Kent County

CHAPTER 48. Regional Planning

§ 4801. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the same shall be inconsistent with the context:

(1) “Commission” means “Regional Planning Commission of Kent County” created by this chapter.

(2) “Council” means “the Council of the Mayor and Council of Dover.”

(3) “County Engineer” means “County Engineer of Kent County.”

(4) “County government” means the county governing body of Kent County.

(5) “District” means “Regional Planning District of Kent County” created by this chapter.

(6) “Highway Department” means “State Department of Transportation of the State of Delaware.”

(7) “Land development” means “any tract or parcel of land upon which is proposed the construction or erection of 1 or more commercial, industrial, multi-family, or mobile home park use.”

(8) “Minor subdivision” means any subdivision of land that creates 5 or less, or no, parcels of land and if a parcel of land is created, either said created parcel is not on a new road, or said created parcel or parcels is on a private road approved pursuant to regulations adopted by the county government; and shall apply only to the creation of up to a 5 parcel minor subdivision and shall not apply to the creation of parcels in excess of a total of 5 off of the tract of land from which minor subdivision is sought. Original tract shall be deemed to be all tracts separately in existence upon effective date of this definition.

(9) “Recorder’s office” means “Recorder of Deeds in and for Kent County.”

(10) “Road” includes any “road,” “street,” “highway,” “freeway,” “parkway” or other public thoroughfare.

(11) “Subdivision” means division of any part, parcel or area of land by the owner or the owner’s agent, into lots or parcels 2 or more in number for the purpose of conveyance, transfer, improvement or sale with or without appurtenant roads, streets, lanes, driveways and ways dedicated or intended to be dedicated to public use, or the use of purchasers or owners of lots fronting thereon. A subdivision includes:

a. Any division of a parcel of land having frontage on an existing improved street into 2 or more lots, 1 or more of which have frontage on the existing street;

b. Any development of a parcel of land which involves installation of streets and driveways whether or not dedicated and whether or not the parcel is divided for the purpose of immediate conveyance, transfer or sale;

c. Any resubdivision and, as appropriate, shall refer to the process of subdividing land or the land so subdivided.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4801;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1556 Del. Laws, c. 241, §§  5, 660 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  2267 Del. Laws, c. 167, §  169 Del. Laws, c. 410, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 4802. Regional Planning Commission and Regional Planning District; statement of purposes.

For the purpose of promoting health, safety, prosperity and general welfare, as well as for the purpose of securing coordinated plans for roads, airways, railways, public buildings, parks, playgrounds, civic centers, airports, commercial, industrial and residential developments, water supplies, sewers and sewage disposal, drainage and other improvements and utilities (excepting, however, privately owned public utilities engaged in furnishing light, heat, power, transportation or communication by telephone or by telegraph or otherwise, as to which the provisions of this chapter shall not apply) in that portion of Kent County which is not included within the corporate limits of any city or town, unless any territory within such corporate limits is included upon request made by the governing body of authority of any such city or town, and as well as for the purpose of preventing the unnecessary duplication of such improvements or utilities, a department known as the Regional Planning Commission of Kent County is created for the area to be known as the Regional Planning District of Kent County.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4802;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1556 Del. Laws, c. 241, §  7

§ 4803. Regional Planning Commission.

The county government shall, by ordinance, establish a Regional Planning Commission and determine the membership, terms, qualifications and compensation of said Commission.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4803;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1556 Del. Laws, c. 241, §§  8, 958 Del. Laws, c. 340, §§  3, 460 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  2266 Del. Laws, c. 323, §  1

§ 4804. Office space and equipment.

The Kent County government shall provide suitable and convenient office space for the use and occupancy of the Commission, and the county government shall furnish and supply all necessary equipment for the office.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4804;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1558 Del. Laws, c. 340, §  566 Del. Laws, c. 323, §  2

§ 4805. Secretary of Commission and other personnel.

(a) The Commission shall appoint a secretary who shall serve for such time, and perform such duties and receive such compensation as the Commission may prescribe. The secretary shall give bond if required by the Commission in such amount as the Commission may require.

