The Delaware Coastal Zone Act at 40: Past, Present, and Future

September 30, 2011

Event| Environmental

2011 marks the 40th anniversary of Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act (“CZA”). In 1971, Delaware enacted the first comprehensive coastal land use law in the world aimed at curbing industrial uses of a coastal area, and the CZA continues to be what might be the state’s most celebrated and controversial law.

Proponents of the CZA’s success point to a coastline that looks much as it did 40 years ago, boasting a 100-mile stretch that lacks industrial development from Delaware City to the southern tip of the state. The coast’s quality contributes to tourism, property values, and quality of life. Industrial development interests, however, contend that the CZA is unnecessarily rigid and starves the state of business and employment opportunities and tax revenues. Either way, the CZA has served as a model to be examined across the country and the world.

This program will examine the past, present, and future of the CZA. It aims to provide a neutral forum for a civil conversation about the CZA’s opportunities and challenges over the next 40 years. Todd Coomes will act as a moderator and Robert Whetzel will be a panelist during a session entitled "Emerging Legal Issues."