TITLE 17

Highways

CHAPTER 12. REGULATION OF JUNKYARDS


The establishment, operation and maintenance of junkyards in areas adjacent to the public highways of this State should be controlled in order to promote the safety and recreational value of public travel, to protect the public investment in public highways and to preserve and enhance the scenic beauty of lands bordering such highways.

The people of this State would suffer economically if the State failed to participate fully in the allocation and apportionment of federal-aid highway funds since a reduction in federal-aid highway funds would necessitate increased taxation to support and maintain the state road program system. It is, consequently, the intention of this chapter, among other things, to provide a statutory basis for the establishment, operation and maintenance of junkyards consistent with the public policy relating to areas adjacent to federal-aid interstate and primary highways declared by the Congress of the United States, in Title 23, United States Code.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1201; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2.;

(a) The powers and authority granted in this chapter are in derogation of no other powers or authority granted or created or exercised under any other statute, by a planning or zoning board or authority or other public officer, but shall be construed to be in addition to any such power or authority, which shall remain unaffected.

(b) As used in this chapter:

(1) "A controlled area" means, and "controlled areas" includes, any area inside the boundaries of this State which is adjacent to and within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of a highway of the interstate system or the primary system.

(2) "Automobile graveyard" means any establishment or place of business which is maintained, used or operated, for storing, keeping, buying or selling wrecked, scrapped, ruined or dismantled motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts.

(3) "Illegal junkyard" means any junkyard which was established, operated and/or maintained in violation of Delaware law.

(4) "Interstate system" means that portion of the national system of interstate and defense highways located within this State, as officially designated, or as may hereafter be so designated, by the Department, and approved by the Secretary of Transportation pursuant to Title 23, United States Code, "Highways."

(5) "Junk" means old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper, trash, rubber, debris, waste, or junked, dismantled or wrecked automobiles, or parts thereof, iron, steel and other old or scrap ferrous or nonferrous material.

(6) "Junkyard" means an establishment or place of business which is maintained, operated or used for storing, keeping, buying or selling junk, or for the maintenance or operation of an automobile graveyard. This definition includes scrap metal processors, auto-wrecking yards, salvage yards, scrap yards, auto-recycling yards, used auto parts yards and temporary storage of automobile bodies and parts awaiting disposal as a normal part of a business operation when the business will continually have like materials located on the premises. The definition includes garbage dumps and sanitary landfills. The definition does not include litter, trash and other debris scattered along or upon the highway, or temporary operations and outdoor storage of limited duration.

(7) The "laws of this State" includes a provision of the Constitution or statutes of this State, or an ordinance, rule or regulation enacted or adopted by an agency or political subdivision of this State pursuant to the Constitution or statutes.

(8) "Main-traveled way" means the traveled way of a highway on which through traffic is carried. In the case of a divided highway, the traveled way of each of the separated roadways for traffic in opposite directions is a main-traveled way. It does not include such facilities as frontage roads, turning roadways or parking areas.

(9) "Nonconforming junkyard" is one which was lawfully established, but which does not comply with the laws of this State or Department regulations passed at a later date or which later fails to comply with such law or regulations due to changed conditions.

(10) "Primary system" means that portion of connected main highways of this State officially designated as such, or as may hereafter be designated as such, by the Department, and approved by the Secretary of Transportation, pursuant to Title 23, United States Code, "Highways."

(11) "Unzoned industrial areas" means those areas not zoned by any state, county or local authority, but used primarily for industrial purposes as determined by the Department. Outdoor advertising structures shall not be considered industrial.

(12) "Visible" means capable of being seen without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

(13) "Zoned industrial areas" means those areas which are zoned for industry or manufacturing pursuant to a state, county or local zoning authority.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1202; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, §§ 1, 2.;

(a) The Department shall:

(1) Enforce this chapter; and

(2) Make, publish and enforce such regulations governing the establishment, maintenance and operation of junkyards as may be necessary or advisable to implement the policy and accomplish the purposes of this chapter.

Such regulations may include provisions governing the location, planting, construction (including materials used) and maintenance of the screening required by this chapter. Regulations pertaining to controlled areas shall be consistent with any national standards for junkyard control promulgated by the Secretary of Transportation of the United States pursuant to Title 23, United States Code.

(b) All employees of the Department, or any peace officer of this State, when so directed by the Department or its officers, may enter into and upon any land or building to make any examination or survey which the Department deems necessary to the effective administration of this chapter, or to enforce this chapter.

