Sussex P&Z says tiny home not to code

Milton-area resident seeks permission to continue rental of unit on her property
April 1, 2022

Story Location:
26182 Cave Neck Road
Milton, DE 19968
United States

Saying a rental tiny home near Milton does not fit in county code as a dwelling or camper, Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend denial of a conditional-use application for a tourist home filed by Ashley DiMichele.

DiMichele has listed her 210-square-foot tiny home at 26182 Cave Neck Road near Milton as a rental on Airbnb since last spring.

Commissioner Keller Hopkins cast the lone vote against denial.

Making the motion for denial, Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said the small RV camper is not a dwelling under county code and does meet requirements for a camper, either.

She said tiny homes, which are not addressed in county code, should be a topic of discussion to find a way to define them as dwellings.

To be considered a dwelling, a structure must be on a permanent foundation, and have water and sewer hookups. The tiny home is on wheels, and has self-contained water and septic systems.

Hoey Stevenson said a single campsite has to follow the same regulations as 100 campsites, with 2,000-square-foot lots at least 40 feet wide and located 400 feet from the nearest dwelling. The commissioner said DiMichele's tiny home does not meet any of the requirements.

During a Feb. 10 commission public hearing, DiMichele said she has had no trouble renting out the self-contained, RV-like structure, which sits adjacent to her home. She restricts rentals to two people, with a two-day minimum. “We've had more traffic than expected,” she said.

The tiny home, built in Lancaster, Pa., is road ready and contains its own kitchen with a stove, water system and composting toilet.

Sussex County Council has the final vote on conditional-use applications. Council has scheduled a public hearing on the application at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 26, in the county administration building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown.


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