident Associate Judge, authorizing the freeholders so appointed to employ, if necessary, a skilled engineer or surveyor, who shall submit to the said five freeholders such maps, plans and specifications as will show the changes required, if any, in the public road and the property or properties adjacent thereto to eliminate such crossing.
SECOND: In all, cases they shall assess the damages which the owner or owners or other parties in interest will sustain by reason of the elimination of said grade crossing, whether such damage shall be caused by the County or by any railroad company or companies in making such changes as are required to eliminate such crossing.
THIRD: The freeholders named in such commission shall be first sworn or affirmed as in said commission shall be directed, and the return of such commissioners shall be made to the said Resident Associate Judge who shall file the same in the office of the Clerk of the Peace.
Section 2. The Return upon one commission shall not be conclusive, but upon application by any party in interest or by the President of the Levy Court of the County upon resolution of said Court, within fifteen days after the filing of such return, the Judge shall issue a commission of review appointing five other freeholders as aforesaid with like instruction as were contained in the first commission, provided that if a review be .granted upon the application of a person or persons interested, the review shall extend only to the assessment of damages made in respect to the person or persons making such application. If the return to a commission of a review varies in the damages assessed from the return to the original commission, the Judge shall grant a second commission of review upon the application of the President of the Levy Court of the County upon resolution of said Court, or of any person interested in the return to the commission of review, within ten days after the filing of such return. If a review be not applied for in due time, the return to the original commission shall be conclusive as to the amount of damages. If the returns to any two commissions correspond as to the amount of damages, such amount shall be conclusive, but if there be more than one return and none conclusive, under the foregoing provisions, the judge shall confirm such one of them as he shall deem most just, and the return so confirmed shall be conclusive.
The Judge may set aside a return to a commission for aside a return gross inequality or inequity, in which case lie shall issue another commission in its place, and the Judge shall have power to fill any vacancy in a commission. There shall be allowed to the Commission for their services Three Dollars ($3.00) per day.
Section 3. The amount of damages being so ascertained, the Levy Court of the County, the duly authorized officers of the State or any person interested may pay or tender the same to the party, parties, person or persons entitled thereto within two calendar months after the same shall have been finally ascertained, or if the party, parties, person or persons so entitled reside out of or are absent from the county during all or any part of said period of two months, then the same may be deposited to its, their, his or her credit in the Farmers' Bank of Delaware at the County seat of the county wherein such proceedings are instituted within said time, and thereupon it shall be lawful to take or occupy said property or properties and to make such changes as shall be necessary to eliminate such crossing.
Section 4. Whenever damages shall have been assessed to any owner or owners of property for the elimination of any grade crossing as hereinbefore stated, and the Levy Court of the County, duly authorized officers of the State or persons interested, shall omit or neglect to pay or tender the amount of certain damages to the party, parties, person or persons entitled to the same or to deposit the same in the manner and within the time herein provided for such payment or tender or deposit, no further application or proceedings shall be made or had for the elimination of such grade crossing for which said damages were assessed until after the expiration of two
years from and after the said assessment.
Section 5. That all acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this act be and the same are hereby repealed.
Approved March 19, A. D. 1913.