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Ardentown was founded in 1922 and along with the Villages of Arden and Ardencroft form the only surviving, non-sectarian, utopian enclave in the United States. Located entirely on the north side of Harvey Road, Ardentown is east of and adjoins Arden and includes all the land between Harvey Road and the southern branch of Naamans Creek; its eastern boundary is the CSX railroad track. Ardentown is a community founded on the principles of community ownership of land, direct democracy, and voluntary association. The land is held as part of a charitable trust and those who live there lease the land paying a ground rent which is used to pay county and school taxes for the entire Village.
Ardentown was incorporated as the “Village of Ardentown” in 1975. The Incorporating Act laid out its boundary was in metes and bounds and consisted of about 140 acres. The government was vested in the Town Meeting of the Village of Ardentown of which all residents and leaseholders of Ardentown are members. The Village’s Act of Incorporation assigned to the Town Meeting all powers possible for a municipality in Delaware including the power to enact ordinances and adopt resolutions related to the government of the Village, its peace and order, its sanitation, and beauty, and the health, safety, convenience, and comfort of its residents. Regular meetings were to be held four times a year with twenty-five voters constituting a quorum. At the annual meeting each year, a Chairperson and Secretary are elected to serve one-year terms; election of a Treasurer is not required, but if elected, is to serve a two-year term. In addition, the Act called for a number of standing committees which included the Registration Committee which oversees the registration of voters; the Budget Committee, which governs all of the Village’s expenses; and the Safety Committee, which among other duties, adopts rules and regulations for a Police force should one be appointed. The nearest Justice of the Peace Court is given jurisdiction to enforce ordinances enacted by the Town Meeting. The Village is specifically restricted from enacting any ordinance which may concern zoning, housing, or building permits. All monies derived from leases are specifically excluded from being used in support of Village expenses; the Incorporating Act provides no indication of how such costs are supported.1
For the fully amended text of the current Charter, see http://www.charters.delaware.gov/ardentown.shtml
CITATIONS in Del. Laws
1 60 Del. Laws, c. 140 (1975) [pp. 508-19]
Delaware Laws from 1935 to present can be found online at http://delcode.delaware.gov/sessionlaws/
jnl / April 17, 2019