Sussex County, DE
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The purpose of this article is to provide for certain uses which cannot be well adjusted to their environment in particular locations with full protection offered to surrounding properties by rigid application of the district regulations. These uses are generally of a public or semipublic character and are essential and desirable for the general convenience and welfare but, because of the nature of the use, the importance of the relationship to the Comprehensive Plan and possible impact not only on neighboring properties but on a large section of the county, require the exercise of planning judgment on location and site plan.
The following special requirements shall be conditions to approval and development of the indicated conditional uses:
A. 
A drive-in theater use may be approved, provided that such use:
(1) 
Shall be arranged with due care to avoid direct entrance or exit on a major highway and that proper traffic safeguards are provided.
(2) 
Shall provide automobile storage facilities between the ticket gates and the access street equal to 25% of the theater capacity.
(3) 
Shall have no structure other than an enclosure fence within 50 feet of any site boundary line and shall have the theater screen located not less than 100 feet from any major highway, arterial street or property in a residential district and not facing such highway, street or property, unless the face of the screen is not visible therefrom because of natural or artificial barriers.
(4) 
Shall have individual car sound speakers, but low-volume horns may supply sound to refreshment stands and other service areas, and may have accessory uses and structures incident to the theater operation, including refreshment stands and toilet facilities, provided that they serve only the patrons while within the theater enclosure.
B. 
Excavation or backfilling of borrow pits, extraction, processing and removal of sand, gravel or stone, stripping of topsoil (but not including stripping of sod) and other major excavations, provided that:
(1) 
No material may be brought from off the site for processing, mixing or similar purposes.
(2) 
The excavating, extraction or filling operation shall be controlled to offer reasonable protection to surrounding properties and the neighborhood, particularly as regards to odors, dust, air or water pollution and uses of roads or streets providing access to the site.
(3) 
The location of the excavation, extraction or filling with respect to property lines, the depth of excavation or filling and relation to the water table or flood criteria and the slope of the sides of the excavation shall be controlled to prevent a continuing unsightly, hazardous or wasteful condition of the land.
(4) 
The borrow pit shall be surrounded by a landscaped unexcavated buffer strip of open space a minimum distance of 100 feet from any street lines and a minimum distance of 50 feet from all other property lines. The buffer strip shall remain free of any buildings or streets.
(5) 
The borrow pit shall be at least 200 feet from any dwelling on property of other ownership.
(6) 
Prior to issuance of a notice to proceed with development of the borrow pit, a site plan shall be submitted to the Commission for review. The site plan shall be prepared in compliance with this subsection, Article XXVIII of this chapter and the following:
(a) 
Site plans shall designate existing site conditions, proposed excavation area and proposed reclamation plans.
(b) 
Approvals shall be required to be submitted from the appropriate governmental agency for ingress/egress and erosion/sediment control.
[Amended 9-30-1986 by Ord. No. 382]
(c) 
The Commission may request that the site be fenced or screened and may establish greater setbacks due to individual site-related conditions.
(d) 
The Commission may request that the site plan be reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee.
(e) 
In order to assure completion of the approved reclamation, the Commission may recommend to the County Council that performance guaranties be required.
C. 
Livestock auction market in an AR District, provided that:
(1) 
Stock pens and main buildings are located at least 300 feet from any street or highway and at least 500 feet from any side or rear boundary line.
(2) 
Adequate off-street parking and off-street loading space is provided for customers and employees.
D. 
Cemetery or crematorium, provided that:
(1) 
The minimum area of the cemetery shall be 10 acres, unless associated with a church or limited to use by a family.
(2) 
Arrangements are made satisfactory to the County Attorney for perpetual maintenance of the cemetery.
E. 
Marina or yacht club, provided that:
(1) 
The marina or yacht club complies with all other codes, regulations, laws and ordinances, including those relating to the establishment of bulkhead line.
(2) 
The proposed design is satisfactory as regards such safety features as location of fueling points, fuel storage, effect on navigation and possibilities for water pollution.
(3) 
The marina or yacht club is properly located with respect to access roads and existing and future developed areas.
(4) 
The necessary approval is obtained from the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
F. 
Swimming or tennis club, private, nonprofit or commercially operated, provided that:
(1) 
Facilities shall be limited to those for games and outdoor uses such as swimming pools, shuffleboard, croquet or tennis courts. Indoor facilities shall include only meeting rooms and locker rooms. Games and building locations shall not be located within 25 feet of the side lot lines nor within 25 feet of the rear lot line.
(2) 
Appropriate fencing and screening from abutting property of all outdoor activity area shall be required. If parking areas are outside this fencing, then appropriate screening of at least three and one-half (3 1/2) feet in height shall be constructed around parking area to protect adjoining property from headlights. The County Council may require the applicant to file with the County Clerk a performance bond during the period of construction, reconstruction or alteration, such bond to be sufficient to insure completion of landscaping and parking plans as submitted.
