City of Lewes, DE
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 2-12-2018; amended 9-10-2018; 2-11-2019]
A. 
Every new building or structure and every change in an existing building or structure shall be subject to the site development plan requirements outlined in this section, unless the building or structure is an approved detached dwelling, two-family dwelling, gazebo, dock.
B. 
Prospective applicants are urged to contact Building Department officials to discuss proposal specifics and, if advised, schedule a preapplication meeting as defined in § 170-35A. If there exists any lack of clarity as to the intent of this article, the review of any site development plans for construction within the City of Lewes will be referred to the joint ad hoc committee (§ 170-33C) for consideration.
C. 
Site development review authority.
(1) 
Development subject to the site development review authority under Chapter 170, Article V, are among the most significant building projects in the City. To ensure that the City brings the expertise and authorities of both the HPARC and LPC are applied to these projects, a joint ad hoc committee, referred to as the "Joint Site Development Review Committee (JSDRC)," consisting of representatives of these two commissions, is required.
(2) 
The JSDRC will consist of three members each of HPARC and LPC and shall review all projects subject to site development review under Chapter 170, Article V.
(3) 
Upon notification by the City Planner that an application for approval of a project subject to Chapter 170, Article V, has been filed with the City, HPARC and LPC shall designate their three respective members to serve on the JSDRC. These representatives shall have all rights of membership and shall represent their respective commissions. HPARC and LPC shall have no authority over or participation in site development review after designation of their respective representatives to the JSDRC. In the event that HPARC or LPC does not designate representatives to the joint ad hoc committee, City Council will appoint such representatives either from the commissions or from the citizenry.
(4) 
The Joint Site Development Review Ad Hoc Committee shall be chaired by a member of City Council, nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by a majority of City Council. The Chair shall manage the meetings, agenda, and proceedings of the JSDRC. The Chair shall remain neutral and have no vote.
(5) 
Nonvoting ex officio members. The City Manager, City Planner, and a representative of the Building Official's office shall serve as ex officio members, with all rights of membership except the right to vote.
(6) 
The JSDRC shall complete its review in no more than 90 days.
(7) 
The JSDRC shall make recommendations to the City Council, as provided in Chapter 170, Article V.
D. 
Site development plans shall be subject to review by the JSDRC and approval by City Council if they meet the following thresholds:
(1) 
New structures that collectively consist of 5,000 square feet or greater in floor area;
(2) 
Additions to existing structures where additional floor area is greater than 5,000 square feet;
(3) 
Additions of impervious surface where new or additional impervious surfaces constitute 15% or more of the existing impervious surface area and are equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet of impervious surface; or
(4) 
Adjacent to residential: nonresidential site plans with site disturbance greater than 2,500 square feet and adjacent (within 50 feet) to residential uses or residential zones.
E. 
Administrative site development plan review. Any development that does not meet the thresholds for a JSDRC review described above shall be processed as administrative site development plan.
F. 
If a proposed use or development requires Planning Commission review under the land subdivision regulations of the City of Lewes as set forth in Chapter 170, the application for preliminary consent, under § 170-19 of this chapter, and the application for site development plan approval shall be submitted and reviewed concurrently.
A site development plan review is conducted for the purposes outlined in § 170-2, Purpose, of this chapter. In considering and acting upon site development plans, the following objectives shall be taken into consideration and appropriate conditions and safeguards shall be prescribed to ensure that the objectives are satisfied and the proposed development complies with the expressed purpose:
A. 
All street and circulation patterns will provide for the safe, efficient and convenient movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic shall be functionally separate, wherever possible. Adequate parking, as applicable, should be designed so as to limit the use of each street or circulation path to that use for which it is designated, insofar as possible. Within the context of overall community development, the internal circulation should promote and encourage the increased use of pedestrian and bicycle movement among residential, local shopping, schools and other areas, through the use of connecting open space, bicycle/pedestrian ways and other design techniques and devices. Final plans shall comply with defined standards (§ 170-27, Streets), particularly with respect to their connections with public streets.
B. 
The provision of adequate access to all proposed structures, equipment, or material within the site for fire, ambulance, police, and other emergency services.
C. 
The provision of adequate off-street parking and loading to accommodate the vehicles of persons connected with or visiting the site and to obviate the parking of such vehicles in public streets.
