Town of South Bethany, DE
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of South Bethany 5-14-1994 by Ord. No. 42-94. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is authorized by § C-4B of the Town Charter.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
It was declared that substantial erosion of the banks of the waterways within the corporate limits of the Town of South Bethany has resulted in significant shoaling and unless the erosion was abated, public and private property, as well as the waterways, would have sustained considerable damage; that the inevitable and continual shoaling of the waterways would have prevented proper tidal flushing and contributed to the pollution of the waterways and impeded navigation of boats to the adjoining inland waterways and bays. Therefore, it is declared to be the public policy of the Town to protect and preserve the waterways and public and private property abutting the waterways and within the Town by bulkheads and/or alternative material and maintaining all property abutting the canals.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BULKHEAD
Walls specifically designed to hold property banks adjacent to the Town waterways.
MODULAR FLOATING DOCKING SYSTEMS (MFDS)
Platforms used as floating boat ramps, floating docks and inflatable lifting docks.
[Added 10-14-2016 by Ord. No. 182-16]
RIPRAP
Rocks specifically designed to hold property banks.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
Bulkheads or alternate material is required on all real property abutting the waterways.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
The bulkheads required by this chapter shall meet the minimum specifications as contained herein. All bulkheads shall be maintained in good repair.
A. 
Specifications relative to these structures are to require that such structures:
(1) 
Are structurally sound, safe, durable and joined with adjacent structures.
(2) 
Have minimum impact on environment, ecology, recreational activities, pollution and erosion.
(3) 
Exhibit a professional quality in design and appearance.
(4) 
Retain stability in the tidal waters.
(5) 
Use approved material hereinafter specified.
(6) 
Use filter cloth on all bulkhead construction, to be installed between the landside and the bulkhead material. Cloth shall be of a specific grade for this use.
B. 
Materials.
(1) 
Wood.
(a) 
All wood material shall be specifically treated for use in a marine environment. Wood materials will be of the following minimum dimensions:
[1] 
Pilings: six inches by six inches square or eight inches round by 10 feet or 12 feet.
[2] 
Walers: three inches by eight inches by 10 feet or longer.
[3] 
Sheathing (two alternating courses): one inch by eight inches by eight feet or 10 feet.
[4] 
Deadmen: six inches by six inches by six feet.
(b) 
Deadmen will support every piling. Alternate material (cement) may be used as deadmen.
(2) 
Metal materials. The rods will be galvanized and be a minimum five-eighths-inch diameter.
(3) 
Synthetic material, such as vinyl composites specifically designed for use in a coastal environment, may be used.
C. 
Returns. A return must be installed when there is no adjacent bulkhead.
D. 
Bulkhead alignment. Bulkheads shall be constructed so that they connect and align with existing adjacent bulkheads and/or riprap, where practical.
E. 
Backfilling. All fill material will be clean, containing little or no organic matter, and be obtained from upland non-wetland sources. Fill material will be placed and stabilized to prevent runoff and soil erosion. On completion of earthwork operations, it will be the responsibility of the property owner to seed or give some other type of protection to prevent soil erosion into the waterways.
F. 
Workmanship. Installation and replacement of bulkheads and associated structures shall be performed by licensed contractors regularly involved in this type of work or homeowners, provided DNREC, county and local permits are obtained. The bulkheads shall conform to the property boundaries as surveyed. Where practical, bulkheads under construction will be aligned with adjacent bulkheads or the shoreline prior to placement of any fill. Material excavated on shore and all earthwork operation on shore will be performed in such a way as to minimize sediment runoff and soil erosion to the waterway. The owner/builder is responsible for the consequences of and will employ measures to prevent spills of fuels, lubricants and other toxic materials in and around the construction. The owner/builder will make provision against leaking or breaking out of the bulkhead.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The illustration of bulkhead specifications, which immediately followed this subsection, is available for inspection at the Town office.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
The ramp surface shall be stabilized to prevent erosion of soil into the waterway by the following requirements:
A. 
Materials:
(1) 
Approved wood specifically treated for use in a marine environment.
(2) 
Minimum of four inches of concrete over a compacted subbase.
(3) 
Concrete block laid on end with opening filled with gravel or blue stone.