(3) 
Any pumps and filters which are located above ground shall be at least 50 feet from abutting properties.
(4) 
Dispensing of food, beverages, candy and tobacco shall be from coin-operated machines only.
(5) 
All lights shall be shielded to reflect or direct light away from adjoining property.
(6) 
The required off-street parking space shall be computed on the basis of one space for each 70 square feet of pool area. The parking layout and surfacing shall be approved by the Director.
G. 
Manufactured home park, provided that:
[Amended 11-28-1989 by Ord. No. 639; 10-15-1991 by Ord. No. 795; 12-17-1996 by Ord. No. 1120; 12-17-1996 by Ord. No. 1121; 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
(1) 
Exterior access to the manufactured home park shall be from a public highway having an easement width of at least 50 feet, that the number and location of access drives shall be controlled for traffic safety and protection of surrounding properties, that no manufactured home space shall be designed for direct access to a street outside the boundaries of the manufactured home park and that the interior access drive easements shall be properly lighted and at least 50 feet in width, with at least 24 feet in pavement width for two-way traffic and at least 14 feet in pavement width for one-way traffic.
[Amended 3-28-2017 by Ord. No. 2489]
(2) 
The topography of the site is such as to facilitate rapid drainage and that adequate drainage facilities are provided.
(3) 
The minimum width and/or depth of the manufactured home park shall be 200 feet and the minimum total area of the manufactured home park shall be five acres. An addition to an existing manufactured home park has no minimum area requirement.
(4) 
The minimum area for a manufactured home site for parking one manufactured home shall be 5,000 square feet, with a width of not less than 50 feet and with corners of each site visibly marked and numbered by a permanent marker. Any manufactured home with its accessory buildings shall not occupy in the aggregate more than 35% of the gross area of the lot. No lot shall be offered for sale or sold.
(5) 
In addition to the requirement of Subsection G(4) above, an open space or spaces accessible to all manufactured home occupants and suitable for a recreational land area shall be provided within the park at a ratio of 300 square feet minimum of recreational area per manufactured home site.
(6) 
The manufactured home park shall be surrounded by a landscaped buffer strip of open space 50 feet wide along all boundary lines. The buffer strip shall remain free of any buildings or streets.
(7) 
No authorized main residential structure located in a conditional use manufactured home park or any addition thereto shall be parked closer than 20 feet to any other main residential structure or accessory building, and no part of any authorized main residential structure or addition thereto shall be extended closer than 10 feet to the boundaries of the individual residential site or exceed an overall height of 35 feet for sites which have not received a placement permit and for sites which are a minimum of 50 feet from a site which had obtained a placement permit prior to the effective date of this amendment; the overall height limit on sites which have received a placement permit and within 50 feet of sites which have received a placement permit prior to the effective date of this amendment may not exceed 22 feet, and no part of any accessory building shall extend closer than five feet to the boundaries of the individual residential sites or exceed an overall height of 25 feet. Steps with related landing, not exceeding 28 square feet of lot coverage, may project four feet into the required setback. Where a manufactured home/manufactured housing community has been totally developed prior to the adoption of this chapter or where utility systems have been installed prior to enactment and in anticipation of future development, the required authorized primary residential structure setback may be five feet instead of 10 feet.
(8) 
Two off-street parking spaces shall be provided on each manufactured home site.
(9) 
Small retail businesses intended primarily for occupants of the park shall be permitted within the park area. Grocery stores, automatic laundries, beauty shops and similar uses are appropriate.
(10) 
Proper provision shall be made for public water supply, sanitary sewers, electric connections, fire protection, laundry, toilet and bathing facilities.
(11) 
Proper provision shall be made for refuse storage and collection, subject at all times to County regulations.
(12) 
An authorized main residential structure in a conditional use manufactured home park may be a manufactured home or an authorized manufactured home. An authorized manufactured home, in addition to a manufactured home, is a housing unit manufactured off-site in one or more component parts or sections over 450 square feet in size, constructed to be connected to utilities; such dwellings are constructed to be towed on a chassis and may be placed upon a permanent or temporary foundation upon a lot or site in a manufactured home park or may remain supported by the chassis used for transportation, for year-round occupancy on a lot or site in a manufactured home park. Authorized manufactured homes can consist of one or more components for movement purposes and they may be capable of being joined together into one integral unit. This subsection, effective December 17, 1996, shall only apply to sites that have not been issued a placement permit prior to the effective date of this subsection.
(13) 
No part of any accessory building shall extend closer than five feet to the boundaries of an individual residential site, or within 20 feet of a main residential structure or addition thereto on another residential site, or within 10 feet of an accessory building on another residential site, or exceed an overall height of 25 feet. An existing accessory building, of the same dimension, may be replaced in the same location if the accessory building was previously permitted by Sussex County and if authorized by the park management.
