§ 101 Annexation by city or town.
Any city or town proposing to extend its boundaries, irrespective of any municipal charter provisions, whether such extension is proposed by action of the General Assembly or pursuant to the provisions of a home rule charter, except any proposed annexation that has been submitted to the Office of State Planning Coordination prior to July 13, 2001, for review, shall conform to the following provisions:
(1) All annexations must be consistent with the most recently adopted municipal comprehensive plan meeting the requirements of Chapter 7 of this title. The area or areas being considered must be depicted as area or areas for future annexation on the adopted plan. If a municipality does not have an adopted comprehensive plan, or if its adopted comprehensive plan does not depict areas for future annexation, it shall prepare and adopt a plan or plan amendment within 12 months of July 13, 2001. The municipality shall not approve any annexations until such plan or plan amendment is adopted, notwithstanding any other charter provisions; except that during the 12-month period a municipality may consider an annexation of already developed parcels where the proposed use or uses will not change from that currently authorized in the adjacent jurisdiction and where the primary purpose of the annexation is to address existing public health or safety issues such as, but not limited to, failing on-site wastewater disposal systems or contaminated or inadequate drinking water. In such cases, paragraphs (2) through (5) of this section shall not apply.
(2) Anything in this chapter or in any municipal charter notwithstanding, a municipal corporation shall have the ability to annex a parcel only if and to the extent that such parcel is contiguous with existing municipal boundaries. "Contiguous" means that a part of the boundary of the parcel sought to be annexed by a municipal corporation is conterminous with a part of the boundary of the municipal corporation. The separation of the parcel sought to be annexed from the annexing municipal corporation by (i) a right of way for a highway, road railroad, canal or utility, or (ii) a body of water or watercourse, running parallel with and between the parcel sought to be annexed and the annexing municipality shall not prevent annexation pursuant to this section; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to allow rights of way, utility easements, waterways or like entities to be annexed in corridor fashion or to be utilized as a corridor route for annexation to gain contiguity.
(3) A city or town shall prepare a plan of services indicating those services it expects to provide to the newly annexed area, how such services will be provided, and the fiscal and operating capabilities of the municipality to provide such services. Should any services be provided by another jurisdiction or a public utility regulated by the Delaware Public Service Commission, the written comments of such provider on the provider's ability to provide the necessary services for the proposed annexation shall be obtained and included in the plan of services. The study shall be conducted in accordance with standards or criteria established by the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues as administered by the Office of State Planning Coordination.
(4) At the time of annexation the jurisdiction shall by ordinance rezone the area being annexed to a zoning classification consistent with the adopted comprehensive plan or development strategy.
(5) A municipality proposing annexation must fully comply with the provisions of Chapter 92 of Title 29 as to state notice, and must demonstrate that it has notified all other affected jurisdictions, conducted a public hearing, and provided a comment period of at least 30 days before formal annexation. The city or town proposing annexation shall file with the State Office of Planning Coordination any written comments received concerning such proposed annexation together with any response or responses thereto.
(6) The Office of State Planning Coordination. shall establish a mechanism for resolving disputes between jurisdictions regarding annexations. The mechanism developed by the Office of State Planning Coordination shall address:
a. Determination of how the costs for the dispute resolution process are born among the parties;
b. Timeline for the dispute resolution process; and
c. Extent to which the dispute resolution process will be enforceable.
§ 101A Annexation by large municipalities; special elections.
(a) Any municipality in the State having a population in excess of 50,000, as enumerated in the most recent federal census, may extend the boundary limits of the municipality so as to include any portion of adjoining or adjacent territory, under the following terms and conditions:
(1) The annexation process under this section shall only be initiated by a written petition to annex adjacent or adjoining territory submitted by the municipality's chief executive officer, or by member or members of the municipality's legislative body, or by at least 25% of the qualified voters in the territory. The petition to annex, containing a general description of the territory, must be filed with the clerk of the municipality or equivalent municipal officer who is the keeper of official municipal legislative records and with the equivalent clerk or officer of the county in which the territory is situated.