(b) The Commission may appoint, discharge at pleasure and fix the compensation of such employees and staff or may contract for the services of such persons, firms, or corporations as from time to time, in its judgment may be necessary to the exercise of its powers under this chapter; provided, however, that all actions of the Commission are subject to county government approval, and the county government may require any employee to give bond with surety approved by it in a sum to be fixed by the Commission.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4805;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1570 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 4806. Assistance to Commission by County and City of Dover.

The county government or council may, from time to time, upon request of the Commission and for the purpose of special surveys, assign or detail to the Commission any members of the administrative staffs or agencies of the county or city, or may direct any such staff or agency to make for the Commission special surveys or studies requested by the Commission.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4806;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4807. Master plan of District.

(a) The Commission shall prepare a master plan of the District showing existing and proposed roads included in or likely to be incorporated in the road system, together with the indication of their existing and proposed widths; existing and proposed county parks, playgrounds, parkways, and other recreation places; existing and proposed county airways, aviation fields and other county open places; existing and proposed sites for county buildings; and such other features as may come wholly or partially within county jurisdiction; and in addition, similar elements of the plan existing and proposed within city or town as have or are likely to bear an important relation to the above county features. Such master plan shall be a public record, but its purpose and effect shall be solely as an aid to the Commission in the performance of its duties.

(b) The Commission may, from time to time, amend, extend or add to the master plan.

(c) The master plan may cover areas within the corporate limits of any city or town in Kent County, to the extent that such areas shall be deemed, in the judgment of the Commission, to be related to the planning of the District. The master plan shall have no legal effect in such areas except as in pursuance of a request for the inclusion of such area within the District as provided in § 4802 of this title.

(d) The Commission shall encourage the cooperation of the cities and towns within Kent County in any matter concerning the master plan and, if requested, shall advise the governing body or authority of any city or town in Kent County with respect thereto.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4807;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4808. Road surveys.

The Commission may, in pursuance of the development and carrying out of its master plan, make from time to time surveys for the exact location of the lines of future roads, road relocations, road extensions, road widenings or narrowings in the District or any portion thereof, and make plats of the areas thus surveyed, showing the Commission’s recommendations for the exact locations of such future road lines.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4808;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4809. Official map of the District.

(a) There is established an official map of the District. The Commission shall be the maker and custodian of such map. The map shall show the location and lines of the roads within the District existing and established by law as public roads at the time of the preparation and setting up of the map by the Commission; and shall show the location of the lines of the roads on plats which shall have been approved by the Commission at or previous to that time.

(b) Whenever the Commission shall have adopted an official map or any amendment, extension or addition thereto, it shall submit the official map or such amendment, extension or addition thereto, to the county government for its approval and if the official map or amendment, extension or addition thereto shall pertain to the road system of or any road in Kent County, the official map or any amendment, extension or addition thereto shall also be submitted to the Department of Transportation for its approval and upon approval of the official map or such amendment, extension or addition thereto, the Commission shall cause the official map or such amendment, extension or addition thereto to be recorded in the Recorder’s office within 15 days after such approval.

(c) The Commission may, from time to time, amend, extend, add to or remove from the official map all roads established or vacated by law.

(d) If the State Department of Transportation changes or amends existing roads or adds new roads which vary from the master plan as established pursuant to § 4807 of this title, the Commission shall have the right, after due notice in writing to the Department, to appeal such change or addition, to the State Highway Commissioners in an official meeting of which the public shall be given notice and which the public may attend. After receiving notice in writing of the appeal of the Regional Planning Commission, the State Highway Commissioners and their employees will refrain from execution of plans changing or adding roads in variance from the aforesaid master plan until the appeal has been heard and a written decision rendered by the said State Highway Commissioners. That decision may be summarily appealed to the Superior Court which shall have the power to enjoin further action by all parties until a determination is reached by that Court as to whether the promotion of the health, safety, prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of this State and of Kent County are better served by compliance with the aforesaid master plan or by granting the change or addition desired by the State Department of Transportation.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4809;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1560 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  22

§ 4810. Subdivision plans; land development plans; road plats; submission to Commission; recording; fees; regulations.

