Rehoboth Beach creating awnings, canopies, marquees code

New language comes as new projects are submitted that include these design features
January 24, 2023

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach City Hall
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

In advance of projects expected to come before the city with awnings, canopies and marquees as part of the design, Rehoboth Beach commissioners have set out to codify language defining those structures and the process associated with executing a license agreement with the city.

This is a timely issue, said Mayor Stan Mills, during a commissioner workshop Jan. 9. There are several projects with awnings and canopies, and at least one with all three, he said.

Building Inspector Matt Janis confirmed there have been a number of requests made to the city and that there wasn’t any mechanism in code to approve them.

Commissioner Toni Sharp began the discussion by asking why the code didn’t already have the language. City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas said in the past, the city has been hesitant to allow a blanket approach to encroachments into the public right of way.

The definitions for the proposed code give specific characteristics for the three weather-deflecting structures. It also says awnings shall not extend more than 4 feet over the sidewalk measured from the building; the support columns for canopies wouldn’t be allowed more than 2 feet from the curb line; and marquees wouldn’t be allowed to extend more than two-thirds the width of the sidewalk from the building façade.

As proposed, commissioners would have to approve a license agreement before any awning, canopy or marquee could be built over public property. There would be a fee of $325 for a request, an annual administrative fee of $30 and an annual fee that would be determined by commissioners. Additionally, there are proposed fines that would allow the city to charge $100 to $500 a day for violations.

Commissioners also discussed how to get existing awnings, canopies and marquees into compliance with the proposed new code. As proposed, the existing structures would have 210 days to come into compliance with code after it is passed. The proposed fees would also be applied to the existing structures.

The city isn’t trying to get rid of any existing structures, and this process allows for grandfathering, said Mills.

Assistant City Manager Evan Miller said the city does not have a current list of buildings and businesses with an awning, canopy or marquee. He said the plan is to mail everyone in the commercial district about the new code within 60 days, then put the onus on businesses to get permission from the city.

Mills said he didn’t want to do that. Instead, he said, the city should come up with the list on its own before the next time the topic is discussed.

At the end of the discussion, Mills said the plan is to bring the topic back for another review during the commissioner workshop Monday, Feb. 6, with a possible vote during the meeting Friday, Feb. 17.


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