(4) 
Patio blocks on six-inch-thick stabilized base of coarse sand and gravel (or blue stone), or combination thereof.
(5) 
Two-inch marine environment decking secured to four-inch-by-four-inch marine environment stringers spaced on two-foot centers; spaces between stringers are to be filled with gravel, blue stone, coarse sand, or a combination thereof.
(6) 
Filter cloth is required on the landside of the ramp-side bulkheads.
B. 
Ramp bulkhead. To prevent undermining, the lower end of the ramp is to be toe walled, following, in general, the underwater portion of the bulkhead specifications. The top of the bulkhead should be at or below the mean low-water line.
C. 
Workmanship. Installation and replacement of ramps and associated structures shall be performed by licensed contractors regularly involved in this type of work or homeowners, provided DNREC, county and local permits are obtained.
D. 
Ramp dimensions. The fifteen-foot maximum ramp width shall be considered optimum for normal requirements and use in this area. All ramps shall be maintained in good repair. The minimum distance from the edge of the ramp to the property line shall be in accordance with DNREC requirements.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The illustration of ramp specifications, which immediately followed this subsection, is available for inspection at the Town office.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
The following general specifications are applicable to docks. All docks shall be maintained in good repair.
A. 
Materials/Size for fixed and floating docks: approved marine environment wood or synthetic material designed for marine use; the maximum dock size shall be four feet by 22 feet with the long dimension parallel to the property line. (Bolts and all other fastening materials will be galvanized.)
(1) 
Pilings (round or square): four inches by six inches by 12 feet or 16 feet.
(2) 
Stringers: two inches by eight inches (length as required).
(3) 
Decking: wood suitable for marine environment two inches thick or a synthetic material designed for outdoor use.
B. 
Workmanship. Installation and replacement of docks and associated structures shall be performed by licensed contractors regularly involved in this type of work or homeowners, provided DNREC, county and local permits are obtained. Construction of docks shall be authorized only in areas of existing bulkheads and must be attached to the bulkhead. Under no circumstances shall a dock extend more than four feet into the waterways. The dock must be placed no closer than 10 feet to the side property line. The owner/builder of the applicable property shall be responsible for consequences of and will employ measures to prevent spills of fuel, lubricants and other toxic materials in and around the construction site.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The illustration of ramp specifications, which immediately followed this subsection, is available for inspection at the Town office.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
A. 
The maximum face width of the steps assembly as measured along an existing bulkhead is five feet to tie in with two adjacent bulkhead pilings. The maximum that the assembly may extend from the bulkhead into the waterway is four feet, but not more than the dock itself. Steps must be from a dock and shall run from the end of the dock and parallel to the bulkhead. All steps shall be maintained in good repair.
B. 
Materials: approved marine environment wood or synthetic material designed for marine use, and galvanized fastenings.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The illustration for a handrail, if used, and required materials, which immediately followed this subsection, is available for inspection at the Town office.
[Added 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02; amended 3-11-2005 by Ord. No. 131-04; 10-14-2016 by Ord. No. 182-16]
A. 
Davits (of a type to lift canoes, kayaks, or jet skis) are permitted. They are to be placed no closer than 10 feet to either side property line and shall be in accordance with zoning § 145-38G.
B. 
Boat lifts are permitted. They must be manufactured specifically for the intended purpose. The long dimension of the boat lift shall be parallel to the bulkhead, no longer than 22 feet, placed no closer than 10 feet to either side property line. If the lot is bordered on two sides by a canal, the boat lift must be placed no closer than 25 feet from the intersection of the two canals. The frame of boat lifts, including support pilings, shall not protrude into the canal more than 20% of the canal width, not to exceed 13 feet for canals wider than 60 feet, and shall be in accordance with zoning § 145-38H and the specifications which are available for inspection at the Town Office.
C. 
Small lifts for jet skis (PWCs) are permitted and may be in addition to docks or boat lifts. They may be placed no closer than 10 feet to either side property line, and may not protrude into the canal more than 20% of the canal width, not to exceed 13 feet for canals wider than 60 feet. If a lot is bordered on two sides by a canal, the lift must be placed no closer than 25 feet from the intersection of the two canals. All lifts shall be in accordance with § 145-38H.
