CHAPTER 9. AIRPORTS OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
Subchapter I. Establishment and Administration
§ 901 Interpretation and construction.
This chapter shall be so interpreted and construed as to make uniform so far as possible the laws and regulations of this State and other states and of the government of the United States having to do with the subject of aeronautics.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 16; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 901.;
§ 902 Public purpose and necessity.
The acquisition of any lands for the purpose of establishing airports or other air navigation facilities; the acquisition of airport protection privileges; the acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment and operation of airports and other air navigation facilities, and the exercise of any other powers herein granted to political subdivisions, are public, governmental, county and municipal functions, exercised for a public purpose, and matters of public necessity, and such lands and other property, easements and privileges acquired and used by such political subdivisions in the manner and for the purposes enumerated in this chapter shall and are to be acquired and used for public, governmental, county and municipal purposes and as a matter of public necessity.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, §§ 3, 13; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 902.;
§ 903 Authority to establish, acquire and operate airports.
Every political subdivision may, through its governing body, acquire property, real or personal, for the purpose of establishing, constructing and enlarging airports and other air navigation facilities and may acquire, establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate and regulate such airports and other air navigation facilities and structures and other property incidental to their operation, either within or without the territorial limits of the political subdivision and within or without this State; may make, prior to any such acquisition, investigations, surveys and plans; may construct, install and maintain airport facilities for the servicing of aircraft and for the comfort and accommodation of air travelers; and may purchase and sell equipment and supplies as an incident to the operation of its airport properties. It may not, however, acquire or take over any airport or other air navigation facility owned or controlled by any other political subdivision of the State without the consent of such political subdivision. It may use for airport purposes any available property that is now or may at any time hereafter be owned or controlled by it. Such air navigation facilities as are established on airports shall be supplementary to and coordinated in design and operation with those established and operated by the federal and state governments.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2(1); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 903.;
§ 904 Establishment of airports on waters and reclaimed land.
(a) The powers granted in this chapter to a political subdivision to establish and maintain airports shall include the power to establish and maintain such airports in, over and upon any public waters of this State within the limits or jurisdiction of or bordering on the political subdivision, any submerged land under such public waters, and any artificial or reclaimed land which before the artificial making or reclamation thereof constituted a portion of the submerged land under such public waters, and as well the power to construct and maintain terminal buildings, landing floats, causeways, roadways and bridges for approaches to or connecting with the airport, and landing floats and breakwaters for the protection of any such airport.
(b) All the other powers granted in this chapter to political subdivisions with reference to airports on land are granted to them with reference to such airports in, over and upon public waters, submerged land under public waters, an artificial or reclaimed land.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 10; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 904.;
§ 905 Means of acquiring airport property.
(a) Property needed by a political subdivision for an airport or restricted landing area, or for the enlargement of either, or for other airport purposes, may be acquired by purchase, gift, devise, lease or other means if such political subdivision is able to agree with the owners of the property on the terms of the acquisition, and otherwise by condemnation in the manner provided in § 906 of this title. Full power to exercise the right of eminent domain for such purposes is granted every political subdivision both within and without its territorial limits.
(b) The right of eminent domain granted in this section extends to and includes the right to acquire the fee simple title to land, or an easement, or a right-of-way in, to, over or above such land or property as the political subdivision deems necessary in making adequate and practical provisions for the removal of obstructions of any nature in approaches to an airport or landing field.
(c) The fact that the property needed has been acquired by the owner under power of eminent domain shall not prevent its acquisition by the political subdivision by the exercise of the right of eminent domain herein conferred.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2(2); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 905.;
§ 906 Condemnation.
(a) Whenever the political subdivision cannot agree with the owner of any land, building, franchise, easement or other property necessary to be taken, the political subdivision may institute condemnation proceedings in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 10.
(b) In the determination of the compensation to be paid in any condemnation proceeding authorized by this section, there shall be paid either the value of the property and facilities taken or the cost of any changes in or relocation of the property and facilities, whichever is higher.
(c) For the purpose of making surveys and examinations relative to any condemnation proceedings, it shall be lawful to enter upon any land, doing no unnecessary damage.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2(2); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 906.;
§ 907 Acquisition of easements and airport protection privileges.
Where necessary, in order to provide unobstructed air space for the landing and taking off of aircraft utilizing airports or restricted landing areas acquired or operated under the provisions of this chapter, every political subdivision may acquire, in the same manner as is provided for the acquisition of property for airport purposes, easements through or other interests in air spaces over land or water, interests in airport hazards outside the boundaries of the airports or restricted landing areas and such other airport protection privileges as are necessary to insure safe approaches to the landing areas of the airports or restricted landing areas and the safe and efficient operation thereof. Every political subdivision may also acquire, in the same manner, the right or easement, for a term of years or perpetually, to place or maintain suitable marks for the daytime marking and suitable lights for the nighttime marking of airport hazards, including the right of ingress and egress to or from such airport hazards, for the purpose of maintaining and repairing such lights and marks. This authority shall not be so construed as to limit any right, power or authority to zone property adjacent to airports and restricted landing areas under any laws of this State.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2(3); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 907.;
§ 908 Validation of prior acquisition of airport property.
Any acquisition of property within or without the limits of any political subdivision for airports and other air navigation facilities, or of airport protection privileges, heretofore made by any political subdivision in any manner, together with the conveyance and acceptance thereof, is valid and effective.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 4; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 908.;
§ 909 Specific powers of political subdivisions.