(2) Upon the filing of a petition under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the annexation must be approved in the following order:
a. The legislative body of the municipality must enact an ordinance approving the proposed annexation. The ordinance must provide a legal description of the territory, adopt the corresponding changes to the boundaries of the municipality and contain such other provisions as may be required by law.
b. The chief executive officer of the municipality must approve the proposed annexation, as evidenced by the chief executive officer's actual signature approving the ordinance enacted by the municipality's legislative body pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)a. of this section.
c. The legislative body of the county in which the territory is situated must enact an ordinance approving the proposed annexation. The ordinance may incorporate by reference all or a portion of the ordinance enacted by the municipality's legislative body pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)a. of this section.
d. The chief executive officer of the county in which the territory is situated must approve the proposed annexation, as evidenced by the chief executive officer's actual signature approving the ordinance enacted by the county's legislative body pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)c. of this section.
e. A majority of the qualified voters in each parcel of the territory, voting in a special election held by the proper election official, must approve of the annexation. Such special election shall be held not less than 30 days nor later than 60 days following the date of approval of the county ordinance by the chief executive officer of the county pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)d. of this section.
f. If the proper election official certifies that the results of the special election indicate that a majority of the qualified voters in each parcel of the territory who voted in such election approved of the proposed annexation, the annexation shall become effective on the first day of the month immediately following such certification.
(b) If either legislative body shall fail to enact the respective ordinances required under paragraphs (a)(2)a. and c. of this section, or if either chief executive officer shall fail to approve such respective ordinances as required by paragraphs (a)(2)b. and d. of this section, or if the certification of the votes cast in the special election shall indicate that a majority of the qualified voters in each parcel of the territory who voted in such election was against the annexation of the territory, the proposed annexation of the territory shall be declared to have failed. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any interested party from resubmitting a petition for annexation of the territory, or any portion thereof, under the authority of and in accordance with this section.
(c) The following definitions shall apply to this section:
(1) "Adjacent" means to lie upon or touch the boundary of the municipality.
(2) "Adjoining," in addition to its general meaning, shall also mean to lie upon or touch a highway, railroad right-of-way, or watercourse which lies upon the boundary line of the municipality and separates the municipality and the territory by only the width of such highway, railroad right-of-way or watercourse. If more than 1 highway and/or railroad right-of-way and/or watercourse, or any combination of the same, separates the municipality and the territory, and such highways and/or railroad rights-of-way and/or watercourses lie upon or touch each other, then the municipality and the territory shall be deemed adjoining.
(3) "Election official" shall mean the person designated as the judge of the election under any special election law concerning annexations which applies to the particular municipality under Title 15 or otherwise.
(4) "Parcel" shall mean the property in the territory to which is assigned a separate tax parcel number on the books and records of the county board of assessment.
(5) "Qualified voter":
a. With respect to any petition filed by voters in the territory pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the term "qualified voter" shall mean each voter qualified to vote under any special election law concerning annexations which applies to the particular municipality under Title 15 or otherwise, as of the date of filing of the petition; and
b. With respect to any such special election, the term "qualified voter" shall have the meaning set forth under any special election law concerning annexations which applies to the particular municipality under Title 15 or otherwise.
(6) "Territory" shall mean the property or properties proposed to be annexed to the municipality.
§ 102 Commissioners for unincorporated towns; election and powers.
Every unincorporated town having more than 300 inhabitants may annually on the second Saturday in July, by a majority of the voters qualified to vote, or a majority of the voters present at the annual meeting, elect 3 commissioners. For purposes of this section "qualified voters" shall mean the following: Inhabitants qualified to vote for representatives in the General Assembly, property owners and leaseholders of record who shall have attained the legal age of majority. The commissioners may regulate the streets, lanes and alleys of the town, on complaint of any citizen, examine any chimney, stovepipe, fixtures or other matter dangerous to the town, and, if adjudged dangerous, require it to be repaired or remedied to prevent or remove nuisances therein, prohibit firing of guns or pistols, the making of bonfires or setting off of fireworks or any dangerous sport or practice, and prevent or suppress any noisy and turbulent assemblages within the town after night or on the Sabbath Day. For these purposes the commissioners may make and publish ordinances imposing penalties not exceeding $100 in any case.
