TITLE 29

State Government

State Planning and Property Acquisition

CHAPTER 91. STATE PLANNING

Subchapter I. Delaware Planning Act


(a) A Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues is established and shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor. It shall be comprised of the following members or their respective designees:

(1) The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

(2) The Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

(3) The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

(4) The Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

(5) The Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority.

(6) The Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

(7) Such others as the Governor may designate.

(b) The Governor shall designate 1 member to serve as Chairperson of the Committee.

(c) The Committee shall consider matters relating to the orderly growth and development of the State, including, but not limited to:

(1) Recommendations for the most desirable general pattern of land use within the State, in light of the best available information concerning topography, climate, soil and underground conditions, water courses and bodies of water and other natural or environmental factors, as well as in light of the best available information concerning the present and prospective economic bases of the State, trends of industrial, population or other developments, the habits and standards of life of the people of the State and the relation of land use within the State to land use within adjoining areas;

(2) The major circulation pattern recommended for the State, including major routes and terminals of transportation and communication facilities, whether used for movement of people and goods within the State or for movement from and to adjoining areas;

(3) Recommendations concerning the need for and the proposed general location of major public and private works and facilities, such as utilities, flood control works, water reservoirs and pollution control facilities, military or defense installations and other governmentally financed or owned facilities;

(4) Recommendations on land use planning actions that are subject to review and comment pursuant to Chapter 92 of this title;

(5) Preparing the Strategies for State Policies and Spending document and maps, which shall serve as the primary policy guide that summarizes the State's land use goals, policies and strategies and directs state spending into investment levels that support the most efficient use of state resources, be they physical, fiscal, or natural, except that county and municipal governments shall retain their existing autonomy with respect to the land use designations set forth in their proposed and/or adopted comprehensive plans. The Strategies for State Policies and Spending shall be updated at least every 5 years, provided that the Governor may extend the deadline at his or her discretion; and

(6) Performing such other duties and responsibilities with respect to Downtown Development Districts as set forth in Chapter 19 of Title 22.

(d) The Cabinet Committee shall submit a report on its activities to the Governor and the General Assembly by the 15th day of October of each year, together with the recommendations for legislative and/or administrative changes it deems desirable.

(e) The Cabinet Committee's proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 100 of this title.

(f) The Cabinet Committee shall be assisted by staff designated by each participating agency, and shall work in cooperation with all federal, State and local agencies of government and with private organizations and individuals to obtain all necessary and relevant information for its assignments.

(g) There is hereby established the Office of State Planning Coordination within the Office of the Budget. The administrator and head of the Office of State Planning Coordination shall be the State Planning Coordinator who shall be qualified by training or experience to perform the duties of the office. The Office of State Planning Coordination shall assist in statewide planning matters, and it shall function as an advisory, consultative and coordinating office.

(1) The Office of State Planning Coordination shall provide staffing assistance to the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues.

(2) The State Planning Coordinator shall serve as the secretary to the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues.

(3) The Office of State Planning Coordination shall collect and coordinate the comments of state agencies regarding land use planning actions pursuant to Chapter 92 of this title. In carrying out this function, the Office of State Planning Coordination shall, to the maximum extent possible, reconcile differing opinions and conclusions among agency comments with the objective of providing consistent, timely and useful information to the local government. The Office of State Planning Coordination shall be authorized to represent and speak for the State on land use matters subject to Chapter 92 of this title.

(4) [Repealed.]

(h) The Office of State Planning Coordination shall render local planning technical assistance. The Office of State Planning Coordination may serve as the lead agency to engage other state agencies, local governments, and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations for the purposes of coordinating planning activities, promoting liaison between various state agencies and local governments, building capacity through training and sharing of digital and other information, developing infrastructure plans and master plans, addressing specific growth and design issues, and such other actions as are appropriate to achieve the purposes of this chapter. The Office of State Planning Coordination shall develop and promote cooperation and coordination among state agencies and local governments to ensure effective and efficient planning and infrastructure investment. The Office of State Planning Coordination may make grants available to county and municipal governments to assist them in achieving any of the objectives outlined in this section, provided that funded activities and deliverables are in compliance and in harmony with the Strategies for State Policies and Spending. The Office of State Planning Coordination shall further have such authority and responsibility with respect to Downtown Development Districts as set forth in Chapter 19 of Title 22.

