Coastal Zone Conversion Permits

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will develop regulations to implement a new permit process to allow industrial reuse of 14 existing sites of heavy industry use within Delaware’s Coastal Zone.

Be Part of the Process

Join the Coastal Zone Act email list (just send a blank email) and get regular updates on the Conversion Permits project, related meetings, and Coastal Zone Act activities.

Public Workshops were held on November 29 and 30.

Public Workshop Materials

Draft Process Recommendations Report

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) has compiled a draft recommendations report for DNREC that summarizes stakeholder comments, concerns, and thoughts regarding the creation of the Regulatory Advisory Committee–a stakeholder group that will guide DNREC in making Conversion Permit regulations. The public is invited to submit comments on the draft report through Jan. 19. These comments will be taken into consideration in the production of a final report.

Submit Your Comments

Provide your comments through one of the following channels:

Public Comment Form (Fillable PDF) 

Public Comment Form (PDF)

Online Survey

Kevin Coyle

Principal Environmental Planner
100 W. Water Street, Suite 5A
Dover, DE 19904

Meetings related to development of the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit are posted on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar.

Recent Public Workshops:
Nov. 29, Kingswood Community Center
Nov. 30, Delaware City Fire Hall

A list of stakeholders representing government, civic groups, environmental concerns and business have been invite to take part in a preliminary round of stakeholder interviews.

The new permit process is called for under the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act, which allows for conversion of these sites to additional or alternative heavy industry use. Permits for conversions will require an assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the proposed conversion.

In 1971, the Delaware Coastal Zone Act allowed heavy industry or bulk product transfer facilities on these 14 sites to continue while prohibiting new heavy industry uses in the Coastal Zone. Today, some of these sites are dormant or underutilized, and the prior use has been abandoned.

On August 2, 2017, Governor John Carney signed the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act, amending the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. The new Act authorizes DNREC to issue permits for construction and operation of new heavy industry uses within the 14 existing sites of heavy industry use within the state’s Coastal Zone. It also authorizes DNREC to issue permits for the bulk transfer of products under certain circumstances.

The Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act requires DNREC to develop and promulgate regulations for the issuance of conversion permits by October 1, 2019. These regulations must be approved by the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board, after a public hearing.

The Act also directs DNREC to provide a baseline report summarizing the contamination and remediation status of the 14 heavy industry use sites and to update this report every two years.

Developing Revised Coastal Zone Regulations

A Start Action Notice, signed by DNREC Secretary Garvin on September 28, 2017, is the first step in the regulatory process.

DNREC will develop the revised regulations in a transparent process with full public input and involvement. In order to promote the involvement of stakeholders, including regulated parties, large and small businesses, organized labor, communities, conservation and environmental organizations, regional and local government, and other affected persons, DNREC will work with a Regulatory Advisory Committee.

This committee will help draft proposed conversion permit regulations. It will also support public outreach and engagement efforts. Regulatory Advisory Committee members have not yet been selected.

In addition, public workshops will be held statewide. They will be scheduled early in the process, to ensure that the concerns of stakeholders are addressed from the outset. More public workshops, later in the process, will provide updates and details on the proposed changes.

To begin the process, DNREC has contracted with the Consensus Building Institute. The Institute will conduct in-person stakeholder interviews during October and November of 2017. They will develop a framework for a collaborative regulatory development process. They will also provide recommendations to DNREC for membership of the Regulatory Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of this work, DNREC will extend invitations for participation on the Regulatory Advisory Committee and schedule the first meeting.

All public meetings will be posted on the state’s Public Meeting Calendar and notices will be sent via the Coastal Zone Listserv (Send a blank email to join).

The initial proposed regulations will be submitted to the DNREC Secretary for review, along with a report summarizing the work of the Regulatory Advisory Committee. The Secretary will then publish a final draft of the regulations in the Register of Regulations, along with a date for a public hearing and submission of written comments.

Until the new regulations are formally adopted, Coastal Zone Conversion Permits may be issued following the statutory and existing regulatory framework.

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