Red Tape Tips (RTT)

Become a Member

Make a Donation

View Resources

View Events

The City of Newark and The Newark Partnership are thrilled to support new & expanded businesses. This guide is intended to help make the process as smooth as possible.

Welcome! The City of Newark and The Newark Partnership are thrilled to support new & expanded businesses. This guide is intended to help make the process as smooth as possible. From applications to plan review and approval to opening, we are here to support you in whatever way we can. Please feel free to reach out to The Newark Partnership at any point in the process by emailing us at We will respond within 2 business days. 

BUILDING & OTHER PERMITS: Newark Municipal Code Chapter 7

There are many different kinds of projects and each requires a different type of permit. If you aren’t sure what type of permit your project needs, please refer to this project types cheat sheet. A shortcut list of City of Newark permits and applications can be found here, which includes:


Building Permits


Certifications of Occupancy

Sign Permits

Other Permits

Fire Prevention and Safety

Planning and Zoning

Economic Development

Electric Department

Public Works and Water Resources

Finance Department



Building Permits can be found here. Upon receiving your application and any necessary supporting information (see page 4 of Procedure Manual), the permit application is assigned to a Code Enforcement Officer who will review the plan and the supporting materials. This Enforcement Officer will help you “walk through” the permit review process, will also inspect the site, and be responsible for the project from start to finish. There is specific data required for Building Permit Processing. Review and submit all required documentation to the Planning Department.

Comments and corrections, if needed, will be added to the plans. After any necessary corrections, a final inspection will be conducted within 5 days and, if the building is in compliance with all City of Newark Codes, a final Certificate of Occupancy will be granted. Fees schedule can be found here.

Code Enforcement has a Procedure Manual, which explains all building permits.

Permits are required for:

  • Building or Installing

    • New houses, structures, buildings, deck or patio roofs or covers

    • Chimneys, garages, heating, ventilating, or air conditioning systems

    • Supply or exhaust hoods, swimming pools, tool or storage sheds, fences

  • Repairing or Replacing

    • Structural reconstruction due to water or terminate damage, existing structural stone, or concrete or brick

    • Interior surfaces in restaurants and other assembly uses and any structural work

    • Roofing and siding may also require permits

  • Additions, Alterations, Renovations or Change in the Use of a Structure

    • Rooms, dormers, bay windows, or alterations to floor plans or wall openings

    • Water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and/or air conditioning systems

    • Adding circuits or changing electrical services

    • Conversion of any porch, garage, or basement to living/sleeping area


The City of Newark requires all properties that are not owner-occupied but are leased to a tenant to acquire a yearly rental permit. It also requires all owner-occupied properties that let rooms out to more than two people, unrelated to the owner, to purchase the same type of rental permit. These permits are used to guard against overcrowding. Applicable rental housing forms and applications are available below:

A current list of properties with rental permits and owner information is available here.


Certificates of Occupancy are required for new buildings, additions, or when a structure is put to a new use. When any construction that requires a Certificate of Occupancy is completed, the following documents must be submitted to the Building Department.

  • Application (can be found here).

  • 7 copies of the as-built site plan.

  • Inspection Record, showing approvals.

Once received a final inspection will be completed within 5 days and Certificate of Occupancy will be granted if the building is in compliance.


All outdoor signs erected or installed in the City must meet the specifications of the Zoning Code and Building Code, and require a permit (which can be found here). The Building Department can provide specifications for size, location, registration, insurance, and inspection of signs. Fees are based upon the size and type of sign and are calculated by the Building Department. Inspections are required at each stage of construction.application


There are a number of programs and events of various sizes that require permits. These include:

Please review this pamphlet for more information.


Fire Prevention & Safety Info

The Fire Marshal is responsible for enforcing all of the International Fire Code, NFPA and Delaware State Fire Prevention Codes. The office reviews construction plans for compliance on the installation of fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, and conducts field inspections. In addition to the Building Permit Application, all new or rezoned buildings must complete the following:

For information on residential fire safety, please refer to the Residential Fire Sprinkler Information pamphlet.


