Unified Development Code (UDC) Update Project

Architecture plans wide1

What is it?

New Castle County, Delaware adopted its Unified Development Code (UDC) in December 1997. The purpose of the UDC is to establish standards, procedures, and minimum requirements, consistent with the Comprehensive Development Plan, which regulate and control the planning and subdivision of lands; the use, bulk, design, and location of land and buildings; the creation and administration of zoning districts; and the general development of real estate in the unincorporated areas of New Castle County, Delaware. Since 1998, the UDC has had 112 Amendments and increased the number of code pages from 374 to 515.

In 2014, initiated outreach and engagement activities with interested citizens, groups, and stakeholders resulted in several discussion points which was utilized in proposing the UDC update project. It became apparent that the New Castle County UDC would need to be assessed and modified in order to address many of the common themes in the discussion results (i.e.  Clear visions and expectations; high quality and well design projects; good jobs and thriving business; etc…) heard during the engagement activities with interested citizens, groups, and stakeholders. The first part of the UDC effort was initiated in March 2015 and consisted of several public workshops and focus group meetings that culminated in three text amendments: Guiding Principles; Economic Empowerment Districts (EED); and Neighborhood Preservation Overlay District (NPOD). On January 23, 2017, County Executive Matthew Meyer signed these three ordinances into law.

Most recently, Land Use General Manager (Richard E. Hall, AICP) took steps to complete the second part of the UDC Update. This second part addressed “Process” and “Site Design” concerns which have been discussed since September 2016. Similar to the first part, there were public workshops and several focus group meetings to discuss potential text amendment changes related to Process and Site Design in various sections within the UDC. Documents pertaining to Part 2 may be found in the list below. 

What's the latest?

Two ordinances were adopted by County Council and signed into law by County Executive Meyer on July 16, 2018.  Ordinance 18-020 is a text amendment designed to enhance and improve the land development plan review process and Ordinance 18-021 is a text amendment to enhance and improve overall site design for applications submitted to the Department of Land Use. 

Ordinance 19-005 was introduced by County Council on January 22, 2019.  The Ordinance primarily focuses upon Transportation Improvement Districts.  A fact sheet detailing the ordinance can be reviewed by clicking here. 

Please keep monitoring the Department of Land Use website for any future meeting and event dates, times and locations.


UDC Public Workshop regarding Process & Site Design standards held June 28, 2017 

Over the past year, the Department of Land Use has been working on potential revisions to the Unified Development Code (UDC) in order to improve its readability, organization, and usability for the public and applicants for various development proposals. In an effort to solicit additional public input, the Department hosted a workshop to discuss proposed code language changes. Please see below for the presentation and information from this event.

5th UDC Public Workshop regarding Process & Site Design standards held June 28, 2017
20170628_182112 cropThe Department of Land Use hosted a workshop at Christiana Fire Hall on June 28, 2017 to discuss proposed code language changes regarding Process and Site Design standards. This workshop was attended by more than 50 people, including members of the public, local professionals, and New Castle County staff, as well as County Executive Matt Meyer. The meeting kicked off with an introduction and opening remarks from Land Use General Manager, Rich Hall, followed by presentations by consultants Mark White and Andrew Bing. Also included was a question and answer session, a live interactive survey poll, and an opportunity to review Process and Site Design story boards with Land Use staff.  View the presentation slideshow by clicking here. Additional information from this event will be posted on this page shortly. You may direct any questions regarding Part 2 of the UDC Revision Project to Brad Shockley (Process) at bshockley@nccde.org or Marco Boyce (Site Design) at mkboyce@nccde.org.

20170628_191256 crop
20170628_190152 crop

June 28 Workshop Story Boards and Comments


Direct Questions or Comments to:

Brad Shockley (Process): bshockley@nccde.org
Marco Boyce (Site Design): mkboyce@nccde.org

Previous Presentations, Fact Sheets and Documents:

UDC Update Project - Part 1 Effort and Accomplishments:

On Monday, January 23, County Executive Matt Meyer signed three ordinances creating a new appendix containing Guiding Principles for new development, the standards for creating neighborhood preservation overlay districts and a new zoning district for economic empowerment.
View the video of County Executive Meyer's signing ceremony here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zPbq7s3zHM

Please see below for additional information regarding the evolution and accomplishments of Part 1.
Economic Empowerment Districts
Signed Legislation
Contact: Brad Shockley, Planner III

Neighborhood Preservation Overlay Districts
Signed Legislation
Contact:  Janet Vinc, Planner III

Appendix 7 - Guiding Principles
Signed Legislation
Contact: Marco Boyce, Planner III