(c) This chapter shall apply only to junkyards situate, in whole or in part, outside the corporate limits of any incorporated municipality in this State and to those junkyards situate, in whole or in part, in controlled areas within such corporate limits, except for the requirement of § 1204 of this title.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1203; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, §§ 3, 4.;

(a) No person, whether or not engaged in the junk business, shall establish, operate or maintain a junkyard within the jurisdiction of the Department under this chapter any portion of which is within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any public highway of this State without obtaining a license from the Department.

(b) The Department, in accordance with this chapter, shall issue and renew licenses for a period of 1 year for the establishment, maintenance and operation of junkyards within its jurisdiction, provided, however, no license shall be issued for the erection or construction of any junkyard which would be in violation of local law or ordinance at the time the application is filed.

(c) The Department may establish and collect fees for the issuance of licenses and renewals thereof. The amount of such charge shall be so fixed as to provide the funds deemed necessary by it to defray the cost of the administration of this chapter.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1204; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, § 5.;

(a) No license shall be granted for the establishment, maintenance or operation of a junkyard any portion of which is within a controlled area except the following:

(1) Junkyards which are lawfully in existence on the effective date of this chapter;

(2) Junkyards which are screened by natural objects, plantings, fences or other means found appropriate by the Department so as not to be visible from the main-traveled way of the highway of the interstate or primary systems;

(3) Junkyards located within areas which are zoned for industrial use under the laws of this State;

(4) Junkyards located within unzoned industrial areas which the Department shall find are used for industrial activities.

(b) No such license shall be granted for a junkyard which is permitted in a controlled area under this chapter solely because of paragraphs (3) and (4) of subsection (a) of this section unless such junkyard is fenced in the manner provided in paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of this section.

(c) No license shall be granted for a junkyard which is not located within the limits of an incorporated municipality and which is within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of a public highway of this State other than a highway of the interstate or primary systems except the following:

(1) Junkyard lawfully in existence on the effective date of this chapter;

(2) Junkyards which are screened by natural objects, plantings, fences or other means found appropriate by the Department so as not to be visible from the main-traveled way of public highway;

(3) Junkyards which have a fence parallel to the public highway for the full length of the yard along the highway and a further fence extending back from the parallel fence the full length of the junkyard or for a distance of 1,000 feet, whichever distance shall be shorter, which fence or fences shall be at least 7 feet in height and shall to the extent of such height render the junkyard not visible from the view of persons traveling on the main-traveled way of the public highway.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1205; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, § 6.;

Any junkyard lawfully in existence on the effective date of this chapter any portion of which is within a controlled area and which is not in any of the classes specified in paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of subsection (a) of § 1205 of this title shall be screened, if physically and economically feasible, by the Department at locations on the highway right-of-way or in areas acquired for such purposes outside the right-of-way, so as not to be visible from the main-traveled way of the highway of the interstate or primary systems. Any such junkyard which the Department determines cannot, as a practical matter, be screened pursuant to this section shall be relocated, removed or disposed of by the owner thereof.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1206; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, § 7.;

Just compensation shall be paid by the Department to the owners of junkyards in controlled areas which must be relocated, removed or disposed of pursuant to this chapter and which fall into the following categories:

(1) Those lawfully in existence on the effective date of this chapter; and

(2) Those lawfully established and maintained on or after the effective date of this chapter.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1207; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 166, § 8.;

The Department may acquire by gift, purchase or the power of eminent domain, such interest in real property as may be necessary to secure the screening, relocation, removal or disposal of junkyards required by this chapter.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1208; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2.;

(a) Any junkyard which is established, maintained or operated in violation of this chapter is a public nuisance.

(b) The Department may screen, relocate, remove or dispose of any junkyard or portion thereof which is established or maintained in violation of this chapter or the regulations prescribed thereunder after a written notice has been posted on such property for a period of 30 days and a copy thereof has been forwarded by mail to the owner of such junkyard at the owner's last known address.

(c) All costs incurred under this section in screening, relocating, removing or disposing of such junkyards shall be the responsibility of the owner thereof and the Department shall have an action at law to recover such costs as well as the expenses of suit.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1209; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Department may apply to the Court of Chancery for an injunction to restrain any violation or threatened violation of this chapter.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1210; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2.;

Whoever violates this chapter or any regulation lawfully adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be fined not less than $25 nor more than $200.

Each day that a violation is allowed to continue after notice of its existence shall constitute a separate offense.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1211; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2.;

The Department may enter into agreements with the United States Secretary of Transportation provided by Title 23, United States Code, relating to the control of junkyards in areas adjacent to the interstate and primary systems and may take action in the name of the State to comply with the terms of such agreement.

17 Del. C. 1953, § 1212; 56 Del. Laws, c. 253, § 2.;