In addition to the general powers in this chapter conferred, and without limitation thereof, a political subdivision which has established or may hereafter establish airports, restricted landing areas or other air navigation facilities, or which has acquired or set apart or may hereafter acquire or set apart real property for such purpose or purposes may:
(1) Delegations of authority. — Vest authority for the construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, operation and regulation thereof in an officer, a board or body of the political subdivision by ordinance or resolution which shall prescribe the powers and duties of the officer, board or body. The expense of construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment, operation and regulation shall be a responsibility of the political subdivision.
(2) Rules, regulations and ordinances. — Adopt and amend all needful rules, regulations and ordinances for the management, government and use of any properties under its control, whether within or without the territorial limits of the political subdivision; may appoint airport guards or police, with full police powers; may fix by ordinance or resolution, as may be appropriate, penalties for the violation of its rules, regulations and ordinances, and enforce the penalties in the same manner in which penalties prescribed by other rules, regulations and ordinances of the political subdivision are enforced. For the purposes of such management and government and direction of public use, such part of all highways, roads, streets, avenues, boulevards and territory as adjoins, or lies within 100 feet of the limits of any airport or restricted landing area acquired or maintained under this chapter shall be under like control and management of the political subdivision. It may also adopt and enact rules, regulations and ordinances designed to safeguard the public upon or beyond the limits of private airports or landing strips within the political subdivision or its police jurisdiction against the perils and hazards of instrumentalities used in aerial navigation. Rules, regulations and ordinances shall be published as provided by general law or the charter of the political subdivision for the publication of similar rules, regulations and ordinances. They must conform to and be consistent with the laws of this State and the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation and shall be kept in conformity, as nearly as may be, with the then current federal legislation governing aeronautics and the regulations duly promulgated thereunder and rules and standards issued from time to time pursuant thereto.
(3) Leases and sales. — Lease under such terms and conditions as it shall decide such airports or other air navigation facilities, or real property acquired or set apart for airport purposes, to private parties, any municipal or state government or the national government, or any department of either thereof, for operation; may lease or assign under such terms and conditions as it shall decide to private parties, any municipal or state government or the national government, or any department of either thereof, for operation or use consistent with the purposes of this chapter, space, area, improvements or equipment on such airports; may sell any part of such airports, other air navigation facilities or real property to any municipal or state government, or to the United States or any department or instrumentality thereof, for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto and may confer the privileges of concessions of supplying upon its airports goods, commodities, things, services and facilities. In no case in so doing may the public be deprived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use thereof.
(4) Disposition of unnecessary property. — Sell or lease any property, real or personal, acquired for airport purposes and belonging to the political subdivision, which, in the judgment of its governing body, may not be required for aeronautic purposes, in accordance with the laws of this State, or the provisions of the charter of the political subdivision, governing the sale or leasing of similarly owned property.
The proceeds of sale of any property the purchase price of which was obtained by the sale of bonds shall be deposited in the sinking fund from which funds have been authorized to be taken to finance such bonds. In the event all the proceeds of the sale are not needed to pay the principal of the bonds remaining unpaid, the remainder shall be paid into the airport fund of the political subdivision. The proceeds of sales of property the purchase price of which was paid from appropriations shall be paid into the airport fund of the political subdivision.
(5) Charges and rentals; liens. — Determine the charges or rental for the use of any properties under its control and the charges for any services or accommodations, and the terms and conditions under which such properties may be used. In no case may the public be deprived of its rightful, equal and uniform use of such property. Charges shall be reasonable and uniform for the same class of service and established with due regard to the property and improvements used and the expense of operation to the political subdivision. The political subdivision shall have and may enforce liens, as provided by law for liens and enforcement thereof, for repairs to or improvement or storage or care of any personal property, to enforce the payment of any such charges.
(6) Incidental powers. — Exercise all powers necessarily incidental to the exercise of the general and special powers herein granted.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 8; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 909; 51 Del. Laws, c. 225; 57 Del. Laws, c. 671, § 13; 60 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 26.;
§ 910 Encroachment upon airport protection privileges; abatement.
No person shall build, rebuild, create, or cause to be built, rebuilt or created any object, or plant, cause to be planted or permit to grow higher any tree or trees or other vegetation, which shall encroach upon any airport protection privileges acquired pursuant to this chapter. Any such encroachment is a public nuisance and may be abated in the manner prescribed by law for the abatement of public nuisances, or the political subdivision in charge of the airport or restricted landing area for which airport protection privileges have been acquired under this chapter may go upon the land of others and remove any such encroachment without being liable for damages in so doing.
45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 2(4); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 910.;
§ 911 Assistance to other political subdivisions.
Whenever the governing body of any political subdivision determines that the public interest and the interests of the political subdivision will be served by assisting any other political subdivision in exercising the powers and authority granted by this chapter, the first-mentioned political subdivision is expressly authorized and empowered to furnish such assistance by gift, or lease with or without rental, of real property, by the donation, lease with or without rental, or loan, of personal property, and by the appropriation of moneys, which may be provided for by taxation or the issuance of bonds in the same manner as funds might be provided for the same purposes if the political subdivision were exercising the powers granted in its own behalf.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 12; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 911.;
§ 912 Exclusiveness of jurisdiction.
Every airport and other air navigation facility controlled and operated by any political subdivision, or jointly controlled and operated pursuant to this chapter, shall, subject to federal and state laws, rules and regulations, be under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the political subdivision or subdivisions controlling and operating it and no other political subdivision in which such airport or air navigation facility may be located shall have any police jurisdiction of the same or any authority to charge or exact any license fees or occupation taxes for the operations thereon. Such political subdivision or subdivisions shall have concurrent jurisdiction over the adjacent territory described in subdivision (2) of § 909 of this title.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 14; 2 Del. C. 1953, § 912.;