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The Delaware Legislature

Open Space/Conservation

Agricultural Lands Preservation Program
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Lands Preservation Program (Delaware Code Annotated Title 3, §701 et seq.) is a voluntary program created to protect land for agricultural purposes.  As part of the program, landowners create an Agricultural Preservation District containing at least 200 contiguous acres that are devoted to agricultural and related uses. Landowners who place their lands into Agricultural Preservation Districts agree to not develop their lands for at least 10 years, devoting the land only to agriculture and related uses. In return, the owners receive tax benefits, right-to-farm protection, and an opportunity to sell a preservation easement to the state that keeps the land free from development permanently.

Mr. Milton Melendez, Planner 
Land Use and Planning and Preservation
Delaware Department of Agriculture
(302) 698-4534 

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Beach Preservation Act
The purpose of the Beach Preservation Act (Delaware Code Annotated Title 7, §6801 et seq.) is to enhance, preserve and protect the public and private beaches of the state, to mitigate beach erosion, to create civil and criminal remedies for acts destructive of beaches, to prescribe the penalties for such acts and to vest in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control the authority to adopt such rules and regulations it deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

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Eminent Domain Restrictions
Senate Bill 7 of 2009 requires state, county, or municipal governments, or state agencies or other condemning entities to use their eminent domain authority solely for “public use” and specifically states that benefits derived from economic development do not constitute a public use.  The legislation also includes notice to property owners of the asserted public use and this policy and sets a procedure for a court hearing to consider how the State has met its burden of proof when private use is contemplated.  

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Coastal Zone Act
The Coastal Zone Act (Delaware Code Annotated Title 7, §7001 et seq.) seeks to prohibit entirely the construction of new heavy industry in its coastal areas, which is incompatible with the protection of that natural environment in those areas. 

Kevin Coyle, Principal Planner
Coastal Zone Act Program
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control 
(302) 739-9071

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Comprehensive Land Use Plans
Senate Bill 1238 of 2011 requires counties to review its adopted comprehensive plan every five years to determine if its provisions are still relevant given changing conditions in the county or in the surrounding areas. The adopted comprehensive plan shall be revised, updated and amended as necessary, and re-adopted at least every 10 years. 

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Forest Legacy Program
The Delaware Forest Service administers the state’s Forest Legacy Program.  The program is intended to protect forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses through fee simple title or conservation easement purchases.

Mr. Henry Poole
Delaware Department of Agriculture
Assistant Forestry Administrator
(302) 698-4500

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Land and Historic Resources Tax Credit
The Delaware Land and Historic Resources Tax Credit (Delaware Code Annotated Title 30, §1801 et seq.) is a tax incentive that is authorized for individuals or corporations that donate land or conservation easements. The credit is equal to 40% of the fair market value of the donation with a maximum credit of $50,000 for individuals per year.  The credit is intended to provide private landowners with incentives to encourage protection of private lands for open space, natural resources, biodiversity conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation purposes.  

Mr. Steve Seidel
Delaware Division of Revenue
(302) 577-8455 

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Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund
The Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund (Delaware Code Annotated Title 30, §5421 et seq.) was established in 1986 as an investment of state monies to provide an annual source of funding for the acquisition of open space and the development of outdoor recreation projects.  The Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund Grant Program is administered by the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The grant program is designed to assist local governments and park districts by providing matching grants for the planning, acquisition, and development of parks, greenways and trails.

Mr. Bob Ehemann, Grant Coordinator
Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation
(302) 739-9235  

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Natural Areas Preservation Program
The Natural Areas Preservation Program (Delaware Code Annotated Title 7, §7301 et seq.) creates a registry of living communities and environmental systems of the earth that benefit the state by providing scientific, educational, esthetic, recreational and cultural value.  The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control determines that such areas must be acquired and preserved by the state, and that other agencies, organizations and individuals, both public and private, be encouraged to set aside such areas for the common benefit of the people of present and future generations. 

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Open Space Program
The Delaware Land Protection Act (Delaware Code Annotated Title 7, §7501 et seq.) established the state’s Open Space Program within the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  The program is tasked with the protection of designated State Resource Areas, which are permanently protected through the buying of various state lands including parks, fish and wildlife areas, forests, nature preserves and cultural sites.  Funding from the program comes from a variety of sources, including private donations, state general fund appropriations, special funds, such as a portion of real estate transfer taxes. The nine-member Open Space Council advises the Department Secretary on all matters relating to the administration, implementation and financing of the protection of designated State Resource Areas, including site selection, methods of protection, and interagency and intergovernmental coordination among public and private land preservation agencies.

