Part of the due diligence for those involved in commercial or residential real estate development in Delaware can sometimes involve waiting to complete an application for a land use plan. The state of Delaware may require an applicant to arrange a pre-application review with local authorities prior to, or in conjunction with, submission of an application for rezoning or other plans to change land use.
Delaware requires a pre-application review if a proposed residential development will have roads within it and will have more than fifty units. The review is required for commercial developments that will have more than 50,000 square feet of floor space. Projects in areas deemed environmentally sensitive are subject to the pre-application review, as well as projects that are not consistent with a local jurisdiction’s comprehensive land use plan. Counties and municipalities themselves must initiate such a review for additions or changes to their zoning ordinances or comprehensive land use plans.
The pre-application review may be waived under special circumstances. A project that is likely to produce a significant number of jobs may be waived from the process. Projects can receive a waiver if they are likely to enhance educational opportunities, protect or improve the environment, or otherwise further the public good. Projects in localities that have more stringent requirements than the state of Delaware may not need to undergo the pre-application review.
Any property owner or developer undertaking due diligence on a project may wish to speak with a real estate attorney who can discuss zoning law, rezoning and many other aspects of commercial real estate. The attorney can help the client prepare for the pre-application review process.
Source: State of Delaward, “TITLE 29“, November 12, 2014