Any unincorporated town may provide for a voter registration which registration may not be concluded any sooner than 2 weeks prior to the actual election date.
The penalties shall be for the use of the town and may be collected as other penalties of like amount imposed by law.
Any justices of the peace residing in such town shall, with the aid of 2 citizens called by them, hold the election for commissioners and ascertain and make a record of the result.
§ 103 Street openings.
No person shall open or excavate the bed of any street or highway of any city, town or village in this State for the purpose of laying or placing pipes, wires or other conductors therein without first obtaining the consent of the duly constituted authorities of such city, town or village. Nothing in this section shall require such consent before opening or excavating the bed of any such street or highway for the purpose of repairing any pipes, wires or other conductors theretofore lawfully laid or placed in such street or highway.
19 Del. Laws, c. 224, § 1; Code 1915, § 3444; Code 1935, § 3903; 22 Del. C. 1953, § 103.;
§ 104 Selling farm products in Wilmington street markets.
The City Council of the City of Wilmington shall not ordain any ordinance restricting or prohibiting farmers exposing and selling fresh meats or any other products raised and produced by the farmers and offered for sale in the City, in any street which may at any time be appointed or used as a curbstone market for the sale of farm products.
16 Del. Laws, c. 122; Code 1915, § 3445; Code 1935, § 3904; 22 Del. C. 1953, § 104.;
§ 105 Withdrawal or removal of property from city or town; special election; voting rights.
The General Assembly shall not enact any law which removes real property from within the limits of any city or incorporated town in this State until after the question of such removal shall have first been submitted to the governing body of the city or incorporated town at a special election of qualified voters and real estate owners of the city or incorporated town. The governing body of the city or incorporated town must first grant its approval by affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the body. When a special election is held, a majority of the qualified voters and real estate owners in the city or incorporated town must approve the removal from within the limits of the city or incorporated town and only then shall the real property be removed from the assessment rolls of the city or incorporated town. Any special election shall be held by the proper election officers of the city or incorporated town. The voting requirements shall be the same as those that exist for all other municipal elections in the municipality involved.
22 Del. C. 1953, § 105; 57 Del. Laws, c. 274.;
§ 106 Debt limit of cities with population in excess of 50,000.
(a) All cities in the State having a population in excess of 50,000, as enumerated in the most recent federal census, which have the power to borrow money and issue negotiable bonds and notes to evidence such borrowing are hereby authorized to issue such bonds, and notes in anticipation of the issuance of such bonds, in an amount not in excess of 16 percent of the assessed valuation of real estate taxable by such city. In computing the aggregate principal amount of such bonds and notes of such city there shall be excluded:
(1) All bonds and notes issued by such city for the purpose of providing a supply of water for such city;
(2) All bonds and notes issued by such city for sewer purposes as a part of the sewer system of such city for which such city collects rates, rents or fees;
(3) Any bonds and notes issued by such city for school purposes but not in excess of 3 percent of the assessed valuation of the real estate taxable by such city; however, any such city may issue school bonds and notes within its debt limitation in excess of the 3 percent which is excluded from the aggregate principal amount which may be issued;
(4) All bonds and notes issued by such city for any other purpose for which an exclusion is authorized by law including but not limited to exclusions for bonds and notes issued for parking authority purposes and urban renewal purposes;
(5) Any guaranty or other obligation incurred pursuant to any law and which said law provides shall be excluded from the computation of any debt limitations of such city; and
(6) Bonds issued to fund outstanding notes not otherwise excluded, until such notes are retired.
