Kent County, DE Policy Manual
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 20-1 Procedures governing Levy Court actions on applications for changes under County Zoning Ordinance. [1]

[Adopted 4-15-1997 (P-5D)]
The Levy Court has the statutory authority to make final decisions on proposed amendments to the text of the Kent County Zoning Ordinance, to the official Zoning Map and on conditional uses as specified in the ordinance.
A. 
Public hearings.
(1) 
The purpose of the public hearing is to:
(a) 
Provide the opportunity for citizens of the County to present their comments on requests for approval of ordinance amendments and conditional use applications; and
(b) 
To develop additional facts on the public record.
(2) 
The time, date, place and substance of the Levy Court's public hearing shall be advertised 15 calendar days in advance in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. At least seven calendar days shall transpire between the last publication date and the date of the public hearing.
(3) 
Anyone may be represented at the hearing by legal counsel, although legal representation is not required.
(4) 
All interested parties will be permitted to speak. However, redundant or irrelevant testimony is discouraged and may be ruled out of order by the President. No one may present testimony without first receiving permission to speak from the President.
(5) 
All hearings are recorded on magnetic tape. Therefore, all testimony must be given at the presentation podium located at the front of the chamber or other location appropriately designated by the presiding officer. A written transcript will be prepared by the Clerk of the Peace and made available to any interested party in accordance with the policy set forth below. (See "Transcripts").
(6) 
Any documents or exhibits which constitute a part of an individual's testimony must be submitted for inclusion in the public record.
(7) 
All decisions shall be made at a public meeting in accordance with state law and the adopted Rules of Procedure of the Levy Court of Kent County, Delaware.
B. 
Public hearing procedure.
(1) 
Order of hearing.
(a) 
The President calls the public hearing to order.
(b) 
The President calls on the County Administrator or designee to read the Levy Court's public hearing procedure.
(c) 
The County Administrator or designee establishes that the hearing has been advertised as required by law.
(d) 
The President identifies each application by number and name of applicant.
(e) 
The President calls for any correspondence submitted in advance of the hearing to be read into the record by the County Administrator or designee.
(f) 
The President calls for the Director of the Department of Planning Services or representative to present the application and the recommendation of the Regional Planning Commission.
(g) 
The President accepts testimony from all those who favor the application.
(h) 
The President accepts testimony from all those who oppose the application.
(i) 
The President accepts testimony from all those who neither favor nor oppose the application, but wish to provide relevant information.
(j) 
The President recognizes anyone who wishes to rebut previous testimony.
(k) 
During the receipt of testimony, individual Commissioners may interrupt the person speaking from time to time in order to ask questions of clarification, provided he/she is following Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. Others may also wish to do so and will be given that opportunity after first receiving recognition from the President.
(l) 
Since the proceedings are recorded on magnetic tape, not more than one person may speak at a time. It may also be necessary for the Clerk of the Peace to interrupt persons while they are speaking in order to change the tape. In this way, the complete proceedings are recorded and there are no voids or gaps in the public record.
(m) 
When everyone has had an opportunity to speak, the President declares the hearing on the application closed.
(2) 
In the absence of the President, the presiding officer shall conduct the public hearings.
(3) 
Additional written or oral testimony may not be presented by the proponents or opponents of an application after the public hearing has been closed, except that the Levy Court may request the staff to develop additional information which would clarify testimony presented at the public hearing.
C. 
Decisions.
(1) 
At the close of the hearing on each application, the Levy Court may vote on its decision or the Levy Court may table a decision until the Commissioners have had an opportunity to fully evaluate application.
(2) 
The Levy Court's decision may be to approve, deny, modify or table action on the application. If the decision is to modify, said modification must have the effect of decreasing the probable impact of the request rather than increasing it.
(3) 
In the event that the Regional Planning Commission has recommended that the Levy Court deny an application, the applicant has the obligation to testify in favor of the application and present reasons why the Commission's recommendation should not be accepted. If the applicant or authorized representative is unable to appear and testify in favor of the application and has not provided the Levy Court with a valid reason for his absence, the Levy Court must vote to deny the application.
(4) 
In the event that the Regional Planning Commission has recommended that Levy Court deny an application, the decision of Levy Court to approve such application shall require five affirmative votes of Levy Court members. Should one or more Commissioners be unable to vote because of absence or conflict of interest, then four affirmative votes shall be required. The decision on all applications shall require four affirmative votes to carry the motion unless a higher vote is required by this subsection, or other applicable rule, ordinance or statute.
(5) 
If an application to rezone property or to amend the text of the Zoning Ordinance is denied, that application or one substantially like it will not be reconsidered sooner than one year from the date of said action. However, a conditional-use application which is denied may be resubmitted as a new application at any time.
(6) 
The Levy Court's decision will be placed in written form and delivered to the applicant within a reasonable period of time. The Levy Court's decision will also be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the County.
[1]
Editor's Note: For additional information on changes to the County Zoning Ordinance, see Kent County Code Chapter 250, Zoning, Article XXVIII, Changes and Amendments.

§ 20-2 Neighborhood open space weed control.