D. 
An assessment of compatibility between the proposed development with adjacent area land uses should be conducted. Site design provisions that seek to connect or extend compatible locations or screen or separate areas where conflicts are anticipated should be utilized as part of the site plan. Applicants should incorporate design criteria defined in § 170-26A, General considerations, as it pertains to the proposed development.
E. 
A site layout along with identified strategies that demonstrates minimal impacts to adjacent properties and local resources, including:
(1) 
The location, power, direction, type and time of any outdoor lighting of the site (follow standards in § 170-26D, Lighting;
(2) 
Wetlands and floodplain along with proposals that outline how the proposed development will alleviate any problems associated with increased flooding and runoff;
(3) 
Any proposed open space or adjacent areas of protected open space (use criteria defined in § 170-26B, Open space requirements);
(4) 
Locations that have been identified as scenic (byways), natural and historical features in the Lewes Comprehensive Plan.
F. 
Landscaping of the site in a manner that is in character with that generally prevailing in the neighborhood and which minimizes tree removal and provides reasonable screening, at all seasons of the year, of all playgrounds, parking areas, and service areas from the view of adjacent residential properties and streets. Final plans shall comply with defined standards (§ 170-26C, Landscaping requirements) for the development.
G. 
In applicable cases, a stormwater drainage system and layout which would afford the best solution to any drainage problems. Final plans shall comply with defined standards (§ 170-30, Stormwater management system) for the development.
H. 
Nonresidential and multifamily residential buildings shall comply with the following standards, where applicable:
(1) 
Large mechanical equipment or other utility hardware on the roof, ground or buildings shall be screened from public view with materials harmonious to the building.
(2) 
Exterior lighting shall be part of the architectural concept. Fixtures, standards and all exposed accessories shall be harmonious with the building design.
(3) 
Refuse and waste removal areas, service yards, storage area, yards and exterior work areas shall be screened from public view with materials harmonious with the building.
(4) 
Locate the building at a minimum setback line with the maximum length of the building facing along the street to provide frequent and convenient pedestrian connections between buildings and public sidewalks.
(5) 
Minimize the public view of large parking areas and service facilities; provide a continuous edge along the street.
(6) 
Visually enclose and define public street space that is comfortable to pedestrians in proportion and scale.
(7) 
Design and place buildings in order to preserve and enhance special street views. In particular, views of important buildings and natural features, focal points at T-intersections and views along curbs and roadways should be encouraged.
(8) 
Position new buildings to ensure the adjacent properties have visual privacy and sunlight, as well as protection from the new development's site illumination, noise and odor.
(9) 
In terms of shape, style, rooflines, color and materials, buildings shall be designed to complement and contribute to a desirable community character.
(10) 
Design landscaping and buildings adjacent to historic properties that are complementary to the significant historical features.
(11) 
Design and position buildings to screen unsightly elements, such as shipping and loading areas, transformers, dumpsters and meters, from public view.
(12) 
Design the building roof to screen mechanical equipment from view and contribute to an attractive visual setting.
(13) 
Design the building to ensure adequate blending of the storm drainage requirement with the local environment.
I. 
Ensure that large-scale development projects involving phased construction periods are planned and implemented in accordance with an approved site development master plan.
A. 
Preapplication meeting. Prior to the submission of a site development plan, the applicant or his representative shall meet in person with a Building Department official to review a sketch plan and discuss application requirements. The purpose of this meeting shall be to discuss proposed uses or developments in order to determine how to proceed with the application. Depending on the type of proposal, the meeting shall determine if the site development plan should be submitted for processing as an administrative site plan or referred to the JSDRC. The Building Official shall provide the applicant with a copy of the site development plan application form, which will identify required plan contents. In addition, applicants submitting commercial use or proposals that fall within an adopted historic district will be advised on review processes that may be applicable to the proposal.
B. 
For applications to be processed as an administrative site review under § 170-36, the applicant shall be informed at the preapplication meeting which items from the site development plan requirements checklist will be needed for determination of conformity with the provisions and intent of this section, along with any other comments and suggestions to ensure a complete application.
C. 
For applications to be referred to the JSDRC under § 170-37, the applicant shall be advised at the preapplication meeting which items from the site development plan requirements checklist will be needed for determination of conformity with the provisions and intent of this section, along with any other comments and suggestions to ensure a complete application. The JSDRC may request any additional plan details from § 170-40 if they determine the information is needed as part of the application review.
