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In 1949 the Delaware State Development Department was created to attract new investors, businesses, tourists, and travelers to Delaware by informing the public of agricultural, commercial, industrial, and recreations opportunities to be found within the State. The Department was authorized to research, compile, and publish, subject to the approval of the State Archivist, historical information; to distribute the published information; and to answer questions of prospective investors and business. The Director of the Department was appointed by the Governor and served at the Governor’s pleasure. In 1969 the expected qualifications and responsibilities of the Director were broadened, certain staff positions were designated, and additional responsibilities were assigned to the Department including promoting employment opportunities within the state, requiring interagency cooperation, and ensure that proper considerations be given to existing resources when instituting new development programs.
In 1961 the Delaware Planning Act provided for creation of the State Planning Office to assist in the improvement of orderly growth and development of the state and to stimulate public interest and participation in the process. In addition, a state planning council, consisting of fifteen, gubernatorially appointed members of varied backgrounds and interest, was created to advise and assist in the Office’s Director. Specific mandates of the Office included (a) performing comprehensive planning for metropolitan and regional areas and areas of rapid urbanization, including interstate areas; (b) providing planning assistance to towns, cities, and other municipalities, counties, groups of adjacent communities, metropolitan and regional areas, and official government planning agencies; and (c) authorizing the Delaware State Development Department and other planning agencies and localities to contract for planning grants from the federal government and other sources. The Planning Office was authorized to coordinate the State’s program of public works and major capital improvement projects with the Budget Commission; assist in the preparation of the annual capital budget; and study all proposed capital projects to be undertaken by State departments and agencies, prioritizing the projects according to urgency and construction, recommending a time sequence for construction, and estimating costs of construction and maintenance.
Additions to jurisdiction of the State Planning Office, which became the Office of Management, Budget and Planning in 1978, included (a) the State Coastal Industrial Control Board, created in 1971, and the Coastal Zone Act (transferred with the Coastal Management Program to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in 1981); (b) a chapter on Land Use Planning in 1978; and (c) support for the Delaware State Clearinghouse Committee, a cabinet committee on State planning issues, an advisory panel on intergovernmental planning and coordination, and in 1981, the Delaware Criminal Justice Planning Commission.
When the Office of Management, Budget and Planning was abolished on November 1, 1981, the Delaware Development Office was created within the Executive Department to serve as Governor’s staff agency in all general and economic development matters. The Office is responsible for harmonizing its activities with like activities of other government agencies; for rendering necessary assistance to all units of government and private enterprise; for stimulating public interest and participation in the orderly growth and development of the State; and for ensuring that all private and public development activities conform the State law. The Office is headed by a Director who is appointed by the Governor and serves at his pleasure. The Director is responsible for supervising the operation of the Office; for serving as chairman of the Delaware Economic Development Authority and supervising the administration of the Authority; and for assuming all duties formerly vested in the Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs and Economic Development that relate to the Authority. Specific duties include advising the Governor and other State officials on economic development, accessing the files of any agency that relate to economic development, holding hearings on economic development matters, and performing general administrative duties.

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The Delaware Development office began working with the Department of Public Instruction in 1985 to plan and execute a marketing program to attract new teachers to Delaware. In 1987 administration of the Delaware State Housing Authority was transferred from the Department of Community Affairs to the Delaware Development Office. In 1988, they also became responsible for the Delaware Technical Innovation Program and in 1993 preparation of the State’s annual bond bill again became their responsibility.
In 1998 the Delaware State Housing Authority became an independent agency. See RG1432

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1 47 D.L., ch. 380.

2 53 D.L., ch. 184.

3 53 D.L., ch. 184, § 49.

4 57 D.L., ch. 109.

5 58 D.L., ch. 175, § 70.

6 61 D.L., ch. 175, § 92.

7 63 D.L., ch. 170, § 191.

8 29 D.L., ch. 50.

9 65 D.L., ch. 531.

10 134th General Assembly, HB 354.
mm; September 13, 1988; rewritten mm, 11/18/88; December 8, 1988; February 9, 1989; 1990; June 4, 1996; July 14, 1998

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