Sussex County, DE
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purpose of this district is to provide for and to preserve waterfront land in appropriate locations for commercial docking, waterfront sales, storage and repair of small boats, including out-of-water repairs, and for seafood packing and processing establishments, subject to applicable sanitation and processing laws and ordinances. Marinas, yacht clubs and tourist-oriented services are permitted uses. Since land in the district is limited, construction of dwellings should be discouraged, but since marine development will be gradual, low-density residential uses are permitted.
A building or land or water area shall be used only for the following purposes, in all cases subject to site plan review by the Planning and Zoning Commission in accord with procedures of § 115-219 for docks, piers, bulkheads, breakwaters or other over-water structures, except private over-water piers and boathouses accessory to a dwelling:
Any use permitted in the MR District, § 115-29
Boat and marine engine sales and display, yacht broker and marine insurance broker, yard display of boats to be 30 feet from the front property line
Boat buildings, storage, repair or painting, including sale of boats and boat parts or accessories, and marine railways, provided that out-of-water work or storage shall be limited to boats 100 feet or less in length, and provided that any out-of-water work or storage shall be located at least 100 feet from any residential district. There are no restrictions on length for boat and marine motor service and minor repair while boats are in the water.
Board docks, slips, piers, wharves, anchorages and moorages for yachts and pleasure boats or for boats for hire carrying passengers or excursions, sightseeing, pleasure or fishing trips
Boat fuel sales for pleasure boats, provided that aboveground storage is in compliance with state and county fire safety regulations
Boat sales or rentals, boat liveries and boats for hire, including out-of-water storage of new boats
Hotels, motels and motor lodges
Marinas, yacht clubs, swimming and tennis clubs or private clubs
Multiple-family dwellings and structures of mixed commercial and residential use, subject to the mixed-use provisions of Articles XXII, XXIII and XXV
Piers for fishing and commercial beaches
Retail sale or rental of boating, fishing, hunting, diving and bathing supplies and equipment or clothing and fish bait
Telephone stations or booths, including drive-in or talking-from-car stations, and telephone central offices, provided that all storage of materials, all repair facilities and all housing or repair crews are within a completely enclosed area
Tourist homes (also referred to as "bed-and-breakfast inns")
[Added 5-16-1989 by Ord. No. 585]
Permitted accessory uses are as follows:
Any accessory use permitted in the MR District, § 115-30.
Storage of office supplies, merchandise or goods used in or produced by permitted business or commercial or marine uses, subject to applicable district regulations.
The following uses may be permitted as conditional uses when approved in accordance with the provisions of Article XXIV of this chapter:
Airports, heliports, helistops and landing fields or seaplane bases, provided that they shall comply with the recommendations of the Federal Aviation Administration
Aquariums, commercial
Bus terminals
Camps, day and boarding, private or commercial
Exposition centers or fairgrounds
Fish, shrimp, crab, clam, oyster and other seafood processing, packing and storing, except curing or smoking, unless approved by the Board of Adjustment under Article XXVII, subject to all applicable state and county laws and ordinances, and provided that any such use shall be located at least 200 feet from any residential district and there shall be no open or uncovered storage of shells, bones or refuse
Hospitals and sanitariums, but not animal hospitals
Manufactured home parks
[Amended 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
Manufacture of boat parts, sails, accessories and equipment not involving drop-forging, stamping, automatic screw machines or a foundry
Marine or oceanographic laboratories or experimental stations
Parks or campgrounds for mobile campers, tents, camp trailers, touring vans and the like
Public utilities or public service uses, buildings, generating or treatment plants, pumping or regulator stations, substations and transmission lines utilizing multilegged structures
Recreation facilities, privately or commercially operated, such as a fishing or boating lake or picnic grounds, and accessory facilities, including sale of food, beverages, bait, incidentals, supplies and equipment
Residential, business, commercial or industrial uses when the purposes of this chapter are more fully met by issuing a conditional use permit
Special events such as circuses or carnival grounds, amusement parks or midways, festivals, concerts, races/walks or any other special event or mass gathering being held outdoors or within a temporary structure or at a site and for a purpose different from the designated use and usual occupancy of the premises and located on unincorporated lands within Sussex County, permanently or for a temporary time period exceeding three days. Special events as defined herein, with a duration not exceeding three days, are not subject to the conditional use process. Upon receipt of an application, the Director or his/her designee may grant approval of a special event not exceeding three days. All special events, regardless of duration, shall be subject to the requirements of the Sussex County Special Event Policy.
