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Any construction, alternations, removal, hardscaping, or demolition in the City of Lewes requires a building permit from the City. This includes pretty much everything except for painting. Please call 302-645-7777 ext. 124 if you have questions regarding permitting requirements.
Applications for new construction or renovations, alterations, or demolitions may be obtained at Lewes City Hall, 114 E. Third Street, or from our website. Applications are reviewed to ensure compliance with the City’s Code. If your property is located within the Historic District, you may need to make an application to the Historic Preservation Architectural Review Commission. Please contact Building Department at (302) 645-7777 x124 should you have any questions.
New Construction & Additions
1.5% of the construction cost or ICC rate whichever is higher
All other Permits
1.5% of the construction cost
Call Chelsea Moore at 302-645-7777 ext. 124 to schedule all inspections. Please contact Chelsea 48 hours prior to the needed inspection.
The city adopted fire suppression to be required for all new residential construction on Oct. 11, 2021.
Fire suppression plans shall be submitted and approved prior to the scheduling of a framing inspection.
If the property is located within the floodplain an elevation certificate will be required along with sealed plans.
A copy of the approved plans shall remain on the job site and be available during inspections.
The city adopted an ordinance in 2014 requiring construction documents to be sealed by a licensed design professional for properties in the floodplain.
A survey, complete construction drawings, and contract with the property owner shall be submitted along with the Building Permit application.
Yes. (2012 IRC 105.1)
Yes, beginning July 1, 2022, a separate HVAC permit shall be submitted along with the Building Permit application if the HVAC information is not included as part of the overall Building Permit for the house. (2012 IRC 105.1)
Cut sheets showing specifications of the equipment to be installed.
HVAC plans/information shall be submitted and approved prior to the scheduling of a framing inspection.
Monday through Friday 7 am to 7 pm May 1 to September 30.
Saturday 9 am to 5 pm October 1 to April 30.
No construction on Sundays or holidays. Chapter 132-5A
It takes 1 -2 weeks depending on the number of permits that have been submitted for review.
Permits are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
A review letter is now being prepared as part of the plan review to address any concerns with the plans. The letter will be sent to the contractor, property owner, and design professional via email and/or regular mail.
20 ft.; 12 ft. within the TC, R-4, and R-4(H) Zoning District for single-family dwellings. This includes curb cuts on private streets. Ch. 197-61C(5).
Yes, a Building Permit and a Street Break Permit are required for work on a driveway.
The city is using the 2012 IRC.
Yes, all contractors and subcontractors are required to obtain a City of Lewes Business License. Chapter 128-4 of the City Code.
Household Garbage is offered to City of Lewes residents as follows:
Recycling is picked up by the City of Lewes weekly.
Bulk Trash Collection is available on the fourth Wednesday of each summer month (June through September) and the fourth Wednesday of every other month (November through May) at a charge of $50.00 per pick up. Pick-up can be scheduled by calling the City Manager's Office.
Items not collected include:
The City is changing the price of the 64-gallon trash cart from $48 to $70 per cart effective immediately. The 96-gallon trash and recycling cart originally priced at $70 has been increased to $80. In our efforts to replenish our trash and recycle cart inventories, city expenses relating to the purchase price and shipping costs have increased significantly therefore necessitating these fee changes. In the past the City of Lewes received a grant from the State of Delaware for recycle carts and passed on this savings to our property owners by offering free recycle carts. This grant funding is no longer available to the city. Sometimes the Maintenance Department staff can fix minor repairs to carts such as a damaged lid, malfunctioning wheel, or broken handle. When your trash or recycle carts are damaged beyond these repairs new carts must be purchased by the property owner. If you have questions or if you need a new cart, please contact City Hall at 302-645-7777.
For additional information on all City Services, please go to the 'Services' tab at the top of the main page.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m, year round, Monday through Friday, except Holidays.
A business license is required to rent property in Lewes. The license year is January 1st through December 31st with a fee of $200 per rental unit. Applications may be obtained at the Lewes City Hall or on the city's website under the Forms and Applications page. Call 302-645-7777 for additional information. Property owners who rent out are also required to pay a gross rental receipt tax. See "When are my taxes due?". More information can be found in the Rentals tab.
The current property tax rate is 57 cents per $100.00 of half the assessed value, which is 50% of the assessed value.
Taxes are billed annually on April 1. Tax bills are due upon receipt and become delinquent after June 30. A penalty of 1.5% is charged monthly on delinquent balances. Any property improvements done throughout the year may be billed on a Quarterly Supplemental Tax Billing.
As of April 1, 2009, GRRT will be 5% tax of the rent for occupancy of all private and public lodging facility and housing accommodations, other than those subject to the State of Delaware Lodging Tax. The tax on rent is for the period January 1 through December 31 of each year. Taxes are payable on or before February 1 of each year. A penalty of 1.5% is charged monthly until the tax is paid in full.