Delaware H.B. 106 of 2010 transfers responsibility for reviewing and recommending projects for funding from the Conservation Trust Fund from the Delaware Open Space Council to the Parks and Recreation Council. The Council may consider all matters related to the planning, acquisition, development, management, conservation and programming of lands.  The Council will review and recommend to the Department the approval of funding from the Conservation Trust Fund for park development projects and serve as the review authority for other state and federal funding programs.  The Council may also study, research, plan and advise the Director, the Secretary and the Governor on matters.  

Ms. Susan Moerschel
Park Resource Office Chief -Planning Preservation and Development Section
Division of Parks and Recreation - Planning - Preservation and Development
(302) 739-9240

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Uniform Conservation Easement Act
Delaware Code Annotated Title 7, §6901 et seq. provides for the state’s Uniform Conservation Easement Act, which authorizes the creation of permanent easements on real property for conservation and historic preservation purposes.

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Noise Pollution

Delaware Code Annotated Title 7 § 7101 et seq. provides for noise control and abatement in the state. The law requires that any person undertaking any activity which may cause or contribute to the creation of noise or a noise disturbance must obtain a variance or a temporary emergency variance from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. 

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Light Pollution/Dark Night Skies 

Regulation of Outdoor Lighting
The Regulation of Outdoor Lighting (§ 7-71A) allows that an outdoor lighting fixture may be designed, installed or replaced using state funds only if: (1) The new or replacement outdoor lighting fixture is a cutoff luminaire if the rated output of the outdoor lighting fixture is greater than 1,800 lumens; (2) The minimum illuminance adequate for the intended purpose is used with consideration given to nationally recognized standards; (3) For lighting of a designated highway of the state highway system, the Department of Transportation determines that the purpose of the outdoor lighting fixture cannot be achieved by the installation of reflective road markers, lines, warning or information signs, or other effective passive methods; and (4) Full consideration has been given to the Department of Transportation's Traffic Lighting Policy, energy conservation, reducing glare, minimizing light pollution, and preserving the natural night environment. This law is exempted if: (1) A federal law, rule, or regulation preempts state law; (2) The outdoor lighting fixture is used on a temporary basis because emergency personnel require additional illumination for emergency procedures;  (3) The outdoor lighting fixture is used on a temporary basis for nighttime work; (4) Special events or situations require additional illumination; (5) The outdoor lighting fixture is used solely to enhance the aesthetic beauty of an object; or (6) A compelling safety interest exists that cannot be addressed by another method.

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Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs (DCVA)
The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, an office of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to assisting veterans and their family members in obtaining benefits and working with other government agencies and civic organizations to facilitate assistive services. The Commission is an advisory board appointed by the Governor to represent Delaware's veterans. The Commission coordinates programs and objectives in State-wide advocacy for veteran’s affairs.

Contact Information:
John R. Knotts
Executive Director
Phone: (302) 739-2792

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State Contact Information

Military Liaison POC
Mr. Raymond Holcomb
Homeland Security Advisor
Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security
Public Safety Building, Suite 220
303 Transportation Circle
Dover, DE 19901

Delaware National Guard Public Affairs

Mr. John R. Knotts, Executive Director
Delaware Commission on Veterans Affairs
802 Silver Lake Blvd. Suite 100
Dover, DE 19904
(302) 739-2792

Mr. Lewis D. Schiliro, Secretary
Department of Safety and Homeland Security
P.O. Box 818 
Dover, Delaware  19903
(302) 744-2680
(302) 739-4874 fax

Adjutant General
Major General Francis D. Vavala, Adjutant General
Delaware National Guard
First Regiment Road
Wilmington, Delaware  19808-2191
(302) 326-7001
(302) 326-7196 fax 

Legislative Process Regarding Military POCs
The Senate and House Committees on Veterans Affairs and the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security hold primary jurisdiction over military affairs issues in the Delaware State Legislature.  On Veterans Affairs issues, Tony Davila of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs serves as the primary point of contact to the General Assembly. 

Committees of Primary Jurisdiction/Legislative Contact
Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
Senator Bruce Ennis, Chairman
411 Legislative Avenue
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 744-4310 

House Committee on Veterans Affairs
Representative Earl G. Jaques, Jr, Chairman
P.O. Box 1401
Dover, Delaware  19903
(302) 744-4142
(302) 739-2313 fax