63 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 2; 69 Del. Laws, c. 458, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 522, §§ 1, 2; 71 Del. Laws, c. 485, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 2; 73 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 12; 74 Del. Laws, c. 128, § 8; 76 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 29-31; 79 Del. Laws, c. 240, §§ 2-4.;

63 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 490, §§ 1-4; 73 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 333, §§ 1, 2; 76 Del. Laws, c. 2, § 5; repealed by 78 Del. Laws, c. 92, § 32, eff. July 5, 2011.;

(a) The comprehensive plan review and certification process is intended to compare planning goals and development policies among levels of government for the purpose of attaining compatibility and consistency among the interests of state, county and municipal governments. Plan review and certification are necessary to properly address potential burdens on the state government for future infrastructure and public services caused by local land use actions.

(b) Comprehensive plans and amendments or revisions thereto are subject to the provisions of § 9203 of this title. The Office of State Planning Coordination, in addition to soliciting state agency comments as provided therein, shall, within the 20 working day review period provided in § 9204(d) of this title, also conduct a review and comparison of the proposed county or municipal comprehensive plan or amendment or revision with state goals, policies and strategies. The Office of State Planning Coordination shall prepare a report:

(1) Documenting the degree to which the county or municipal comprehensive plan has incorporated the State's goals, policies, and strategies;

(2) Including a detailed list of findings, recommendations and objections, including adverse fiscal impacts;

(3) Identifying improvements, revisions or other actions desired to address and resolve inconsistencies;

(4) Setting forth a timetable and process for negotiations with the county or municipality for achieving consistency.

The state review shall include an assessment of the potential fiscal impacts of the proposed county or municipal comprehensive plan as they relate to State-funded infrastructure and services, including but not limited to transportation, water and sewer systems, public schools, affordable housing, and public safety. The State's review shall be based on such statewide land development goals, policies and criteria as may have been adopted by the Governor or Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues, or as set forth in state law or regulation, or in provisions of the State's most recent capital budgets.

(c) Proposed comprehensive plans or amendments or revisions thereto will be shared with other potentially impacted jurisdictions and the Office of State Planning Coordination will provide for such review and comment, pursuant to the provisions of § 9204 of this title. Other jurisdictions desiring to comment on any inconsistencies with a county or municipal comprehensive plan shall do so by an official action of said government setting forth the nature of any inconsistencies, concerns, issues, conflicts, agreement and recommended revisions.

(d) Should the Office of State Planning Coordination make objection to any proposed comprehensive plan or amendments or revisions thereto, then the Office of State Planning Coordination shall immediately enter into negotiation with the county or municipality in an attempt to solicit agreement and resolution. Any agreements reached during these negotiations shall be incorporated into the public record and considered by the governing body prior to final action on the comprehensive plan. If the Office of State Planning Coordination and the county or municipality fail to reach agreement after a period of 45 days, the Office of State Planning Coordination shall report the extent of agreement and areas of continued disagreement to the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues for dispute resolution.

(e) For municipal comprehensive plans, the Office of State Planning Coordination shall submit a final comprehensive plan report and recommendation to the Governor or designee for certification. The Governor may designate the State Planning Coordinator as the designee, and may prescribe any policies and procedures deemed necessary to allow municipal plans to be certified by the Office of State Planning Coordination provided that the plan, amendment, update or revision thereto is found to be consistent with state goals, policies and strategies, and not in conflict with plans of other jurisdictions. If there is a finding that such a plan, amendment, revision or update is inconsistent or if there is a dispute, the report and the plan are to be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee for State Planning Issues and shall follow the same process as for the certification of county plans. For county comprehensive plans, the Office of State Planning Coordination shall submit a final comprehensive plan report and recommendation to the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues. The Cabinet Committee shall consider the report submitted by the Office of State Planning Coordination, appropriate state land development goals and strategies, comments submitted by any impacted jurisdiction and such other information as it may determine to be appropriate and in the public interest. The Cabinet Committee may, in its discretion, conduct a public hearing on the proposed comprehensive plan or amendment or revision thereto, except that no hearing shall be held if the proposed plan, amendment, update or revision thereto is found to be consistent with the state goals, policies and strategies, and not in conflict with plans of other jurisdictions. Within 45 days of the receipt of the report from the Office of State Planning Coordination, the Cabinet Committee shall issue its findings and recommendations, and shall submit the proposed plan to the Governor or designee for certification. The State Planning Coordinator may not be the designee for the review and certification of county plans.

(f) Within 20 days of receipt of the findings and recommendations from the Cabinet Committee, the Governor shall certify the comprehensive plan or return the comprehensive plan to the municipality or county for revision. The municipality or county shall have the right to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations. The final decision on the adoption of the comprehensive plan is that of the municipality or county.

73 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 11; 74 Del. Laws, c. 186, §§ 18, 19; 78 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 33-35.;