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Delaware Code Title 22. Municipalities § 101. Annexation by city or town

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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.

Cite this article: - Delaware Code Title 22. Municipalities § 101. Annexation by city or town - last updated January 01, 2022 |

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