D. 
Fees.
(1) 
The applicant shall pay a nonrefundable site plan review application fee upon submitting an initial application as follows:
(a) 
For administrative site development plan review:
[1] 
Residential: $500 plus $250 per proposed dwelling unit over three.
[2] 
Nonresidential: $500 plus $250 per 5,000 square feet of nonresidential land.
(b) 
For JSDRC site development plan review:
[1] 
Residential: $1,500 plus $250 per proposed dwelling unit over three.
[2] 
Nonresidential: $1,500 plus $250 per 5,000 square feet of nonresidential land.
(2) 
The City may charge other unspecified fees necessary to review the site development plan application if the City expects to incur costs in retaining outside technical support, to consider, examine, review and make reports and recommendations concerning the plan, as submitted.
A. 
Process for administrative site plan application. If, as a result of the preapplication meeting as described in subsection § 170-35A, it is determined that the proposed uses or development is of a type that may be approved by a Building Department official, the applicant shall submit the application for site development plan approval to the Building Department official with the required documentation as defined in § 170-40, Site development plan submission requirements, to the extent required by the Building Official. If a party other than the owner of record is making application, a letter of permission from the owner of record must be submitted designating that applicant as an authorized agent. Upon submission of a site development plan to the Building Official and prior to consideration of such plan by the Building Official, the applicant shall make a deposit in an amount defined in § 170-35D, fees. The Building Official shall coordinate the reviews of the various administrative departments of the City of Lewes and outside regulatory agencies and review the application within 30 days of the date of submission.
B. 
Final plans and working drawings. Following initial review and comment by the Building Official, the applicant shall develop final site development plans for approval by the Building Department. The Building Official shall determine that all necessary approvals have been issued by City departments and outside regulatory agencies prior to issuing final plan approval. No building permit shall be issued until such time that the Building Official has issued final site plan approval.
C. 
Expiration. Administrative site development plan approval shall expire 12 months from the date of final approval by the Building Official if construction of the work authorized or use permitted has not started or unless an extension of time is applied for by the applicant and granted by the Building Department. Approval shall also expire if the construction of work authorized has stopped for a period of one year, unless an extension of time is applied for and granted by the Building Department.
D. 
Circumventing ordinance requirements. Administrative site plans shall not be used to circumvent the requirement of JSDRC/City Council site plan review. If the Building Official determines that cumulative administrative site plans on a property are being used to circumvent the requirements of this chapter or other provisions of the Lewes Code of Ordinances, the Building Official shall refer the application to the JSDRC, subject to the requirements of subsection § 170-37.
A. 
Site development plan. If, as a result of the preapplication meeting as described in § 170-35A, it is determined that the proposed uses or development are of a type that would be evaluated by the Joint Site Development Ad-Hoc Review Committee for review, and referral to City Council for approval or disapproval, the applicant shall submit an application as described in this section.
B. 
Initial application. Any individual, firm, association, syndicate, copartnership, corporation, trust, or any other legal entity interested in applying for approval of a land development located wholly or partially within the City of Lewes shall submit, in writing, to the Building Department official for review by the JSDRC complete copies of a site development plan as described in § 170-40, Plan requirements, to the extent required by the Building Official, including an electronic version, of the following:
(1) 
Identity of applicant.
(2) 
If a party other than the owner of record is making application, a letter of permission from the owner of record must be submitted designating that applicant as an authorized agent.
(3) 
If the applicant is a partnership, the applicant shall identify the name and address of each individual composing the partnership, including all limited partners.
(4) 
If the applicant is a corporation, the applicant shall identify:
(a) 
The name and address of each stockholder owning more than 10% of the stock of the corporation;
(b) 
The name and address of each officer; and
(c) 
The name and address of each member of the Board of Directors or other governing body.
(5) 
If the applicant is a limited-liability company, the applicant shall identify the name and address of each member.
(6) 
If the applicant is an individual, the applicant shall identify his/her name and address.
C. 
The application for site development plan approval shall be submitted to the Building Department at least 30 days prior to the JSDRC meeting for its review.
D. 
