Dewey commissioners to vote on zoning changes Feb. 12

Revised code to set residential building size, setbacks, other standards
February 10, 2021

For the second time in two months, Dewey Beach commissioners tabled a vote on proposed zoning changes that have been in the works for two years. 

With several different recommendations under consideration in one ordinance, commissioners and residents were unable to agree on all proposed modifications.

About 10 residents commented during the Jan. 8 town council meeting and public hearing, and others submitted comments to commissioners via email, which need to be included as part of the public record, town counsel Fred Townsend said. 

Several residents said reducing the allowable square footage of new homes would lower property values and prevent them from building the beach home of their dreams. 

Others supported reducing corner-lot setbacks for side yards abutting streets, and some said the two-and-a-half maximum stories limit was confusing.

After public comment was heard, commissioners pushed back on Mayor Dale Cooke’s attempted motion to table the possible vote without discussion.

Line by line, commissioners voiced opinions on proposed changes, and a general consensus was recorded in order for Townsend to draft a revised document.

In the NR District, a majority of commissioners agreed to a three-story maximum, roof decks, a 4/12 roof pitch, an 8-foot minimum corner-lot setback for side yards abutting streets, and elimination of tiered setbacks.

Commissioner David Jasinski said property owners with corner lots want the 8-foot setback, but the community as a whole is against the reduction from the existing 15-foot setback in town code; Cooke agreed. 

A majority agreed that for lots less than 7,500 square feet, the maximum house size would be 4,000 square feet with six bedrooms, and a 500-square-foot allowance for a garage. Decks, unenclosed porches and areas under houses raised on pilings, elevator space, and unfinished attics with fold-away stairs would not count toward the maximum square footage.

In the RB-3 District, most commissioners sided with a proposed 12-foot minimum corner-lot setback for side yards abutting a street.

Council is set to vote on the revised ordinance at the Friday, Feb. 12 meeting. A link to the meeting, which begins at 12 p.m., can be found at

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