[Adopted 7-9-1991 (P-46)]
The Kent County Department of Community Services has the responsibility of weed control in all Neighborhood Open Space deeded to Kent County. Every attempt will be made to cut the weeds once the vegetation reaches a height of 12 inches. It is assumed that a monthly cutting during the growing season may be required on certain parcels. This Policy does not include grading, seeding, fertilizer or mowing normally associated with park maintenance. The above work is not related to the upkeep of a Suburban Park Community. The cutting will be contracted out until such time as the Department is equipped to handle the project.

§ 20-3 Criteria to determine readdressing. [1]

[Adopted 3-21-1995 (P-59)]
The following criteria shall be applied when considering the readdressing of any area of Kent County:
A. 
Rural delivery addresses. All residences and business in the rural area of Kent County, that use a RD box number system as their address, are to be readdressed using the mileage system recommended by MSAG Data Consultants, Inc. or successor method.
B. 
Manufactured home parks. Each manufactured home park shall be reviewed and corrective actions made as follows:
(1) 
If the streets in the park are not named, they must be named.
(2) 
If the park is using street names and lot numbers with the odd numbers on one side of the street and the even on the other, the current addressing system will be kept.
(3) 
If the streets are named but they are using lot numbers that are consecutively numbered down one side of the street and back up the other, the County will contact the park owners or management and offer to readdress the park using the mileage system.
C. 
Developments or subdivisions. Each development, subdivision or urban area is to be reviewed and the following applied:
(1) 
All streets in the development or subdivision must be named, with none of the names being a duplicate of another in the area as set forth in the Kent County Code.
(2) 
If a logical system exists, with the odd-numbered addresses on one side of the street and the even on the other, the current addressing system will be kept.
(3) 
If the development or subdivision is using the lot numbers that were submitted to the County on the subdivision plans recorded in the Planning Services Office, for street addresses, or some atypical numbering system is employed, the subdivision shall be readdressed using the mileage system adopted by the County.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Kent County Code Chapter 179, Road Names.

§ 20-4 Review of subordination agreements.

[Adopted 4-9-1996 (P-60)]
The following procedures shall be used by the Department of Planning Services to review subordination agreements associated with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Housing Preservation (HPG) Programs:
A. 
The Department of Planning Services shall:
(1) 
Review the rehabilitation recipient's file to determine the original amount of rehabilitation mortgage(s) and amortized balance(s).
(2) 
Request and verify the following documents from the lender or owner:
(a) 
Amount of loan request and the required lien position.
(b) 
Lien search (completed by an independent source).
(c) 
Amount of homeowners insurance (verified through the insurance company).
(d) 
Property appraisal (completed by an independent appraiser; County assessment valuation may be used in lien of appraisal).
(e) 
Purpose of loan (i.e., bill consolidation, property improvement, property assessments in arrears, etc.).
(3) 
Establish the property loan to value percentage. The debt load against the property cannot exceed 90% of the current property value, as determined by the appraisal or County assessment. The debt load shall include all recorded liens, the proposed loan amount, and the balance of the rehabilitation mortgage(s).
(4) 
Establish that all town and/or County taxes and utilities are paid in full; and verify that any arrears amount(s) will be paid at the time of settlement and that they will be paid by the lender and not be dependent upon the property owner.
(5) 
Establish that the homeowners insurance is in force and in an amount sufficient to cover the property debt load.
(6) 
Establish current and proposed listing of liens.
B. 
An Adjustment to Mortgage Agreement Project Summary form shall be prepared to document the above information.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Adjustment to Mortgage Agreement Project Summary form is on file in the County offices.
C. 
If the proposed subordination agreement meets the above conditions and there are no mitigating circumstances, the request would receive a "recommendation to execute." The subordination agreement will then be forwarded to the County Administrator for execution. Any circumstance that would place the request outside of the above conditions will require Levy Court review.

§ 20-5 After-the-fact building permits.

[Adopted 11-23-2010 (P10-06); amended 6-12-2012 (P12-01)]
This Policy establishes guidelines for instances when new construction (principal structure, accessory structure, or addition) is completed by a previous property owner without appropriate permits and inspections and without the knowledge of the current property owner.
A. 
Whenever it is determined that new construction was completed by a previous property owner without applicable permits and inspections and without the knowledge of the existing property owner, a building permit shall be secured but no associated permit fees or surcharges shall be charged. The existing property owner shall be required to sign an affidavit certifying that he or she has no knowledge of the improvement being made without a building permit. Conversely, when new construction is completed by a current property owner without applicable permits and inspections, a building permit shall be secured and the applicant shall be subject to all applicable fees, including the "after-the-fact" fee established in the Kent County Fee Ordinance.
B. 
If the approximate date of construction can be determined, such construction shall be permitted and inspected according to the building codes in effect at the time of construction. If the date of construction cannot be determined, Inspection & Enforcement staff shall use their professional judgment to determine that the new construction meets applicable life/safety standards.
C. 
If such improvement is not compliant with the applicable area and bulk regulations of Chapters 205, Zoning, and 187, Subdivision and Land Development, it shall be considered legal nonconforming and not require alteration, relocation, variance, or waiver.
D. 
This Policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.