Any construction, alternations, removal, hardscaping, or demolition in the City of Lewes requires a building permit from the City. This includes pretty much everything except painting. Please call 302-645-7777 if you have questions regarding permitting requirements.
Applications for new construction or renovations, alterations, or demolitions may be obtained at Lewes City Hall, 114 E. Third Street, or from our website. Applications are reviewed to ensure compliance with the City’s Code. If your property is located within the Historic District, you may need to make an application to the Historic Preservation Architectural Review Commission. Please contact John Robitaille at (302) 645-7777 x120 should you have any questions.
Any person, firm or corporation engaged for profit within the City limits shall pay an annual (January 1 through December 31) license fee to the City. Application may be obtained under the Forms and Applications page, or in person at:Lewes City Hall114 E 3rd StreetLewes, DE 19958
Residential property rentals $200 per year, per unit.
Licenses for contractors vary according to the number of employees in the company:
Parking is permitted on public streets unless otherwise posted as "No Parking".
Municipal parking lots are also available at the following locations:
Metered parking locations are:
The meter fee at Savannah Beach and Johnnie Walker Beach is $2.50 per hour while all other locations are $1.50 per hour. Everyone must pay, including vehicles with handicapped plates and placards. Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover) are accepted at
Another way of paying the meter is through a Parkmobile account or Parkmobile app which is downloadable on any smartphone. There is a 2-hour minimum charge when a credit card or Parkmobile account is used. Coin change machines are available at Savannah Beach, Johnnie Walker Beach, and Mary Vessels Park.
Meters are in effect from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day beginning May 1st through October 14th, except the meters at Savannah Beach1 and Johnnie Walker Beach which are in operation from May 1st through September 30th.
Free parking is available at the corner of Schley and Franklin Avenue, in addition to Otis Smith Park on Savannah Road.
Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year, 7 days a week, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
It is unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit it to run at large within the City limits. It is unlawful not to have a bag or device for removal of any excrement that the animal shall drop.
No dogs are allowed on any beach between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. any day between May 1st and September 30th.
The City of Lewes operates two docking facilities; the Canalfront Park Marina and the Otis Smith City Dock, both located along Front Street on the southern bank of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. Additional information about the Canalfront Park Marina and the City Dock may be obtained by calling the Dockmaster at 302-644-1869 or by reviewing the City's Operations and Maintenance Plan.
The Canalfront Park Marina is open between April 1 and November 30 and has 19 boat slips to accommodate seasonal and transient boaters. Thirteen of the slips are reserved for seasonal use by Lewes residents. Seven of the slips (three large and three small) are available for transient boaters. The large slips can accommodate a boat up to 55 feet in length and 16 feet beam. The small slips can hold a boat up to 25 feet in length and 12 feet beam. The existing water depth within the marina basin is generally 6 feet (plus or minus) mean low water based on 2009 dredging.
Effective April 1, 2017, the fee for seasonal leaseholders for large slips is $3,900 per slip and for small slips is $3,000.
The City Dock is a 200 foot long dock on Front Street, near the Canalfront Park Marina. It has an existing water depth of 10 feet (plus or minus) mean low water. The City Dock is sectioned into four 50 foot long boat slips that can accommodate small and larger vessels. Boat slips may be reserved in advance for seven consecutive days, longer depending on availability.
Effective April 2, 2012, the rental fees for transient boat slips at the Canalfront Park Marina and the City Dock are based on the following schedule:
Between October 1 and November 30, transient slips that are not reserved are available for monthly reservations at $475 per month.
Persons under twelve years of age may use or employ roller skates, inline skates, skateboards or similar devices on any sidewalk within the City of Lewes. No person twelve years of age or older shall use roller skates, inline skates, skateboards or similar devices on any sidewalk within the City of Lewes, except the sidewalk on the east side of the Savannah Road drawbridge.
On any sidewalk where persons are using or employing roller skates, inline skates, skateboards or similar devices, such persons shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
No person shall use roller skates, inline skates, skateboards or similar devices within the areas of any City Parks, except Blockhouse Pond Park.
Commercial airports within two hours driving distance of Lewes include:
The ordinance was adopted by the Mayor and City Council during their meeting on October 10, 2022.
The ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
The Residential Rental License Application can be found on the city’s website under “How Do I Apply For”. Complete and submit the application form to the City of Lewes attention Licensing, P.O. Box 227, Lewes, DE 19958. For questions, please contact 302-645-7777 ext. 124.
This ordinance shall not impair any rental contract in effect prior to January 1, 2023.
The City of Lewes has experienced increases in tourism, changes in the rental industry, growth of unlicensed rentals, and difficulties in enforcing past regulations.