(b) Bonds may be issued within the limits prescribed herein notwithstanding any debt or other limitation prescribed by any other law; provided, however, that such bonds, or notes issued in anticipation of the issuance of such bonds, must be approved and authorized by the governing body of such city in the same manner as all other obligations of such city are authorized.
(c) The debt limit prescribed by this section shall replace the debt limit specified by any other law, special or general.
22 Del. C. 1953, § 106; 58 Del. Laws, c. 9.;
§ 107 Use of eminent domain powers for federal community development programs.
(a) It is found and declared that there exists in the City of Wilmington areas which, as a whole, are not slum or blighted areas, but which contain parcels that are in a deteriorated condition which is injurious and inimical to the public health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of such areas; that the existence of such deteriorated parcels impairs or impedes the sound growth of the City of Wilmington; that such parcels require acquisition for clearance and/or rehabilitation to prevent further decline or decay of the parcel and/or its surrounding area; that federally funded community development programs exist for the purpose of eliminating such deteriorated parcels; and that said community development housing rehabilitation program is in addition to and furtherance of the Slum Clearance and Redevelopment Authority Law (Chapter 45 of Title 31).
(b) The City of Wilmington may acquire real property by the exercise of the power of eminent domain whenever (1) such appropriation may be deemed necessary, (2) such property is deemed to be unsafe in violation of the building provisions of the City of Wilmington's building code and (3) after the appropriate official has declared that acquisition and rehabilitation is a necessary part of an overall community development program, is furtherance of a public purpose, whether or not continued public ownership is contemplated; provided that the City of Wilmington shall rehabilitate or cause to be rehabilitated any property acquired pursuant to this section within 24 months of the date of such acquisition by the City of Wilmington. The City of Wilmington may acquire real property under this section after the adoption by it of an ordinance describing the property containing the appropriate declarations. The City of Wilmington may exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner prescribed by Chapter 61 of Title 10. Property already devoted to a public use may be acquired in the like manner; provided, that no real property belonging to the county or the State may be acquired without its consent. When the City of Wilmington has found and determined by ordinance that certain real property described therein is necessary for a community development housing rehabilitation program, the ordinance shall be conclusive evidence that the acquisition of such real property is necessary for the public purpose described therein.
§ 108 Ambulance, fire and police services.
Where an area of real property owned by a municipality is bounded by a wall, fence or other structure which has gates or other lockable entrances, the municipality shall notify those public agencies within the municipality which provide ambulance, fire and police services of the location of such gates and entrances. A key to each such enclosed area shall be provided by the municipality to the ambulance, fire company and police department which is closest to the enclosed area. For purposes of this section, the words "real property" shall include all unimproved land only and shall not include buildings.
§ 109 Municipal parks; use for veterans' services; waiver of fee.
No fee shall be imposed on any recognized veterans' service organization for the use of any municipal park or portion thereof for purposes of patriotic or memorial services; provided that advance written notification of not less than 15 days is given to the municipal agency and does not conflict with other previously scheduled activities within the park.
§ 110 Parking spaces for use by persons with disabilities.
(a) The county government of each of the 3 Delaware counties shall, on or before January 1, 2004, and the municipal government of each incorporated municipality within each county shall, on or before March 1, 2004, adopt regulations or ordinances regarding the duty of individuals and artificial entities to erect and maintain signage on parking spaces or zones for use by persons with disabilities.
(b) The signage regulations or ordinances adopted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section must include an enforcement provision, a penalty provision, and a provision which requires an enforcement officer to first issue a written warning to an individual or artificial entity who is required to erect and maintain signage, but has failed to do so. If, after 30 days from the date that a warning is issued, the individual or artificial entity has not erected and/or maintained the required signage, the enforcement officer may issue a summons or apply for a warrant in the name of the offending individual or artificial entity.
