PART 2: Administrative Principles

2.01 Purpose, Application of Current and Earlier Regulations
The primary purpose of these Regulations is to enhance, protect, and preserve public and private beaches of the State through a permit and letter of approval process. These current Regulations shall not apply to any project for which a valid letter of approval, permit, or extension of the same has been issued by the Division prior to the effective date of these Regulations. However, those provisions of the Department's regulations that governed beach protection and the use of beaches that were in effect prior to the effective date of these current Regulations shall apply to the projects, permits and letters of approval that were authorized or issued before the effective date of these Regulations.

2.02 Approval Requirement
No person shall commence or conduct construction for which approval is required under these Regulations (see PART 4) unless and until a letter of approval or the proper permit has been issued.

2.03 Department Exemption
The Department shall be subject to all the rules and requirements of these Regulations, except that in the performance of its erosion control duties pursuant to the authority granted by the Beach Preservation Act of 1972 (Title 7, Delaware Code, Chapter 68), the Department shall be exempt from the permit requirements of these Regulations. The Department shall, however, still be subject to any substantive standards and guidelines generally applicable to the construction and placement of shore protection structures and facilities.

2.04 Extensions for Letter of Approval or Permit

  1. These Regulations shall not apply to any project for which a valid letter of approval, permit, or extension of same has been issued by the Division, prior to the effective date of these Regulations. After the effective date of these Regulations no extension shall be granted for a letter of approval or permit issued prior to the effective date of these Regulations. Any letter of approval or permit which was issued without specific time limits has become null and void if construction has not been initiated within one year or completed within two years from August 13, 1981.

  2. An extension to the time limits of a permit or letter of approval that was issued after the effective date of these Regulations may be granted by the Division. Before any such extension may be granted, the person who was issued the letter of approval or permit shall submit a written request for the extension. The written request must be received by the Division at least fifteen (15) days prior to the expiration date of the letter of approval or permit and shall contain a detailed explanation of why the extension is necessary, and the date when the project will be completed. In determining whether such an extension will be granted the Division may consider the following: (1) whether reasonable progress is being made toward completion of the project; and (2) any changes that may have occurred in state, federal and local laws, regulations, rules, requirements or administrative policy, which are contrary to aspects of the project that had been originally approved by the Division. In lieu of an extension of the time limits in a letter of approval or permit, the Division may require a person to reapply for a letter of approval or a permit if the Division determines that the facts and circumstances relating to a previously approval project require a re-evaluation by the Division.

2.05 Construction Setback Lines - Prior Approvals
At those locations where dune reconstruction has been approved by permit prior to the effective date of these Regulations and a construction setback line mutually agreed upon in writing between an owner/developer and the Division to be the landward toe of the reconstructed dune, that agreed upon line shall prevail over the current Building Line for the purposes of initial construction of a structure upon each affected parcel. Any subsequent additions to, or replacements of, the initially approved structure shall be subject to the Building Line as established pursuant to these Regulations and the appropriate sections thereof. Regardless of the developmental status of the parcels affected by this Section, all construction activities shall be subject to the Building Line upon its future re-establishment pursuant to Section 2.13 of these Regulations.

2.06 Maintenance, Repairs, and Emergency Action

  1. Except as otherwise provided in Section 2.06 (b) and (c), any Person intending to commence any maintenance or repair work on any structure located in part or entirely seaward of the Building Line, shall apply in writing to the Division for a letter of approval or a permit. No person shall commence such maintenance or repair work until after being issued a letter of approval or a permit by the Division. (See also the provisions of PART 3 - Prohibited Activities and PART 4 - Activities Requiring a Permit or Letter of Approval from the Division).

  2. The provisions of Section 2.06 (a) shall not apply where maintenance or repair work on a structure located in part or entirely seaward of the Building Line is undertaken pursuant to the following limitations or causes:

    1. Where a building is involved, and the location of the finished maintenance or repair work is at or above the lowest living floor.

    2. The maintenance or repair work is to a structure, and is necessary because of damage being caused to the structure by some means other than wave action, a flood or erosion.
  3. In the event of an extreme emergency, or warning thereof, which may involve grave and imminent danger of substantial property loss and/or personal injuries (e.g., an impending coastal storm), a person may perform work on a structure that is related to the protection of persons and said structure. However, before a person can commence any such emergency protection work, the person owning the structure on which such work shall be performed, or any agent thereof, shall contact the Division to request approval to perform the emergency protection work. The Division's approval or disapproval may be given to the owner, or agent thereof, either orally or in writing. After the emergency, or emergency warning period, the Division may require the removal of any emergency protection work performed pursuant to the provisions of this Section.

2.07 Restoration or Reconstruction After Destruction
If a structure located seaward of the Building Line is completely destroyed, no person shall undertake any restoration or reconstruction of the destroyed structure before the Division issues the person a permit or letter of approval pursuant to the procedures set forth in PART 4 of these Regulations.

2.08 Siting Requirements for Construction and Reconstruction of Structures
If a structure is to be either constructed or reconstructed following the complete destruction of the original structure, and such a structure does not have to be located seaward of the Building Line in order to achieve its intended purpose pursuant to Section 3.01 (a)(4) of these Regulations, then such a structure shall be required to be located entirely landward of the Building Line. However, if the Division determines that there is inadequate space available entirely landward of the Building Line for the construction or reconstruction of a completely destroyed structure, said constructed or reconstructed structure shall be physically located as far landward as possible on the parcel of real property in question, taking into consideration all Federal, State and local laws, rules, regulations, and zoning and building ordinances.

2.09 Other Requirements and Approvals
A person who is issued a permit or letter of approval by the Division pursuant to these Regulations is not exempted from obtaining any other permit or approval required by Federal, State or local laws, rules, regulations, and building and zoning ordinances.

2.10 General Permit Considerations
The Division, in considering applications, shall take into account the geology, geomorphology, meteorology and hydraulics of the area.

2.11 Sole Jurisdiction
All structures, devices and facilities for the enhancement, preservation or protection of beaches shall be under the sole jurisdiction of the Department. None of these shall be changed in any way except as provided in these Regulations.

2.12 Building Line Format
The Building Line shall be shown on topographic maps at a scale of one (1) inch equals fifty (50) feet for all shoreline areas of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean Coast from, and including, Pickering Beach to the Delaware-Maryland line at Fenwick Island, where privately owned structures, either existing or potential, may be affected by the establishment of the Building Line. The Building Line shall be shown as a series of straight lines connected together at points whose locations are identified by reference to the Delaware State Plane Coordinate System. No point shall be located more than 500 feet from an adjoining point.

2.13 Building Line Re-established
When, in the opinion of the Secretary, storms or other natural phenomena cause a substantial permanent change in the seaward contour used to establish the Building Line, the Division may, following public hearing, re-establish the Building Line from information provided by topographic survey.

2.14 Re-establishment Effects on Lot Status
Re-establishment of the Building Line may place parcels of land, lawfully subdivided after the effective date of these Regulations, in a position of having insufficient space to construct a structure landward of the newly established Building Line. These parcels shall be subject to the appropriate permit requirements of PART 4.

2.15 Savings Clause
If any provision of these Regulations, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of these Regulations, and the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those to which it shall have been held invalid, shall not be affected.

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