The Mayor and City Council appointed a 5-member Short Term Rental Ad Hoc Committee in March of 2022. Over several months of work that included eight public meetings, this group analyzed all aspects of renting in Lewes. The Committee concluded its work by recommending policy changes to the City’s regulations. On October 3, 2022, Mayor and City Council held a public hearing to obtain public comments. Councilmembers studied the issues in detail, made changes, and adopted the Ordinances on October 10, 2022. The new ordinances can be found by going to https://www.ci.lewes.de.us/352/Short-TermRentals
These regulations provide clarification between short-term and long-term rentals. They also provide additional eligibility, licensing, safety, and owner compliance requirements to protect the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
These new ordinances were developed under a collaborative process involving multiple public input opportunities and representatives of all areas of the city. There are now more stringent licensing, safety, and owner compliance requirements. A variety of new enforcement tools are available to the city under the new ordinances.
The regulations have been carefully crafted to allow the City multiple avenues of enforcement for renters. They broaden what qualifies as a violation and allow for effectively targeted enforcement via specific categories. In addition, the City will continue to engage a company to identify properties within the city that are rented via web-based platforms to facilitate better rental licensing enforcement.
Currently, operating rentals will be allowed to continue if they meet the criteria in the new ordinance.
Please contact the Planning & Building Department at 302-645-7777 ext. 124 to report a suspected unlicensed rental.
Under the new regulation, a short-term rental (STR) is defined as all or any portion thereof of a residential dwelling unit that is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes to one party with a duration of occupancy of thirty (30) consecutive days or less. Hotels, motels, and other land uses explicitly defined and regulated in this ordinance separately from short-term rentals are not considered to be short-term rentals.
Yes, if you are renting the property with a duration of occupancy of thirty (30) consecutive days or less.
Short-term rentals are licensed in all areas of the City of Lewes.
No. Short-term rentals shall not be operated outdoors, in a recreational vehicle, or in any nonresidential structure.
The owner of any long-term or short-term rental shall obtain the appropriate rental license from the City of Lewes prior to renting the property.
License Fee per rental unit:
*Note: For violations not paid within 30 days of issuance, the fine amount will be doubled.
By obtaining a license the property owner agrees to allow the Planning and Building Department the right to inspect a rental to confirm attestations of all application information and license requirements. Inspections shall be performed at an agreed upon time with no less than 48 hours prior notice, except in the case of an immediate threat to public safety. Nonresponse to or refusal of an inspection shall be grounds for the suspension of a short-term rental license.
By no later than February 1st, submit a completed rental license application along with the annual license fee and remit the Gross Rental Receipts Tax (GRRT) for the previous year payment to the City of Lewes.
A newly issued license is valid for one calendar year and is not automatically renewed. License renewals will be in a substantially similar form and manner as the initial license. A new attestation of all information will be required as well as proof of payment of all applicable taxes for the previous year.
"Maximum occupancy" means the maximum number of allowable occupants and the overnight guests of those occupants for a short-term rental, as established in Section §150-5 of the ordinance. The “Occupancy Limit” is based upon the number of bedrooms in the dwelling. The overnight occupancy of a residential rental shall not exceed the sum of two persons per bedroom plus an additional two persons. Children aged 12 and younger shall not be counted towards the overall number of occupants. A “Bedroom” is defined as a room or space designed to be used for sleeping purposes with two means of egress (one of which may be a window that meets egress requirements.) Spaces used for eating or cooking, bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility rooms and similar uses are not considered Bedrooms.
An owner does not have to be present for the duration of their guests’ stay. However, a “local contact” must be available. Local contact means the individual designated by the license holder to perform obligations under this ordinance and to serve as the contact person for issues relating to a short-term rental. The designated contact must be available twenty-four (24) hours a day to accept telephone calls and respond physically to the short-term rental within a reasonable time period, not to exceed two (2) hours when the short-term rental is rented and occupied.
The sum of six notices of license and operational violations during the term of the rental license or any revocation of a license shall be grounds for denial of a license issuance or renewal for twelve (12) months from the date of revocation.
Any person having a complaint regarding any alleged violation or violations for a rental shall call the Planning and Building Department at 302-645-7777 ext. 124 at City Hall Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays. For weekends, holidays, and outside office hours, any person having a complaint should contact the Police Department 302-645-6264. If the complainant feels the property owner or the authorized agent failed to satisfactorily resolve a complaint, the complainant shall notify the City Manager in writing. The City Manager will investigate the complaint, and if deemed accurate, will authorize the Planning and Building Department to issue a notice of violation to the property owner or the authorized agent. Appeals may be filed according to Article IV in the ordinance.
Additional documents related to renting are available on the City of Lewes’s website. Further questions should be directed to: Planning and Building Department 302-645-7777 ext. 124 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org