[Added 12-14-2010 by Ord. No. 2167]
(14) 
Open unenclosed landings with steps and temporary handicap ramps for emergency needs providing access into the main residential structure may project four feet into the required side yard setback and the twenty-foot separation requirement. An open unenclosed landing, not exceeding four feet by four feet located near the elevation of the finished floor of the main residential structure shall have the necessary steps to get down from the landing to the grade of the lot. Open unenclosed landings and steps shall not be calculated as part of the lot coverage requirement of 35% since they are required to provide access into the main residential structure. Temporary handicap ramps may be permitted for emergency needs upon receipt of an affidavit from a doctor on an annual basis that an emergency situation exists and shall be subject to the approval of park management, the Director and the County’s Chief of Building Code. A temporary handicap ramp shall be designed and built to County Building Code and federal code guidelines relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act[1] with specified slopes, handrails, etc. A temporary handicap ramp permitted under this subsection shall be removed if the need for it no longer exists.
[Added 12-14-2010 by Ord. No. 2167]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
H. 
Park or campground for mobile campers, tents, camp trailers, touring vans and the like, provided that:
(1) 
Exterior access shall be from a public highway having an easement width of at least 50 feet, that the number and location of access drives shall be controlled for traffic safety and protection of surrounding properties, that no camping or trailer space shall be designed for direct access to a street outside the boundaries of the park and that the interior access drive easements shall be properly lighted and at least 30 feet in width, with at least 24 feet in pavement width for two-way traffic and at least 14 feet in pavement width for one-way traffic.
[Amended 3-28-2017 by Ord. No. 2489]
(2) 
The topography of the site shall be such as to facilitate rapid drainage and that adequate draining facilities shall be provided.
(3) 
Every such area shall be at least 400 feet from any existing dwelling on property of other ownership and shall be at least 100 feet from any public road.
(4) 
Each campsite shall have an area of at least 2,000 square feet and a width of not less than 40 feet. The park will be surrounded by a landscaped space 50 feet wide along all boundaries. The buffer strip shall remain free of any buildings or streets. No site shall be offered for sale or be sold.
(5) 
Proper provisions shall be made for public water supply, toilets and bathing facilities and electric connections.
(6) 
Small retail businesses intended primarily for occupants of the park area shall be permitted within the park area. Grocery stores, automatic laundries, beauty shops and similar uses are appropriate.
(7) 
Proper provision shall be made for refuse storage and collection, subject at all times to county regulations.
(8) 
Each campground owner may provide one accessory building on each campsite to be used for storage purposes only and which shall not be used for any purpose of human habitation. Each structure shall be no more than 64 feet in area and shall be no higher than 10 feet. For each campground where these structures are approved, they shall be of uniform design and size and shall be uniformly placed on each campsite. The placement of the aforesaid structures and their design characteristics must be approved by the Commission prior to erection in any campground. This subsection shall be applicable to all conforming and nonconforming campgrounds.
[Amended 5-26-1992 by Ord. No. 831]
(9) 
With the exceptions of structures mentioned in Subsection H(8) above, there shall be no other structure or manufactured home located on any campsite within a campground. All units to be used for the purpose of human habitation shall be tents, travel trailers, recreational vehicles and equipment manufactured specifically for camping purposes. For the purpose of a residence and/or office for the park manager, there may be one structure or manufactured home within the campground area.
[Amended 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152; 10-12-2010 by Ord. No. 2152]
A preliminary site plan complying with the requirements of Article XXVIII shall accompany an application for approval of a conditional use under this Article, together with such information as may be required for a determination of the nature of the proposed use and its effect on the Comprehensive Plan, the neighborhood and surrounding properties. Procedures for approval of a conditional use and approval and amendment of site plans are contained in Article XXVIII.
[Amended 6-2-2009 by Ord. No. 2053; 6-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2262; 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 2428; 3-28-2017 by Ord. No. 2489]
Approval of a conditional use under this article shall be valid for a period of three years after the date of approval and thereafter shall become null and void unless construction or use is substantially underway during said three-year period. Any conditional use shall expire upon abandonment or expiration of the use. Construction shall be deemed to be "substantially underway" if the right-of-way has been cleared, the roadways, internal streets and/or parking areas have been rough-graded, the drainage system and/or stormwater management facilities have been rough-graded and erosion and sediment control measures are in place and being actively maintained. In a case where no new construction is required to implement the approved use, the use shall be deemed "substantially underway" if the activity permitted by the approved conditional use is actively underway. “Abandonment” shall mean that the subject parcel remains idle or unused, or that no construction activity is actively underway, for a continuous period of two years, whether or not equipment or fixtures are removed. An extension of this time period may be sought in accordance with § 99-40C.
Any conditional use listed in § 115-172 above, legally existing at the effective date of the regulations of this Article, shall be considered a nonconforming use unless it has qualified as provided above and has been approved as a conditional use by the County Council.
Permits issued under a conditional use approval may be revoked by the Director for failure to comply with conditions of approval or applicable regulations.