Newark Municipal Code, Chapter 32 

The Planning Commission makes recommendations to city council concerning:

  • Annexations: The City Charter gives Council the power to annex any lands contiguous (at any point) to Newark’s boundaries, whenever requested to do so by the owners of two thirds or more of the area proposed to be annexed, Council approval is in the form of an Ordinance which provides for the zoning and Municipal voting district of the annexed territory.

    • Annexation Application Procedures: There is no filing fee for Annexation petitions. Information and forms for Annexations are available in the Planning Department. Annexation proposals should be submitted to the Department and must include:

      •  A completed Annexation petition

      • A copy of the property deed

      • A cover letter, which should be signed by all parties making the request and describe the petitioners’ intended use of the land to be annexed, and 25 copies of a site plan and location map. The site plan, drawn to scale, should show:

        • Existing city boundary and present county zoning of the area to be annexed.

        • Location of property owned by petitioner(s).

        • City zoning classification(s) desired by the petitioner for the land they own.

        • Location of the property contained in each proposed zoning classification.

        • Layout of all existing and proposed buildings and adjacent land uses.

    • Annexation Review and Approval Process:

      • When all required documents have been received in the Planning Department, the Director and City staff review the petition and supporting materials and make recommendations to the Planning Commission.

      • In order to approve a Rezoning Ordinance, the proposal must receive two readings before City Council with a public hearing. At the second reading, it must receive a majority vote of all Council members.

      • Property owners within 300 feet of the subject property are notified of the proposal by mail 10 days prior to the scheduled Planning Commission hearing, at which time the petitioner may discuss and answer questions regarding the proposal. Usually, the Planning Commission holds one hearing and forwards its recommendations to City Council.

        • If the owners of 20% or more of the area included in the zoning change or within 100 feet of the area file a signed “protest” opposing the rezoning, a three-fourths majority vote of Council (6 of 7 members) is necessary to approve the rezoning.

  • Rezoning of Property

    • In order to approve a Rezoning Ordinance, the proposal must receive two readings before City Council with a public hearing. At the second reading, it must receive a majority vote of all Council members.

    • Adjacent property owners receive 15 days notice of the time and place of the public hearing. If Council approves the rezoning ordinance, the Official City Zoning Map is changed.

      • If the owners of 20% or more of the area included in the zoning change or within 100 feet of the area file a signed “protest” opposing the rezoning, a three-fourths majority vote of Council (6 of 7 members) is necessary to approve the rezoning.

    • Review and Approval Process: The Planning Department and city staff evaluate the proposed rezoning in light of compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, existing conditions in the area, long-range planning studies, the Zoning Code, traffic, and the City’s capability to provide sewer, water, electric and other services. Rezoning application fees can be found here.

  • Variances: The Board of Adjustments is authorized to grant a variance from requirements of the Zoning Code. Variances may be granted as it pertains to lot size, setbacks, building height, lot width, building volume, and the like. The Courts have established a list of factors for a Board to consider in determining whether an exceptional practical difficulty exists.

    • Variance Application Procedure: The Board may determine whether an “unnecessary hardship” may exist, and uses a checklist of factors provided by the Courts in reviewing such a request.

    • The Zoning Code regulates variances in the Open Floodway District.

  • Appeals to the Board of Adjustment, accompanied by a filing fee, must be filed in the City Secretary’s Office within 30 days of the Building Permit denial. The City Secretary will provide necessary information to the applicant, and the variance application will be advertised and a public hearing scheduled before the Board of Adjustment.

  • Subdivision: Newark Municipal Code, Chapter 27

    Subdivision occurs when any land, residential and non-residential, is divided into two or more lots, either by deed of sale, lease, or simple boundary adjustment. Such changes must be approved according to the provisions outlined in the Subdivision and Development Regulations of the City of Newark.

    Subdivision approval is required when a single lot multi-family structure or condominium is proposed, or when a commercial or industrial property containing more than two businesses on a single lot is developed. All new storm sewer, sanitary sewer, and water main construction must also be approved in accordance with the Subdivision Regulations.

    Applicants for subdivision approval should familiarize themselves with the regulations found in Chapter 27 of the Municipal Code. These regulations are a comprehensive description of the requirements and procedures pertaining to division and development of land in the city limits.