[Amended 3-11-2005 by Ord. No. 131-04]
D. 
Modular floating docking systems (MFDS) are permitted, subject to the following:
(1) 
The MFDS shall be affixed to its supporting bulkhead by an attachment system of commercial grade intended to provide full vertical tidal range rise and fall.
(2) 
The MFDS shall be placed no closer than 10 feet to either side property line, and may not protrude into the canal more than 20% of the canal width, not to exceed 13 feet for canals wider than 60 feet.
(3) 
The MFDS shall be clearly marked with reflectors at its external corners.
(4) 
All MFDS shall be commercially manufactured products that have warranties from the manufacturers.
(5) 
If not removed each season, MFDS shall be capable of multiseason use.
(6) 
The MFDS shall be designed with rollers, cut outs, molded ramps, or other design elements that are intended to allow docking without using the boat's propulsion.
E. 
Application for a building permit shall include a plan showing:
(1) 
The location of the device on the property plot with annotated setbacks and canal intrusions shown.
(2) 
Manufacturer's data sheets for the proposed lifts, MFDS, davits, etc., shall include lifting capacity, external dimensions, canal intrusion, and piling and/or lift structure heights when craft are in the lifted condition.
(3) 
The manufacturer's proposed mooring system for MFDS.
F. 
All davits, lifts, and MFDS shall be maintained in good repair or removed.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02; 3-11-2005 by Ord. No. 131-04; 10-14-2016 by Ord. No. 182-16]
The Town shall conduct an annual inspection of all bulkheads, ramps, docks, boat lifts, davits, personal watercraft lifts, MFDS and stairs to determine if any are in need of repair or are not compliant as described hereinafter. Whenever the Code Enforcement Constable determines that there exists a violation of any of the sections of this chapter, he/she shall provide written notice thereof to the owner, setting out the conditions constituting the violation, with reference to the governing Code section; a reasonable time limit, not exceeding 180 days, for the owner to correct the violation; and that the owner may file a written notice of appeal of the Code Enforcement Constable's determination to the Town Manager within 30 days of the date of the notice of violation. The Town Manager has 10 days to respond to the owner. If the Town Manager supports the decision of the Code Constable, he/she will advise the owner he or she has 10 days to request a hearing with an appeal board that will be appointed by Mayor and approved by Council. The written notice of appeal shall be accompanied with the fee as specified in § 116-4, Fees. Such notice of violation shall be served upon the owner by personal delivery to the owner or to an adult person residing at the owner's address, or by depositing such notice into the United States Mail, with proper postage affixed, addressed to the owner at the owner's mailing address as shown on the Town's records, or in the event that delivery in person or by regular mail is not possible, by posting such notice in a conspicuous place on the premises. Delivery of notice shall be deemed complete upon personal delivery, if so delivered; upon depositing the notice in the United States Mail, if mailed; and upon posting the property, if posted.
[Added 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02; amended 10-14-2016 by Ord. No. 182-16]
If an appeal is requested, the intent is to commence the appeal within 30 days if possible, but may be up to 60 days after the request is received. The Hearing Board shall consist of three members of Council appointed by the Mayor and approved by Council. If, after a hearing, the Hearing Board finds that no violation exists, the Code Enforcement Constable shall withdraw the notice. If the Hearing Board finds that a violation does exist, the property owner shall correct the violation within six months from the date of the hearing decision and not repeat the same violation again at a later date. The proceedings of the appeal, including the findings and decision of the Hearing Board, may be recorded, but shall be summarized, reduced to writing, and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Code Enforcement Constable. Failure to comply with the decision of the Hearing Board may result in penalties stated in § 50-11.
[Amended 10-11-2002 by Ord. No. 108-02]
It shall be unlawful to proceed under the terms of this chapter until a building permit for such work has been issued. The Town Council may approve a form application for this purpose and set fees for the administration of this chapter. Prior to issuance of a Town permit, the petitioner shall present copies of valid DNREC and Sussex County building permits for the work.
Any person violating the provisions of this chapter or the attached specifications[1] shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $250, plus court costs and attorney fees. Each day following the expiration of the day period for installation, maintenance, repair, removal or replacement shall constitute a separate violation.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said specifications are available for inspection at the Town office.