(c) A municipality may elect to adopt the signage regulations or ordinances of the county government of the county in which the municipality is located. A municipality which elects to do so may also adopt additional regulations or ordinances as required by its own particular conditions. Whether a municipality adopts its own signage regulations or ordinances, or adopts the regulations or ordinances of the county along with additional regulations or ordinances to meet particular conditions, the municipality's adopted regulations or ordinances may not be less restrictive than those of the county.
§ 111 Limitation on firearm regulations.
(a) The municipal governments shall enact no law, ordinance or regulation prohibiting, restricting or licensing the ownership, transfer, possession or transportation of firearms or components of firearms or ammunition except that the discharge of a firearm may be regulated; provided any law, ordinance or regulation incorporates the justification defenses as found in Title 11. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to invalidate municipal ordinances existing before July 4, 1985, and any ordinance enacted after July 4, 1985, is hereby repealed. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, the City of Wilmington may, in addition to the nature and extent of regulation permitted by this section, enact any law or ordinance governing the possession or concealment of a paintball gun within its corporate limits as it deems necessary to protect the public safety.
(b) Subsection (a) of this section notwithstanding, municipal governments may adopt ordinances regulating the possession of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, or explosives in police stations and municipal buildings which contain all of the provisions contained in this subsection. Any ordinance adopted by a municipal government regulating possession of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, or explosives in police stations or municipal buildings shall require that all areas where possession is restricted are clearly identified by a conspicuous sign posted at each entrance to the restricted areas. The sign may also specify that persons in violation may be denied entrance to the building or be ordered to leave the building. Any ordinance adopted by municipal governments relating to possession in police stations or municipal buildings shall also state that any person who immediately foregoes entry or immediately exits such building due to the possession of a firearm, ammunition, components of firearms, or explosives shall not be guilty of violating the ordinance. Municipal governments may establish penalties for any intentional violation of such ordinance as deemed necessary to protect public safety. An ordinance adopted by the municipal government shall not prevent the following in municipal buildings or police stations:
(1) Possession of firearms, components of firearms, and ammunition or explosives by law-enforcement officers;
(2) Law-enforcement agencies receiving shipments or delivery of firearms, components of firearms, ammunition or explosives;
(3) Law-enforcement agencies conducting firearms safety and training programs;
(4) Law-enforcement agencies from conducting firearm or ammunition public safety programs, donation, amnesty, or any other similar programs in police stations or municipal buildings;
(5) Compliance by persons subject to protection from abuse court orders;
(6) Carrying firearms and ammunition by persons who hold a valid license pursuant to either § 1441 or § 1441A of Title 11 so long as the firearm remains concealed except for inadvertent display or for self-defense or defense of others;
(7) Officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a concealed firearm; or
(8) Agents, messengers and other employees of common carriers, banks, or business firms, whose duties require them to protect moneys, valuables and other property and are engaged in the lawful execution of such duties.
(c) For the purposes of this subsection, "municipal building" means a building where a municipal government entity meets in its official capacity or containing the offices of elected officials and of public employees actively engaged in performing governmental business but excluding any parking facility; provided, however, that if such building is not a municipally-owned or -leased building, such building shall be considered a municipal building for the purposes of this section only during the time such government entity is meeting in or occupying such a building.
§ 112 Fees and costs in all proceedings to collect real estate assessment taxes and water and sewer service charges.
(a) The fees and costs to be assessed and collected in all proceedings to collect real estate assessment taxes and water and sewer service charges due and owed to the municipality, where not otherwise provided for, shall be as follows:
(1) Filing praecipe $1.10
(2) Issuing monition and copy $2.75
(3) Issuing alias or pluries, monition and copy $2.75
(4) Writ of venditioni exponas $2.25
(5) Filing any petition in Superior Court under this
(6) Cost of paying money into Superior Court $1.00
(7) Costs of paying money out of Superior Court for
each check drawn $1.00
(b) In addition to the fees set forth in subsection (a) of this section, city council may provide by ordinance for fees and costs, including without limitation, attorneys' fees, to be assessed and collected in any proceedings to collect real estate assessment taxes and water and sewer system charges due and owed to the municipality.
