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.

Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Open Houses

DNREC held public open houses in New Castle County on February 25, February 26, and February 27 to gather input on preliminary recommendations made by the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act Regulatory Advisory Committee.

Ian Yue
Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy
100 W. Water Street, Suite 5A
Dover, DE 19904

General questions and public comment:

Learn about how you can get involved. Take a look at our fact sheet, which provides an overview of the conversion permit regulatory development process and the ways you can provide your input.

Join our email list. Receive updates and alerts from DNREC’s Coastal Zone Act Program, including the regulatory development process. To sign up, simply send a blank email to You will receive a confirmation email that you have been successfully subscribed to the list.

If you are a community, neighborhood, or civic group, fill out our Community Information Submission Form so DNREC can best reach you for input on conversion permit regulations.

Submit your comments throughout the regulatory development process at Please write “Public Comment” in the subject line.

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

Information on RAC meetings and materials is also available on the Regulatory Advisory Committee webpage.

The new permit process is called for under the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act (CZCPA), 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.

Regulatory Advisory Committee

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin has named a Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC) to provide guidance and feedback to DNREC on development of Coastal Zone regulations. The members have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives related to Delaware’s Coastal Zone. They come from environmental organizations, business and industry, affected communities, technical fields, public health, and other diverse backgrounds.

The Committee is chaired by Justice Randy J. Holland, who retired from the Delaware Supreme Court in 2017 after a career of over 30 years.

The committee was formed with guidance from a final report outlining recommendations for the formation and work plan of a Regulatory Advisory Committee. The report, by the Consensus Building Institute, is based on a series of 31 stakeholder interviews, two public workshops attended by about 80 people, and 42 written public comments.

For more information on Committee members, meetings, and documents, please visit the Regulatory Advisory Committee webpage.

History and Background

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, was 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 the Regulatory Advisory Committee.

The committee will help draft proposed conversion permit regulations. It will also support public outreach and engagement efforts.

Public workshops, held early in the process, helped 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 contracted with the Consensus Building Institute to conduct in-person stakeholder interviews during October and November of 2017. They have developed a framework for a collaborative regulatory development process. They have provided recommendations to DNREC for membership of the Regulatory Advisory Committee.

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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