(a) Plans depicting the location, proposed grades, and drainage of all roads intended to be dedicated by the owner thereof to the public use or for the use of owners of property abutting thereon or adjacent thereto, and plats of all subdivisions and land developments, within the limits of the District, shall be submitted to the Commission for its approval. No person shall record any plan showing any new or proposed road or any plat showing any new or proposed subdivision or land development, in any public office in Kent County, unless such plan or plat shall show thereon by endorsement its approval by the Commission; expressly provided, however, said endorsement of approval for minor subdivision shall be by administrative Commission staff pursuant to minor subdivision regulations which the county government is hereby authorized and directed to adopt. The Commission’s approval of any road plan shall, when recorded, be deemed and taken as an acceptance of the intended dedication of the road appearing thereon, but shall not impose any duty upon the county government or upon the Department of Transportation respecting the maintenance or improvement thereof. Such road plan shall, when recorded, become a part of the official map. The county government may adopt such regulations as are deemed advisable for the removal of snow from the streets appearing on the plan from the time the plan is recorded until the obligation to maintain such improvements is assumed either by a maintenance corporation or by an appropriate public agency.

(b) No plat of land showing any new or proposed subdivision or land development within the District shall be received, filed, or recorded by the Recorder of Deeds in and for Kent County until the plat shall have been submitted to and approved by the Commission and such approvals endorsed in writing on the plat by the Director of Planning Services and the County Administrator. The filing or recording of a subdivision or land development plat without the approval of the Commission and/or without the endorsements of the Director of Planning Services and the County Administrator shall, upon application of the Commission or the county government to the Superior Court in and for Kent County, be expunged from the records maintained by the Recorder of Deeds.

(c) On the basis of the estimated cost of the services to be rendered by it in connection with the consideration of such plats and the work incident thereto, the Commission may fix the scale of fees to be paid to it and may from time to time amend such scale. In the case of each plat submitted to the Commission, the fee thus fixed shall be paid before the plat is approved or disapproved, but such fees shall not exceed the actual cost to the Commission of the services and shall be paid by the person requesting the Commission’s approval.

(d) Every such plat shall be prepared upon cloth of such size and character, with such notations, information and markings, and accompanied by such data and information as the Commission may, by regulation prescribe, and shall have such permanent markers, boundary stones or stations as the Commission shall prescribe, which shall be shown and designated on the plat thereof. The Commission shall prescribe the procedure for the submission of such plats and action in respect thereto, which shall include certification by a registered engineer or land surveyor as to the proper location on the plat of the aforesaid boundary markers, boundary stones or stations.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4810;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1556 Del. Laws, c. 241, §§  10, 1160 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  2269 Del. Laws, c. 410, §  270 Del. Laws, c. 255, §  277 Del. Laws, c. 175, §§  1, 2

§ 4811. Approval or disapproval of plat by Commission; hearing.

The Commission shall approve, approve with conditions, disapprove or table a plat within 45 days after acceptance by the Commission of the plat and all necessary supporting documentation; otherwise such plat shall be deemed to have been approved and a certificate to that effect shall be issued by the Commission upon demand. Such period may be extended by mutual agreement between the Commission and the applicant for the Commission’s approval. The grounds of disapproval of any plat shall be stated upon the records of the Commission and a copy of such statement shall be furnished to the applicant. No plat shall be acted upon by the Commission without affording a hearing thereon, notice of the time and place of which shall be sent by registered mail to such applicant not less than 5 days before the date fixed therefor. However, in the application the applicant may waive the requirement of such hearing and notice. Any approval or disapproval, after its recordation by the Commission, may be appealed to the county government within 30 days. County government shall affirm or deny, in whole or in part, the decision of the Regional Planning Commission, or remand the matter to the Regional Planning Commission for further proceedings. However, a decision of the Regional Planning Commission may not be remanded to that Commission by the county government more than 1 time.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4811;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1567 Del. Laws, c. 168, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  175 Del. Laws, c. 297, §  1

§ 4812. Recording unapproved plan; penalty for.

Any Recorder who receives for filing or recording any plan or map contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4812;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4813. Cooperation with other agencies.

