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2010 Lewes Zoning Code Update -- An Overview
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2010 Lewes Zoning Code Update -- An Overview


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This is an introduction to the proposed update of the City of Lewes Zoning Code. A companion commentary can be found at

This is an introduction to the proposed update of the City of Lewes Zoning Code. A companion commentary can be found at

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  • This presentation was given to the Monday, May 10, 2010 meeting of the City of Lewes Mayor and Council.
  • This update of the Lewes Zoning Code has been in development for some time. It started with the update some years ago of the city’s comprehensive plan. This draft of the zoning code will be revised following the May 25 public hearing and submitted to Mayor and Council for their consideration. That will include PLUS review by the state and a further public hearing before the code update is adopted.
  • This is almost a complete revision of the zoning code. Two key changes are the use of tables to show permitted uses and required dimensions.
  • The Use Regulations table is a matrix of the zoning districts (across the top) and the possible uses (down the sides). This table can be used to quickly see which uses are permitted, or allowed by Conditional Use (CU) or Special Exception (SE) in which districts.
  • The Dimensional Regulations table shows the required setbacks, lot sizes, height limits and other measurements that guide and regulate development in the various zoning districts and for different uses.
  • The Planning Commission proposes a whole new set of zoning districts. There are now 12 districts. Other parts of the zoning code are unchanged.
  • There are three main types of zoning districts. Open space is the simplest. There are several types of non-residential zoning districts. The residential districts are arranged by density.
  • This is the map of Lewes that we will use to show the proposed zoning districts. Note that this view of the city cuts off a portion of the city that rises to the northwest. This is Beach Plum Island, which is undeveloped, protected land. It is entirely in the Open Space zoning district.
  • There is a fair amount of Open Space land in Lewes. The proposed map shows both land and water areas as part of the Open Space district.
  • There are just a few Industrial parcels in the city. There are lands that have been zoned Industrial for some time. The proposed zoning code would allow only a few activities under the industrial zoning.
  • There are also only a few spots that are shown as “General Commercial.” Several other zoning districts also include commercial uses.
  • Marine Commercial is a new district proposed to highlight Lewes’ traditional connection to the sea and to maritime activity. It includes fishing-related activities as well as water-based tourism.
  • The Town Center district reflects one of the core values of the City of Lewes – “Busy days and quiet nights” – and includes much of the central activity of Lewes in the traditional downtown.
  • The Community Facilities district includes schools and the hospital and is little changed from earlier zoning codes.
  • The Limited Commercial zone is a new district that was developed in recognition of the transition between commercial and residential that has developed along Savannah Road leading west from the downtown. This is an area in which offices (mostly medical) are adjacent to residential areas. This district attempts to manage that interface.
  • The least dense of the residential zoning districts is the Suburban district. It features single family homes on relatively large lots. There is only one such area proposed at present – a recently annexed and fully developed subdivision.
  • The Residential Low-Density zone is similar to the existing “Outer Ring” district and includes generally single family homes on 10,000 square foot lots.
  • The Residential Beach zone features slightly smaller lots and some attached residential. This district attempts to maintain the traditional “Lewes Beach” feel.
  • The Residential Medium-Density zone includes much of what has been zoned “Old Town” and is the transitional area between the Town Center and the less dense outer areas of the city. It features a mix of housing types and smaller lot sizes.
  • The Mixed Residential zone was developed in response to the City’s desire to allow for some moderate-income housing, including well-designed multi-family housing projects that range in affordability from moderate income to fairly high-income along the bay shore.
  • It is important to remember that the land uses within each of these residential zones already include some non-conforming uses and there are procedures within the proposed zoning code (as in the existing code) to account for these non-conforming uses and allow for their continuation.
  • The Lewes Planning Commission encourages all Lewes residents to review the draft code and the draft map. Both are available in printed form in the city and on-line in PDF format.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Lewes Zoning Code Update Mike Mahaffie Chair, Lewes Planning Commission May 10, 2010
    • 2. Process
      • Comprehensive Plan Update
      • This draft of the zoning code
        • Planning Commission public hearing (5/25/10)
        • Review by city solicitor and UD planning consultant
      • Draft submitted to Mayor & Council
        • PLUS Review
        • Mayor and Council public hearing
      • Final zoning code
    • 3. (Almost) A Complete Rewrite
      • New organization
        • Use regulations table
        • Dimensional regulations table
    • 4.  
    • 5.  
    • 6. (Almost) A Complete Rewrite
      • New organization
        • Use regulations table
        • Dimensional regulations table
      • Complete rewrite of zoning districts
        • Now 12 districts
      • Some things are essentially the same
        • Administrative responsibilities
        • Historic district
        • Environmental protection regulations
    • 7. The Zoning Districts
      • Open Space
      • Non-Residential Zones
        • Commercial
        • Industrial
        • Community Facilities
      • Residential Zones
        • Rising in density from Suburban to Mixed Residential
    • 8.  
    • 9. Open Space Zone (OS) Both land and water Preserve lands and link with nature Provide for public recreation Parks and privately-conserved
    • 10. Industrial Zone (I) Very limited in Lewes Provide for some light manufacturing
    • 11. General Commercial Zone (GC) A variety of commercial goods and services Also somewhat limited
    • 12. Marine Commercial Zone (MC) Lewes' connection to the sea Mixed retail and residential tied to water Headboats, restaurants, hotels, etc.
    • 13. Town Center Zone (TC) Central commercial, residential & cultural core Connection between commerce & residential Shops, restaurants, banks, post office... “ Busy days and quiet nights”
    • 14. Community Facilities Zone (CF) Community facilities and services Schools, university campus, hospital...
    • 15. Limited Commercial Zone (LC) Transition between commercial & residential Offices adjacent to residential Savannah Road as “medical row”
    • 16. Non-Residential Zones
    • 17. Suburban Zone (R-1) Lower density, outer edge of the city Mostly single-family detached Child care or home-based business (CU) 20,000 square foot lots
    • 18. Res. Low-Density Zone (R-2) Low-density, outside of center Similar to former “outer ring” Single-family detached, churches 10,000 square foot lots
    • 19. Residential Beach Zone (R-3) “ Lewes Beach” style of residential Attached & detached residential Churches, clubs (SE), child care (CU) 5,000 square foot lots
    • 20. Res. Medium-Density Zone (R-4) Residential adjacent to town center Similar to “old town” Attached, detached, 2-family residential 5,000 square foot lots Burton subdivision (4,000 sq. ft)
    • 21. Mixed Residential Zone (R-5) Mix of housing types, including multi-family Child-care and home-based business (CU) Range of lot sizes (1,500 to 10,000 sq. ft)
    • 22. Residential Zones
    • 23.  
    • 24. Review The Draft
      • The draft ordinance and map are available in City Hall, at the Library and online
      • On-line in PDF format
        • Use Acrobat Reader ( )
      • For ease of on-screen browsing
    • 25. Take Part in the Hearing
      • Tuesday, May 25
      • 7:00 p.m.
      • City Hall