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The Delaware Coastal Zone Act


The Coastal Zone Act Program regulates existing heavy industrial activities, as well as new and existing manufacturing activities in Delaware’s Coastal Zone. Certain new activities, such as the bulk transfer of raw materials, are not allowed in the Coastal Zone, which runs the length of the state.

The 2017 Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act amends the Coastal Zone Act to allow the reuse of 14 existing sites of heavy industry use within Delaware’s Coastal Zone. A process is now under way to revise the Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone by October 1, 2019, to reflect that change.

An application for a Coastal Zone Status Decision is necessary if there is question as to whether a proposed activity is considered Heavy Industry, or to determine if the proposed activity is exempt from having to obtain a Coastal Zone Permit. An application for a Coastal Zone Permit is necessary for any new or expanded manufacturing activity that will have an impact on the environment, the economy, the aesthetics or neighboring land uses.

A permitting flow chart tracks the Coastal Zone permitting process. If a project requires other permits from DNREC, the Coastal Zone permit generally takes precedence, although related permit applications may be processed concurrently.

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