TITLE 9

Counties

Sussex County

CHAPTER 68. PLANNING AND ZONING


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

(1) "Commission" means "County Planning and Zoning Commission of Sussex County" created by this chapter.

(2) "County Engineer" means "County Engineer of Sussex County."

(3) "County government" means "the county governing body of Sussex County."

(4) "District" means "corporate boundaries of Sussex County including municipalities which choose to be included in the planning and zoning district."

(5) "Highway Department" means "Department of Transportation of the State of Delaware."

(6) "Plan" means "comprehensive development plan of the district."

(7) "Recorder's office" means "Recorder of Deeds in and for Sussex County."

(8) "Road" includes any "road," "street," "highway," "freeway," "parkway," or other public thoroughfare.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6801; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11A; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22.;

For the purpose of promoting the health, safety, prosperity and general welfare, as well as for the purpose of securing coordinated plans for land use, transportation, public facilities and utilities and public works expenditures in that portion of Sussex 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 or authority of any such city or town, and as well as for the purpose of preventing the unnecessary duplication of facilities or utilities, the body to be known as the County Planning and Zoning Commission of Sussex County is created and the area over which this Commission shall have jurisdiction shall be known as the County Planning District.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6802; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95.;

(a) The Commission shall consist of 7 members as follows:

(1) Two nonvoting, ex officio members, the County Engineer and a member of the county government; and

(2) Five voting members all of whom shall be appointed by the county government.

(b) The term of the county government member and the County Engineer shall come to an end at the end of the term for which they were elected or chosen respectively. The members of the Commission appointed by the Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Department of Agriculture shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

(c) The voting members appointed by the county government shall be appointed as follows:

(1) During the month of June of each year in which a term of any members theretofore appointed by the county government expires, the county government shall appoint members to the Commission. The terms of office shall commence on the July 1 following appointment. Each member shall serve until that member's successor is appointed and qualified. Each member shall be appointed for a term of 3 years, except that a member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring for any reason other than expiration of term, shall be appointed for the unexpired term. The appointed members shall be residents of Sussex County and no more than 2 members shall be appointed for the same council district.

(2) Each member shall be a freeholder and a resident of Sussex County. No more than 1 member shall live inside any incorporated city or town not included in county planning. No more than 3 members shall be of the same political party. Originally, 2 members shall be appointed for 3 years, 2 members for 2 years, and the remaining member for 1 year.

(3) Appointees shall be persons having the knowledge and experience to pass upon planning and zoning problems in connection with urban and rural development, and who at the time of appointment are not candidates for or incumbents of an elective public office.

(d) When any vacancy occurs in the Commission, either by death, resignation, expiration of term of office, removal, or otherwise, of any person so appointed, the vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the body or person which appointed the member to the office in which such vacancy occurred.

(e) The members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be paid their necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6803; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 59 Del. Laws, c. 212, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22; 70 Del. Laws, c. 44, §§ 1-5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 20; 77 Del. Laws, c. 441, § 1.;

(a) At the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission in July of each year, the Commission shall convene and organize by selecting a chair. Before entering upon the duties of the office, each member shall take and subscribe the oath or affirmation prescribed by the Constitution. The Commission may create and fill such other offices in addition to chair as it may determine. It shall adopt rules for the transaction of business and shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which record shall be a public record.

(b) Three voting members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

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

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6804; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 65 Del. Laws, c. 58, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(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 any 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 under this subsection 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, § 6805; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The county government 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 direct any such staff or agency to make for the Commission special surveys or studies requested by the Commission.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6806; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95.;

(a) The Commission shall prepare a plan as expressed in maps, figures, and text which shall, among other elements, include: Statements of objectives, standards, principles and policies pertaining to the physical development of the District; existing and proposed patterns and intensity of land use; existing and proposed traffic circulation and transportation systems; existing and proposed public facilities, programs and utilities. The plan shall include such other features and programs as may come wholly or partially within county jurisdiction; and in addition, include those planning elements existing and proposed within a city or town as are likely to bear an important relationship to the physical development of the district. The 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. A copy of the plan shall be forwarded to the State Planning Office and all municipalities within the County for review. After the Commission adopts the plan or amendments thereto, the plan shall be forwarded to the county government for formal action.

(b) The Commission may also prepare a recommended 6-year capital improvements program including an annual capital budget and various codes and ordinances intended to implement the comprehensive plan.

(c) The Commission may, from time to time, amend, extend or add to the plan under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

(d) The plan may cover areas within the corporated limits of any city or town in Sussex 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 plan shall have no legal effect in such areas except when such areas request inclusion within the District as provided for in § 6802 of this title.

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

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6807; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B.;

The Commission shall have full power to make such investigations, maps, and reports of the resources, condition and needs of the District as it deems desirable. Upon completion of such reports, the Commission shall submit the same to the county government with its recommendations. The Commission shall report annually to the county government on the activities of the Commission during the preceding year.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6808; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B.;

(a) There is established an official map of the County. The Commission shall be the maker and custodian of such map. The map shall show the location and lines of the public roads, easements, water courses and public lands within the County existing and/or established by law 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, easements, water courses and public lands on plats which shall have been approved by the Commission at or previous to that time.