The application for site development plan approval shall be accompanied by a fee as defined in § 170-35D, Fees. The applicant shall make a deposit in an amount to be determined by the City of Lewes for the purpose of covering the costs, if the City expects to incur costs in retaining outside technical support, to consider, examine, review and make reports and recommendations concerning the plan, as submitted. Upon final disposition of the plan, as submitted, the City of Lewes shall determine the cost which has been incurred in considering, examining, reviewing and making reports and recommendations concerning the plan and shall deduct that cost from the deposit make by the applicant. If the deposit exceeds the cost incurred by the City of Lewes, the remaining amount shall be refunded to the applicant by the City without interest. If the deposit is less than the cost incurred by the City, the applicant shall pay such deficiency prior to any final approval being issued by the City Council.
E. 
The applicant shall submit a letter from the Board of Public Works indicating whether utilities are existing and available. Such letter shall further identify the status of the capacity of the utility systems for the project and the limitations and notations which the Board of Public Works has placed on the review and approval of plans.
F. 
Public meeting. The JSDRC shall review the site plan application, as part of a public meeting at a regular or special meeting subject to the following public notification procedures:
(1) 
The applicant shall advertise the public meeting in a newspaper of general circulation at least 15 days prior thereto. Said notices shall state the date, time and place of the meeting, the site location, a brief description of the site plan and shall state that a copy of the site plan application and plan is filed with the Planning office for public review.
(2) 
The applicant shall notify, by certified mail with return receipt requested, all property owners within 200 feet of the extreme limits of the site plan property as their names appear on the municipal tax record at least 15 days prior thereto. The applicant shall provide the Planning office with a copy of the notice, verification of newspaper publication, and post office mail receipts including the date of mailing for all letters on or before the meeting date.
(3) 
The City shall post a notice outlining the date, time, place, and nature of the public meeting in a conspicuous location on the property. Such notice shall be designed in accordance with standards set forth in § 170-9, Notice requirements.
G. 
Joint Site Development Ad Hoc Review Committee recommendation. The JSDRC shall evaluate the proposed site development plan using the objectives defined in § 170-34 to reach a decision to recommend approval, approval subject to conditions or disapproval. Said recommendation shall be forwarded to the Mayor and City Council within 30 days following the review by the JSDRC.
A. 
Mayor and City Council review. Within 60 days of receiving the Joint Site Development Ad- Hoc Review Committee's report and recommendations on the site development plan application, the Mayor and City Council shall consider the application at a public hearing, as follows:
(1) 
Public hearing notification.
(a) 
At least 15 days' notice of the public hearing shall be published by the applicant in an official newspaper of the City or a newspaper of general circulation in the City.
(b) 
The notice shall provide information about the proposed site development and announce the date, time, and place of the public hearing.
(c) 
A copy of the newspaper notice shall also be given to the property owners, certified by the petitioner to be the property owners within 200 feet of the boundaries of the subject property.
[1] 
Such notice shall be given by certified mail with return receipt requested.
[2] 
Such notice shall be sent to the property owners within 200 feet of the boundaries of the subject property at least 15 days prior to the public hearing.
(2) 
Conduct of public hearing.
(a) 
The Joint Site Development Review Committee's recommendation shall be presented at the public hearing and made a part of the hearing record.
(b) 
All interested parties and citizens shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
(3) 
Mayor and City Council action. The Mayor and City Council may take any of the following actions upon reviewing the site development application following the public hearing:
(a) 
Approve the site development application, subject to the standard conditions outlined in this chapter.
(b) 
Approve the site development application, subject to the standard conditions outlined in this chapter and such special conditions as may be imposed or directed.
(c) 
Deny the site development application. Should the Mayor and City Council deny the site development application, the applicant may recommence the process by submitting a site development application and paying the costs and fees required for a new application. Such new application shall be subject to any changes in ordinances, regulations, and procedures since the original application was filed.
(d) 
Remand the site development application to the Joint Site Development Review Committee for further review, along with an explanation of the reason for remanding the application.
(e) 
Suspend review of the site development application pending one of the following:
[1] 
Further consideration by the Mayor and City Council.
[2] 
Receipt of certain additional information.
[3] 
In the case of a development or subdivision to be completed in sections or phases, grant or deny provisional approval of the site development plan showing the proposed land development in its entirety, and grant or deny a supplemental application for the section or phase to be developed.