(a) Upon the request of the county government or the Council or the Department of Transportation or the Department of Health and Social Services or any other state, county or municipal agency, board, department, commission or authority, the Commission shall, upon such terms as may mutually be agreed upon, prepare plans and supply information relating to any of the matters set forth in this chapter.

(b) In exercising the powers conferred by this chapter the Commission is empowered to act in conjunction and cooperation with representatives, agencies, or officers of the United States government, this State, any other state, or any county, city or town within or without this State.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4813;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1560 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  2270 Del. Laws, c. 149, §  4

§ 4814. Entry upon land; access to records.

(a) In the performance of the functions and duties of the Commission any member thereof or any employee or agent thereof shall have the right to enter and go upon, at reasonable times (Sundays and holidays excluded) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. any lands in the District, either public or private, and to make surveys and to place and maintain necessary monuments and markers thereon, but such entry shall be made with due care and regard for the protection and preservation of property.

(b) In the performance of the functions and duties of the Commission, any member, employee or agent of the Commission shall have free access, without expense, to all state, county, municipal and other public records.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4814;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4815. Appropriation; authority to make.

The county government may annually appropriate a sum not exceeding $200,000 for the purpose of carrying out this chapter, to be paid as other county expenses out of moneys collected for taxes for county purposes.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4815;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1560 Del. Laws, c. 233, §  1

§ 4816. Issuance of building and occupancy permits.

(a) No building permit shall be issued by the County for the erection of any building or for the construction of any improvement, utility or structure on any part of any land which is required to be submitted to the Commission as provided in § 4810 of this title after the adoption of regulations, and no street, right-of-way, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main, or other improvements in connection therewith shall be constructed, opened or dedicated for public use or travel, or for the common use of occupants of buildings abutting thereon, except pursuant to an approval received for the road, subdivision or land development plan in accordance with the provisions contained in this chapter.

(b) No occupancy permit shall be issued for such building, improvement, utility or structure, or land thereunder, except upon a determination of full compliance with the road, subdivision or land development plan approval.

(c) Except in instances in which the Department of Transportation has indicated authorization for temporary use of land set aside for future right-of-way needs, as provided in § 145 of Title 17, no building permit shall be issued by the County for the erection of any building or for the construction of any improvement, or structure on any part of any land which lies, or is located, within the lines of any land designated and set aside for future highway right-of-way needs as appears on the Department’s Future Right-of-Way Map — Final, except as hereinafter provided in subsection (d) of this section.

(d) A building permit, otherwise issuable except for subsection (c) of this section, shall be issued notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section unless the Department, after being given written notice thereof by the Commission shall:

(1) Within 60 days of receipt of such notice, file with the Commission a declaration that:

a. The issuance of the permit will be detrimental to future highway planning and construction; and

b. That the land described in the permit application is needed for future highway purposes; and

(2) Within 180 days of the giving of such notice, institute condemnation proceedings under Chapter 61 of Title 10, to acquire all of the land described in said building permit application as may be located within said future highway right-of-way.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4816;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  1556 Del. Laws, c. 241, §  1257 Del. Laws, c. 754, §§  5, 660 Del. Laws, c. 503, §  22

§ 4817. Powers and duties of municipal corporations not affected.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall change, alter, affect, or modify the rights, powers and duties heretofore conferred upon any municipal corporation over, in or upon any lands lying outside of the corporate limits of municipal corporations.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4817;  56 Del. Laws, c. 103, §  15

§ 4818. Appeals from county government decisions.

All decisions of the county government pursuant to applications made under this chapter are appealable to the Superior Court of Kent County; and when such appeal has been filed with the Prothonotary of Kent County, the Prothonotary shall give notice to the Clerk of the Peace of Kent County who shall transmit to the Prothonotary within 10 days the written decision of the county government, which decision shall set forth the legal and factual basis for the refusal of the county government to permit the recording of the plat in the manner requested.

9 Del. C. 1953, §  4818;  57 Del. Laws, c. 710.

§ 4819. Notice to local school districts of residential subdivision plans or changes in residential subdivision plans that increase density.

With respect to the initial approval of a residential subdivision plan or any change in a residential subdivision plan that increases residential density, the county government shall notify the local school district for the area at least 7 days prior to any such approval process.

66 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 195,, §  2