§ 113 Approval of final bid at sheriff's sale; prequalification of bidders.
(a) The municipality, by and through its director of its department of finance, or the director's designee, may approve or disapprove the final bid at a sale made by the sheriff under the monition method of sale for any public purpose or reason, including the failure of the successful bidder or its affiliates to comply with the requirements of any law or regulation with respect to any other real property owned by such successful bidder or its affiliates, the failure of such successful bidder or its affiliates to timely pay any amounts owed to the State or any county or municipality or the inability of the successful bidder to remedy any unlawful conditions at the property subject to such sheriff sale in a timely manner; provided, that the notice of the public sale includes in its terms that such sale is subject to the approval of the director of the finance department of the municipality. In the event the director of the department of finance, or the director's designee, does not approve the final bid at such sale, the said director of the department of finance, or the director's designee, may expose the property to another and as many succeeding sales as it chooses. The final bid at a sale made by the sheriff shall be presumed to be approved unless notice of disapproval of such final bid shall be received by the sheriff within 20 days from the date of such public sale.
(b) Provided that the notice of the public sale so indicates, the municipality may require that bidders at a sheriff sale, prior to any bid, certify to the municipality that such bidder, either directly or through any affiliated entities, does not own any interest in any other real property in such municipality that:
(1) Has amounts past due identified in § 2901(a) of Title 25, in excess of $1,000; or
(2) Has been vacant for at least 18 consecutive months and such property is not subject to a valid building permit or a pending land use application.
Organizations that are exempt from federal taxation pursuant to § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code [26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)] and that have been building, rehabilitating, and providing affordable housing units within the State for at least 5 years, and community development corporations, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 9802, shall be exempt from these provisions upon certification of such status by the municipality.
(c) The municipality shall generate a certificate that the bidder shall present to the sheriff prior to the sale, and the sheriff shall require presentation of such certificate prior to registering any bidder. The municipality may establish a fee that reflects the costs of preparing and issuing the certificate that shall be paid by bidder prior to issuance of the certificate.
(d) For purposes of this section, "affiliated entity" means either of the following:
(1) Any other entity that is under common control with the bidder.
(2) Any person or entity who directly or indirectly holds any beneficial or ownership interest in the bidder of 5% or greater.
(e) If a sale is subject to approval of the director of a municipality's department of finance or the director's designee, no assignment of a successful bid shall occur without the approval of the director of its department of finance or the director's designee. If the municipality requires certification of bidders at a sale, no assignment of a successful bid shall occur unless the assignee secures a certification from the municipality consistent with requirements of this section or qualifies as a land bank pursuant to § 4703 of Title 31.
§ 114 Public advertising and notices.
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, public advertising and notices by any municipality in the State of any nature may include use of the State's electronic procurement advertising system required by § 6902(9) of Title 29 or other website allowing for the electronic posting of local government bid opportunities, and the website designed pursuant to §§ 10004(e)(4), 10115(b) and 10124(1) of Title 29.
§ 115 Construction using public financial assistance.
No building or structure shall be constructed using public financial assistance in a manner that violates Chapter 42 of Title 31, and no occupancy or use permit shall be issued unless such building or structure complies with Chapter 42 of Title 31.
§ 116 Dogs.
The municipal governments shall enact no law, ordinance, or regulation relating to dogs, or restrictions on dogs, based on a dog's breed or perceived breed.
§ 117 Lease of public lands.
The municipal governments of this State may execute and deliver, in proper form, a lease, concession agreement, easement, or license agreement for any part of the public lands owned by them, including park land and land held in a public trust. The demise and lease of such lands, including public parks, may be upon such conditions and for such rentals as the municipal government deems advisable for the public good, provided that the demise and lease of public park lands shall be limited to recreational purposes and related activities. Whoever leases any of the lands under any restrictions or conditions of a municipal government and fails to comply with the restrictions or conditions set forth in the lease with the government forfeits the leasehold interest granted by the lease.