[Amended 5-1-1990 by Ord. No. 680; 11-10-1992 by Ord. No. 863; 8-20-2013 by Ord. No. 2316]
Sports arenas or stadiums, commercial athletic fields or baseball parks
Special use exceptions may be permitted by the Board of Adjustment and in accordance with the provisions of Article XXVII of this chapter and may include:
Temporary and conditional permits for a period not to exceed five years, such period to be determined by the Board, for the following uses:
Archery ranges
Commercial dog kennels
Miniature golf courses or driving ranges[1]
Outdoor display or promotional activities at shopping centers or elsewhere
Raising for sale of birds, bees, rabbits and other small animals, fish and other creatures
Temporary buildings for use as a sales or rental office for an approved real estate development or subdivision
Tents for special purposes for a period exceeding three days. The Director may, without requiring an application for a special use exception, grant approval for a tent for a special purpose (revival, reception, tent sale as an accessory to a business or commercial use, or other similar activities). If approved by the Director, a tent for special purposes may be utilized on a parcel no more than three times in a calendar year.
[Added 11-10-1992 by Ord. No. 863]
Use of a manufactured home as a single-family dwelling in any district to meet an emergency or hardship situation, such permit not to exceed two years. The Director may, without requiring an application for a special use exception, grant an extension for an emergency or hardship situation previously approved by the County Board of Adjustment upon receipt of an affidavit from a doctor stating that the emergency or hardship situation still exists. Such extension may be granted annually as long as the emergency or hardship still exists.
[Amended 10-12-1999 by Ord. No. 1346; 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
Use of a manufactured-home-type structure for any business, commercial or industrial use
[Amended 3-5-1991 by Ord. No. 750; 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
Editor's Note: The former entry reading “Nonaccessory tents for special purposes,” which immediately followed this entry, was repealed 11-10-1992 by Ord. No. 863. See now the entry beginning with “Tents.”
Exceptions to parking and loading requirements as follows:
Off-street parking areas, adjacent to or at a reasonable distance from the premises on which parking areas are required by the parking regulations of Article XXII, where practical difficulties, including the acquisition of property, or undue hardship are encountered in locating such parking areas on the premises and where the purpose of these regulations to relieve congestion in the streets would best be served by permitting such parking off the premises.
Waiver or reduction of the parking and loading requirements in any district whenever the character or use of the building is such as to make unnecessary the full provision of parking or loading facilities.
Waiver or reduction of loading space requirements where adequate community loading facilities are provided.
Waiver or reduction of loading space requirements for uses which contain less than 10,000 square feet of floor area where construction of existing buildings, problems of access or size of lot make impractical the provision of required loading space.
Other special use exceptions as follows:
Alteration, extension or replacement of a nonconforming manufactured home, subject to the provisions of § 115-196
[Amended 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
Cemeteries for pets
Commercial greenhouses, wholesale or retail, and nurseries for growing of plants, trees and shrubs, including a building for sale of products produced on the premises
Convalescent homes, nursing homes or homes for the aged
Day nurseries or child-care centers[2]
Editor's Note: The former entry for frog or fish farms, which immediately followed this entry, was repealed 11-26-1991 by Ord. No. 806. The former entry for windmills and wind-powered generators, which immediately followed this entry, was repealed 9-13-2011 by Ord. No. 2213.
Structures of mixed use, commercial and residential, subject to the provisions of Articles IV through XX and § 115-219.
[Amended 12-2-2008 by Ord. No. 2008]
See Article XXI, § 115-159.4, for signs permitted in the M Marine District and other regulations relating to signs.
Minimum lot sizes. Minimum lot sizes shall be as follows:
(square feet)
Single-family dwelling
*NOTE: A lot fronting on a numbered road shown on the General Highway Map for Sussex County of 1964, as revised, shall have a minimum lot width of 150 feet.
[Added 11-7-1989 by Ord. No. 632]
**NOTE: Any lot which is not connected to a central sewer system, as defined by § 115-194A, or which is located within a planning area as defined by a sewer planning study approved by the Sussex County Council, shall have a minimum area of 3/4 acre.
[Added 7-15-1997 by Ord. No. 1157]
Minimum yard requirements. Minimum yard requirements shall be as follows:
Depth of Front Yard
Width of Side Yard
Depth of Rear Yard
Single-family dwelling
40 (30)*
40 (30)*
Multifamily-type structure
(See Table II, included at the end of this chapter.)
*NOTE: See also table of district regulations at the end of this chapter.
Maximum height requirements. Maximum height requirements shall be as follows:
[Amended 10-31-1995 by Ord. No. 1062]
Single-family dwelling
Multifamily dwelling
The regulations contained in this Article are supplemented or modified by regulations contained in other Articles of this chapter, especially the following:
Article I, § 115-4, Definitions and word usage
Article XXI, Signs
Article XXII, Off-Street Parking
Article XXIII, Off-Street Loading
Article XXIV, Conditional Uses
Article XXV, Supplementary Regulations
Article XXVII, Board of Adjustment