    The regulations include design standards for roads, parking lots, drainage and sanitary sewers, and address erosion and sediment control, water service, and community assets. Flow charts at the back of the Regulations provide an overall perspective of the review and approval process. Application forms are available in the Planning Department.

    All subdivision of land within the city are classified into three types:

    1. Administrative Subdivisions: The adjustment of property lines or straightening of boundaries which does not create additional building lots. See Subdivisions Regulations Section 27-19 for a detailed description of submission requirements and process.

    2. Minor Subdivision: The division of land into 5 or less residential lots upon which building can occur involving no new streets; or the adjustment of property lines to permit expansion of an existing structure; or the division of a parcel of land for commercial or industrial uses where no new streets or other improvements are involved. See the Subdivision Regulations Section 27-20 for a detailed description of submission requirements and review process.

    3. Major Subdivision: The division of parcels of land into 6 or more lots upon which building can occur; or divisions which create new streets regardless of the number of lots; or multi-family developments of 6 or more families regardless of the number of lots; or commercial, business, or industrial developments regardless of the number of lots where new streets or other public improvements are created. See the Subdivision Regulations Section 27-21 for a detailed description of the submission requirements and review process.

  • Special Use Permits: The Municipal Zoning Code regulates all land uses within each zoning district. Some uses, however, are permitted only if City Council reviews and issues a “Special Use Permit.” These conditionally permitted uses are listed within each Zoning District category in the Zoning Code.

    • If you intend to use your property for a use which the Code lists as requiring a Special Use Permit, you should submit to the City Secretary’s Office the following:

      • Completed application form, which is available in the City Secretary’s Office and the Planning Department.

      • Twenty-five copies of a plot plan of the property prepared by a registered engineer or surveyor, showing existing and proposed structures and the relationship of your plot to neighboring lots.

      • A letter of transmittal addressed to the Mayor and Members of Council containing statements discussing the use in terms of its effect on the health or safety of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of the proposed use; whether or not it is detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the neighborhood; and whether or not it conflicts with the purposes of the Comprehensive Development Plan of the City.

    • Please consult with the Planning Department for guidance in preparing the necessary documents. The Planning Department and City staff will then review the plot plan and supporting materials and make recommendations to the City Council.


Newark Municipal Code Chapter 17, Sections 120- 122

The City offers various loan and grant programs, as well as tax incentives for development.

Historic Properties

  • Owners of residentially zoned properties listed in Section 7-16(c) of the municipal code, may be entitled to tax credits for preservation, restoration, and/or rehabilitation of the exterior architectural facades of their buildings. These incentives are subject to special procedures and requirements, which can be found here.

Improvement Programs

  • Home Improvement Loan Program: The City of Newark provides loans for needed home repairs and rehabilitation to eligible Newark homeowners under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The Home Improvement Program (HIP) helps local homeowners, who meet local CDBG income requirements, preserve and rehabilitate their homes. Repairs that generally qualify under the HIP include:

    • Heating, Plumbing, Electric systems

    • Roofing, Siding, and Weatherization items

    • Sewer and water systems

    • Accessibility modifications.

This program helps owner-occupants maintain their homes, which adds to the beauty and stability of the City’s neighborhoods. Funding is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis.

Homeowners must submit a completed application to the City’s Planning Department. Applications are also available in the City’s Planning Department.

  • Facade Improvement Program: Owners of existing businesses, either business properties or business tenants (with landowner approval) located within the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) target area, are eligible and encouraged to apply for FIP loans. The cost of the rehabilitation is financed through a no interest loan, which may be deferred or paid back monthly, subject to the review and approval of the City of Newark Planning and Development Department. The maximum total cost of the project per business property is $2,000.

Businesses must submit a completed application to the City’s  Planning Department. Applications are also available in the City’s Planning Department.


Electric Department Info: City of Newark Municipal Code, Chapter 11

The city operates its own electric utility to provide electric services to commercial and residential customers within the city limits. Power is purchased on the wholesale power market and delivered by the City of Newark. Several outgoing distribution circuits at 12,470 or 4,160 volts distribute power throughout the city. Approximately 12,800 customers are supplied power from these lines from small on-site transformers which reduce the voltage to an operating level.