(b) Whenever the Commission has prepared an approved official map or any amendment, extension or addition thereto, it shall submit, after public hearing, the approved official map or such amendment, extension or addition thereto, to the county government for its adoption. If the official map or amendment, extension or addition thereto shall pertain to the road system of or any road in Sussex County, the official map or any amendment, extension or addition thereto shall also be submitted to the Department of Transportation for its review and recommendation. Upon receipt of the recommendation from the Department of the official map or such amendment, extension or addition thereto, it shall be returned to the county government for its adoption. If adopted by the county government, the map shall be recorded in the Recorder's office within 30 days after such action.

(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, or as established by subsection (b) of this section.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6809; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22.;

(a) 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 within the limits of the District shall be submitted to the Commission for its approval and the adoption of the county government and no person shall record any plan or map showing the location of any new or proposed road in any public office in Sussex County unless such plan or map shall show thereon by endorsement its approval by the Commission and its adoption by the county government. The approval of such plan or map by the Commission and the adoption thereof by the county government endorsed upon such plan or map shall, when recorded, be deemed and taken as an acceptance of the intended dedication of the roads 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 plan or map shall, when recorded, become a part of the official map. The Commission may adopt and the county government may approve 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 within the District shall be received or recorded by the Recorder of Deeds in and for Sussex County or filed for recording in the Recorder's office until the plat shall have been submitted to and approved by the Commission after public hearing and approved by the county government, and such approvals be endorsed in writing on the plat by the Chair or Secretary of the Commission and President of the county government. The filing or recording of a plat without the approval of the Commission and the county government shall, upon application of the Commission or the county government, to the Superior Court in and for Sussex County, Delaware, be deleted from the records.

(c) On the basis of the estimated cost of the services including filing fees and cost of legal notice 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.

(d) Every such plat shall be prepared by a registered professional engineer or land surveyor and shall be prepared upon stabilized plastic film of such size and character, with such notations, information as the Commission may, by regulation prescribe, and shall have such monuments, permanent markers, boundary stones or stations as the Commission shall prescribe, which shall be shown and designated on the plat thereof. The Commission shall also require a certification by the registered professional engineer or land surveyor that the monuments, permanent markers, boundary stones or stations have been properly installed and verified as to final location at the completion of the project. The Commission shall prescribe the procedure for the submission of such plat and action in respect thereto.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6810; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 255, § 3.;

The Commission shall approve or disapprove a plat within 45 days after the submission thereof; 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 as outlined in § 6812 of this title and 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. Any approval or disapproval may be appealed to the county government within 30 days of the official action of the county government.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6811; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B.;

(a) Any public hearing required by this chapter shall be held within the County and notice of the time and place thereof shall be published in 2 newspapers of general circulation in the County. Notice shall be published at least 15 days before the date of the hearing. In addition, notice of the hearing shall be posted on the property itself. The notice shall state the place at which the text and maps relating to the proposed change may be examined.

(b) Public notice of any formal action taken in regard to public hearings as required by this chapter shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the County within 15 days of such action.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6812; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 65 Del. Laws, c. 19, § 1.;

Any Recorder who formally files or records any plat or map contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6813; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95.;

(a) Upon the request of the county government, the Commission shall, or upon the request of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of Environmental Control, or any other state, county, or municipal agency, board, department, commission or authority, the Commission may, 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, § 6814; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22; 70 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 6.;

(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 into and 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 thereof shall have free access, without expense, to all state, county, municipal and other public records.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6815; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95.;

The county government may appropriate out of the general county fund such moneys, otherwise unappropriated, as it may deem fit to finance the work of the Commission and may enforce the regulations and restrictions which are adopted pursuant to this chapter, and may accept grants of money and service for these purposes, and other purposes, in accordance with this chapter, from either private or public sources, state or federal.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6816; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 11B.;

Nothing contained in this chapter shall change, alter, affect or modify the rights, powers and duties elsewhere conferred upon the Department of Transportation.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6817; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22.;

Nothing contained in this chapter shall change, alter, affect, or modify the rights, powers and duties prior to July 13, 1967, conferred upon any municipal corporation over, in or upon any lands lying outside of the corporate limits of the municipal corporation.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 6818; 56 Del. Laws, c. 95.;

(a) For purposes of all county zoning ordinances a residential facility licensed or approved by a state agency serving 10 or fewer persons with disabilities on a 24-hour-per-day basis shall be construed to be a permitted single family residential use of such property.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "persons with disabilities" includes any persons with a handicap or disability as those terms are defined in the Delaware Fair Housing Act (Chapter 46 of Title 6).

62 Del. Laws, c. 390, § 3; 74 Del. Laws, c. 149, §§ 7, 8.;

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.;