[4] 
In the case of a development or subdivision to be completed in sections or phases where provisional approval has already been granted by the Mayor and City Council, grant or deny a supplemental application.
(4) 
Notice of decision. Notification, in writing, of approval taken by the Mayor and City Council will be transmitted promptly to the applicant, along with copies of such approval to the Joint Site Development Ad-Hoc Review Committee and Board of Public Works (BPW).
A. 
Following approval, the applicant shall develop final site plans for processing by the Building Department. The Building Department shall determine that all necessary approvals have been issued by City departments and outside agencies regulating street access and stormwater management, prior to issuing final plan approval. No building permit shall be issued until such time that the Building Department has issued final site plan approval.
B. 
The Building Official may approve minor changes in site plans after approval by City Council and approve issuance of building or zoning permits accordingly if, in his/her opinion, such changes do not substantially affect the original approval of conditions attached thereto.
C. 
Amendments. The Building Department shall review proposed amendments to determine if they are substantial in nature. Amendments that are deemed substantial may be referred to the JSDRC for consideration at the discretion of the Building Department official. The procedure for amendment of the site development plan shall be the same for a new application, except that amendments of an approved site development plan or of conditions attached to an approved plan may be approved by the JSDRC at a regular meeting after receiving written reports by the Building Department official, provided that such change or amendment:
(1) 
Does not alter a recorded plat.
(2) 
Does not conflict with the specific requirements of this chapter.
(3) 
Does not change the general character or content of an approved development plan or use.
(4) 
Applies to an approved condition originating with the JSDRC and not the Mayor and City Council.
(5) 
Has no appreciable effect on adjoining or surrounding property.
(6) 
Does not result in any substantial change of major external access points.
(7) 
Does not increase the approved number of dwelling units, square footage or height of buildings.
(8) 
Does not decrease the minimum specified yards and open spaces or minimum or maximum specified parking and loading spaces.
(9) 
For any other changes, the applicant would be required to resubmit a site development plan for review and approval.
D. 
Expiration of site development plan approval.
(1) 
Site development plan approval shall expire 12 months after the date of final or conditional approval of the Mayor and City Council if construction of the work authorized or use permitted has not started or unless an extension of time is applied for by the applicant and granted by the Mayor and City Council. Approval shall also expire if the construction of work authorized has stopped for a period of one year, unless an extension of time is applied for and granted by the Mayor and City Council.
(2) 
Request for extension of approval shall be made no later than 30 days prior to the final approval expiration date. Upon receipt of such request, the matter shall be considered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mayor and City Council.
(3) 
In considering a request for an extension of approval, the Mayor and City Council shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) 
Whether the project has been delayed for reasons beyond the control of the applicant, excluding economic or financial reasons.
(b) 
Whether the applicant has made substantial progress toward obtaining final approvals.
(c) 
Whether there have been any significant changes in the surrounding neighborhood.
(d) 
Whether there have been any related amendments to the Zoning Map or text, or the comprehensive plan, or if any waivers or variances have been granted.
(e) 
Requests for extensions shall be submitted, in writing, to the Building Department.
(f) 
Under no circumstances shall the City grant extensions beyond 36 months from the date of first approval.
A. 
The applicant shall cause a site development plan to be prepared by a civil engineer, surveyor, land planner, or architect. The applicant shall submit copies of the site development plan to the Building Department at the time of filing the formal application for site development plan approval under the provisions of § 170-36, Administrative site development plan review, or § 170-37, Joint Site Development Review Committee site development plan review.
B. 
Prior to creating a site development plan, the applicant(s) shall have met with the Building Official as required by § 170-35 to discuss the process and review requirements for a complete plan submission using the site development plan application form. The site development plan shall include those items selected from the site development plan requirements checklist that were defined by the Building Official during the preapplication meeting.
C. 
Final site development plan requirements. The final site development plan shall comply with all existing laws, regulations and ordinances governing the approval of subdivisions or land developments and provide sufficiently accurate dimensions and construction specifications to provide the data necessary for the issuance of construction permits. The Mayor and City Council may establish additional requirements for final site plans and may waive a particular requirement if, in its opinion, the inclusion of that requirement is not essential to a proper decision on the project. If a preliminary site plan is approved by the Mayor and City Council without the inclusion of a particular requirement, the Mayor and City Council is deemed to have waived that requirement.