Lewes council defers Donovan-Smith decision

Changes to proposed ordinance to be discussed at workshop
November 17, 2023

Lewes Mayor and City Council deferred a decision on a proposed ordinance that would bring the Donovan-Smith Manufactured Home Park up to city code.

The panel could have taken a vote at its Nov. 13 meeting, but instead will consider the issue at a workshop Thursday, Nov. 30.

The delay is due to changes to the draft ordinance based on comments received during and immediately following a public hearing in September.

The ordinance now includes a reduction in lot coverage from 65% to 40%, increased separation between structures from 16 feet to 20 feet, a reduction in maximum building height limit from 24 feet to 20 feet and a minimum of 1.5 acres set aside for open space. Those are all items residents have been asking for.

“I have a feeling there will be some good feelings about this in the community,” said Councilman Joe Elder.

City planner Janelle Cornwell said any new construction of a home or shed would have to comply with those requirements.

Co-owner Ken Burnham has said he would like to add 30 new units to the park, if the ordinance is adopted. Elder asked how the increased separation requirement might impact the number of new units.

Attorney Max Walton, who represents the city for the Donovan-Smith issue, said he would expect a reduction in the number of units that could be added, but it is impossible to know exactly how many right now.

For years, residents have been pleading with the owners to clean up the overflowing septic tanks, fix decaying streets and update the electrical system.

The Lewes Board of Public Works is currently working to connect Donovan-Smith to city water and sewer. That project is scheduled to be finished in November 2024.

BPW officials said the delay in approving the draft ordinance does not impact the timetable.

For a link to the council meeting, go to


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