Coastal Construction Permits

The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship manages permits and approvals under the regulatory programs that govern coastal construction in Delaware.

Permits and letters of approval are managed under the Delaware Beach Preservation Act (7 Del.C. Chapter 68) to enhance, preserve and protect public and private beaches and to ensure their use as protective and recreational lands.

Coastal construction permits require an application and an application fee. There is a required public process which includes public notice in statewide newspapers and on the DNREC website, notification to adjacent landowners and a 15-day public comment period.

Letters of approval require an application, but there is no fee and no public process.

DNREC has developed a Four-Step Process to help planners and builders reduce encroachments when constructing seaward of the DNREC Building Line. (Four-Step Process Worksheet)

Permits and letters of approval can be applied for using the Digital DNREC ePermitting system which offers online applications for licenses and permits throughout the department. It allows users to manage their own portfolio of licenses and permits.

Coastal Construction

Coastal construction permits are required for construction activities seaward of the DNREC Building Line. This includes activities such as new construction, exterior renovations, excavation, hauling in or removing sand, temporary structures, septic systems and installing pipes or cables.

Coastal construction letters of approval are for construction activities landward of the DNREC Building Line, construction of cantilevered decks, dune crossovers and temporary structures.

Letter of Approval Examples
Side Elevation
Lot and Topographic Survey

Dune Crossovers, Restoration, Sand Fill and Temporary Structures

Dune Restoration Permits provide for scraping sand from the beach to rebuild the dune.

Sand/Fill Placement Permits provide for bringing in sand or fill to rebuild dunes or to fill low areas.

Pedestrian Dune Crossover Letters of Approval provide for construction of pedestrian dune crossovers in the defined beach area. (Example Crossover)

Temporary Structure Letters of Approval provide for construction of structures that are to be located on the beach seasonally.