Public Works & Water Resources coordinates and directs the refuse, recycling and yard waste automated collections, street and curb maintenance, snow and ice removal, fleet maintenance, engineering and design, and drinking water and wastewater operations. The Public Works & Water Resources fee schedule outlines the application, permitting, and annual fees.

In addition to field operations, PWWR is responsible for contract administration, fiscal management and reporting, and capital planning of Newark’s water, sewer, storm and transportation infrastructure. PWWR also serves as a point of contact between the city and local developers, contractors, and construction firms. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), click here.

The Water Division is responsible for the treatment and distribution of water to our customers, including residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional users. On average, 3.4 million gallons per day are treated and distributed. Newark’s high quality drinking water meets or exceeds all state and federal standards for drinking water.

The Sewer Division is responsible for the collection and transmission of all sewage within the City limits of Newark. Sewage originating in the City flows through New Castle County’s system and ultimately to the City of Wilmington’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.

  • Streets & Sidewalks: Newark Municipal Code, Chapter 26

    • Americans with Disabilities Act: The City of Newark is committed to making all sidewalk and curb ramp areas accessible to all pedestrians including those with disabilities. Any correspondence such as complaints, comments and recommendations should be submitted to the City of Newark ADA Coordinator, Ethan J. Robinson, Planning and Design Engineer (

  • Sewer Service: The City of Newark maintains more than 100 miles of sanitary sewer mains located along road rights of way and utility easements. In spite of our best efforts blockages of the mains occur, which can cause sewage to back up into homes and businesses. The city is generally not responsible or liable for costs associated with the clean up and repair of the damage caused by such an event.

  • Excavations: A Utility Permit Application may be required for any excavation or land clearing work. Applications are issued in the Public Works Department, and there is no fee for these permits. Utility Permits expire in six months and work must be started within 30 days of the issuance of the permit.

  • Parking: The Parking Division is responsible for the management, maintenance, and enforcement of municipal off-street parking facilities and municipal on-street parking spaces, as well as coordinating services for the downtown area. The City’s Parking Ambassadors focus on improving customer service and promoting Newark as a friendly and inviting place to visit and live.

    • Off-Street Parking Waivers


Finance Department Info

  • New Rental Accounts: New services for rental units require a minimum deposit of $300 to ensure the account has a $0 balance at termination. If an account is closed with a balance, the security deposit will first be applied to that and the difference will be mailed to the account holder. Security deposits are refundable after three years of good payment history or upon moving from the property. The refund process may take up to four weeks. In addition to the security deposit, a $30 non-refundable application fee will appear on the first bill.

  • Commercial Accounts: Commercial accounts also require a security deposit which is based on the type of business and size. Security deposits are calculated by twice the average or projected consumption in accordance with City Code, Section 11-16. The City factors the square footage, along with measuring the same or similar type of business. The minimum deposit is $300.

  • Property Taxes: Newark residents pay real estate taxes based on the assessed value of their homes, as determined by New Castle County’s Assessment Office. New Castle County property assessments are based upon 1983 property values. When a certificate of occupancy is issued after a building is constructed or improved, an assessor visits the property to determine the new assessment rate. The property assessment determines the amount of your property tax bill, as well as your school district’s tax bill.

    • Annual tax bills are issued in July, and must be paid by September 30 to avoid a penalty.

    • Whenever an owner changes their billing address, they need to notify the tax office directly.

    • Any property owner who does not have a mortgage escrow account or does not receive an annual bill by August 1 should notify the tax office.

For more information, or if you have any questions about your city property tax bill, please contact the Finance Department by email at or you may call (302) 366-7000.


City Manager: 302-366-7020

City Secretary: 302-366-7070

City Solicitor/Prosecutor: 302-366-

Parks & Recreation: 302-366-7XXX

Parking: 302-366-7XXX

Planning & Development: 302-366-7030

Code Enforcement: 302-366-7075

Building: 302-366-7075

Public Works & Water Resources: 302-366-7040

Electrical Engineering: 302-366- 7050

Finance: 302-366-7080