Fenwick Island

Planning Commission Overview

The Planning Commission was formed by the Fenwick Island Town Council on behalf of the citizens and property owners of the Town of Fenwick Island on October 14, 2006 following the passing of Resolution #15-2006, which can be found at https://ecode360.com/FE1574/document/381036738.pdf. This Resolution desires to comply with Delaware State Code, Title 22, Chapter 7 which can be found at https://delcode.delaware.gov/title22/c007/index.html.

A Planning Commission established by any incorporated municipality shall prepare a comprehensive plan for the city, town or portions thereof as the commission deems appropriate. It is the purpose to encourage the most appropriate uses of the physical and fiscal resources of the municipality and the coordination of municipal growth, development, and infrastructure investment actions with those of other municipalities, counties, and the State through a process of municipal comprehensive planning.

After a comprehensive plan or portion thereof has been adopted by the municipality, the comprehensive plan shall have the force of law and no development shall be permitted except as consistent with the plan.

In accordance with 22 DeL C. 5702 (g) Municipalities shall provide to the Office of State Planning Coordination a report describing implementation of their comprehensive plan and identifying development issues, trends or conditions since the plan was last adopted or amended. This report shall be due annually no later than July 1.

At least every 5 years a municipality shall review its adopted comprehensive plan to determine if its provisions are still relevant given changing conditions in the municipality or in the surrounding areas.

The adopted comprehensive plan shall be revised, updated, and amended as necessary, and readopted at least every 10 years.

The comprehensive plan or amendments or revisions thereto shall be submitted to the Office of State Planning Coordination for review at such time as the plan is made available for public review. The plan shall be reviewed in accordance with the comprehensive plan review and certification process detailed in §9103 of Title 29.

The Fenwick Island Planning Commission is comprised of eight members with rotating term expirations, as follows:

Member Term
Susan Brennan (Chair) 2028
Odis Braxton Jr.  2029
Lisa Lange 2026
Julie Lee 2025
Natalie Magdeburger 2026
Ann Riley 2027
Lois Twilley 2024
Winnie Lewis Emeritus

The comprehensive plan began its official journey in December of 2021. In Spring 2022, the Commission recommended to Town Council, a new 10-year comprehensive plan be created and contracted with University of Delaware, Institute for Public Administration to provide oversight and guidance in the development of a 10-year plan.

Calendar of Events – Understanding the Process

As you can see from the below timeline, the development of the 2024 Comprehensive Plan document was a process created with many intentional steps, to reflect the historical past, current conditions, and future projections of the Fenwick Island that we all love so much. It was/is important to create a process to adhere to needed requirements and enabled inclusion of all residents and businesses to help us move forward together. All of the meetings are held by hybrid method, open to the public, agendas posted, and public participation is welcome.

Comprehensive Plan Timeline

July 2022 and September 2022

The Commission held three (3) Listening Sessions entitled “What is Your Vision for Fenwick Island” which created awareness of the planning commission’s intention to revise the comprehensive plan and provided opportunity for stakeholders to discuss their thoughts on the character, challenges, and future of the Town.

October 2022

The Commission listened and collaborated with members of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety committee to create a symposium to address some of the concerns associated with pedestrian safety within and around Fenwick Island.  Speakers included Jennifer Cinelli‐Miller, transportation planner for Sussex County for DelDOT; William DeCoursey, associate policy scientist, University of Delaware; Dewey Beach Town Manager Bill Zolper; and James Wilson, executive director of Bike Delaware.

The symposium was held via hybrid method  and was attended by many concerned stakeholders.

January 2023

Mission StatementThe Comprehensive Plan document enables our community to review our past and understand and articulate our future. In setting the direction for Fenwick, this Plan will assist us to utilize local and state resources to accomplish important tasks and goals. It guides growth to areas that are most prepared to accept it in terms of infrastructure and thoughtful planning.

The Commission conducted a town-wide survey to receive community input on affirming our Town’s vision statement, as well as gathering identifying priorities to be addressed as the planning commission moved forward with the new 10-year comprehensive plan content. 

Survey stats show 861 email invitations sent of which 343 responded via email, 127 responded via the town web link and 48 responded via paper submission for a total of 518 responses. The results of the survey helped prioritize topics for the Comprehensive Plan. Survey respondents prioritized key topics as follows:

Planning Commission Survey Chart

April 2023

With the development of the Comprehensive Plan in full swing, the Commission worked with the Town to conduct an Outreach Photo Contest on their Facebook page:

Contest Post

Here are just a few of the wonderful pictures received and included throughout our Process:


Sunset BicycleSunrise Beach

May 2023

The Planning Commission held a Comprehensive Draft Open House at Town Hall to provide our residents/businesses an opportunity to engage with the commissioners, learn about our process and findings, view key focus areas and the “issues” chapters included in the plan, and ask questions and discuss their ideas and concerns on challenges facing our Town. The Open House was well received.  The community engagement was critically important to help the commission validate, highlight, and edit information reflected within key areas of the Plan specifically in preparation of draft completion.

Open Houseopen house

Open house

Open House

open house

June 2023

June 8 – The Fenwick Island Planning Commission (FIPC) presented the 2023 Comprehensive Plan DRAFT to Town Council and property owners at a special meeting held on June 8th at Town Hall and hybrid via Zoom.  Additionally, a public comment period ran from June 5th through June 12th. Thank you to those who participated and shared feedback.

June 16 – Following the publicly presented Plan on June 8th and the Comment Period completion, the Planning Commission reviewed all feedback, made some adjustments to the plan, and presented the 2023 Comprehensive Plan DRAFT, dated June 16, 2023

June 23 – The Planning Commission requested Town Council’s approval of the 2023 Comprehensive Plan DRAFT, dated June 16, 2023, for submission to the State of Delaware to begin the PLUS (Preliminary Land Use Services) Review at the Town Council meeting held on June 23rd. Approval to submit was granted.

June 28 – With approval of the draft Comprehensive Plan received from Town Council, we submitted our plan to the Department of Planning and Zoning for Sussex County and The Office of State Planning for their reviews.

 July 2023

July 21 –  The Planning Commission received remarks/review from the Department of Planning and Zoning for Sussex County. The information was favorable and no additional information was required. A copy of this correspondence is included in the 2024 Comprehensive Plan.

July 26 – The Planning Commission was asked to attend a PLUS Review Meeting to received feedback from the various State authorities on the contents of our Plan. This was a short meeting with positive feedback from many of the State agencies.

August 2023

State of DE provided its official comment letter regarding our Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission reviewed the comments and developed responses for Town Council review. Additionally, the commission began developing an Implementation program to support Fenwick Island in the many recommendations made in the Comprehensive Plan.

December 2023

December 8 – State review responses were submitted to Town Council for review, discussed and approved at the Town Council Meeting.

December 11 -The Town Council approved PLUS review comments were submitted back to the Office of State Planning

January 2024

With the receipt of our responses back to the State, Fenwick Island received the State of DE Certification of our Comprehensive Plan! A copy of the State Certification letter can be found in the 2024 Comprehensive Plan

February 2024

February 22 – A public hearing and reading of ordinance to adopt the 2024 Comprehensive Plan will take place in Town Hall at 9:00 am.

Public discussion is encouraged and will be supported by members of the Planning Commission

February 23 – The second reading of the ordinance to adopt the 2024 Comprehensive Plan will take place. Additionally, Town Council will vote to adopt this ordinance.

The 2024 Fenwick Island Comprehensive Plan  was presented to our Governor for review and has been certified by the state of Delaware. A copy of Governor Carney’s letter is incorporated into The Town of Fenwick Island 2024 Comprehensive Plan Final and can be found at: Town of Fenwick Island 2024 Comprehensive Plan

Congratulations Fenwick Island!!!

Final Thoughts on the 2024 Fenwick Island Comprehensive Plan:

The Fenwick Island Planning Commission would like to thank its committee members both past and present for their diligence and respect for this very important document; our Town Council and Staff  for the support, patience, inquiries and resources; The University of DE, IPA for their guidance through this entire process and the stake holders both residents and businesses for their openness, participation, feedback and spirit to collaborate as we developed a Plan that shapes and supports Fenwick Island’s continued character as the quiet, family-oriented community we all know and love.  Please contact us at FIPlanningCommission@fenwickisland.org with any questions or comments.

Thank You!

The Comprehensive Plan contains the full Implementation Chart that outlines the work of our Town Council, Staff and Committees to reach the goals and safeguard our town.  The full implementation chart can be found at: FIPC Implementation Workshop – Committee Priorities Listing

 The Commission hosted an Implementation Workshop Meeting on October 19, 2023, for all Town Council and Committee Leads, as well as provided an open invitation to call Committee Members.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how the Commission would support the Committees through a designated Commission Member (Liaison) who would provide ongoing support and grant funding assistance to the Committee, as needed.  This meeting allowed all members to discuss roles and responsibilities, understand ongoing work relationships as well as bi-annual reporting requirements critical for the yearly reporting requirements back to the State.  Ongoing reporting is conducted each July.

Key meeting documents from this meeting are as follows:

FIPC Implementation Workshop Presentation

FIPC Implementation Workshop – Reporting Document

Please Note:  This section will be updated yearly with the reporting documents provided to the State.

For a full historical record of Fenwick Island’s previous Comprehensive Plans, please see below.