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Sussex County Council ...

Growth Prompts
New Sewer Study

SC Online Content Editor

GEORGETOWN -- After a decade of unprecedented growth, which doesn't show any signs of abating, Sussex County will begin a new study of sewer capacity and facitilities in the southeastern part of the county.

The County Council agreed on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 to pay its land use consultant, Whitman Requardt & Associates, $388,959 for a new South Coastal Area Planning Study (SCAPS).

The first such study was conducted in the late 1980s, according to County Engineer Michael Izzo. That study -- updated several times since, has served to guide county officials as they attempt to reduce the number of individual septic systems in the area between Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island and to keep up with growth.

In 1990, the county served 10,500 customers in that area; today, it serves 17,500. There were four service areas in 1990 and now there are 11 -- although not all of those are in operation yet.

The update of the study will provide up-to-date information on the number of equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) in the area, the status of existing pipelines, recent zoning changes and land use decisions, proposed road improvements, flow data, agricultural preservation activity, and a general review of the entire service area.

Izzo said the county may have to look at building another wastewater treatment plant, or at other disposal options, based on the results of the study. "We have to make sure the plant will be able to accommodate the entire planning area" Izzo said. "Densities are changing; the area has changed."

Another possibility is that developers who plan projects in the "Environmentally Sensitive Developing Area" around the Inland Bays outside the area slated for sewer service could be required to pay an impact fee of at least $20,000 -- based on the size of the development.

County Administrator Robert Stickels said The Palisades, a 750-home development proposed to be built next to the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge near Ocean View "is a very good example of why this is needed."

The developers have proposed a private sewer system because it is located in the Inland Bays area where new septic hookups are discouraged, and it is outside the area planned to receive sewer service in the immediate future.

"If we don't match development to the development area, we're going to see more of those," Stickels said.

The study won't cost existing users anything, according to Stickels. Funding will come from a number of sources, including new system connection charges, state grants, and possibly real estate transfer tax funds.

Paramedics get new vehicles, agreements

Sussex County paramedics will get new vehicles and new training opportunities thanks to a series of County Council votes on Tuesday, April 29.

The council voted to approve the purchase of two new paramedic trucks at $55,000 each and to refurbish a Chevrolet Suburban for $21,895.

Also approved was a long-awaited agreement with Delaware Technical and Community College which will allow Del Tech students to do their internships with the Sussex County paramedics. According to Glenn Luedtke, county paramedics director, the affiliation has been three years in the making. Luedtke said Del Tech's is the only paramedic training in the state.

The council also approved the renewal of agreements between the paramedics department and Beebe Medical Center in Lewes and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford. Tuesday's vote extended for five years a previous arrangement through which county paramedics have the opportunity to perform certain procedures, under the guidance of hospital staff, that they don't get much day-to-day experience with.

In Other Business ...
  • Sussex County Council approved a zoning change for a 1.39 acre parcel west of Fenwick Island on the south side of Route 54. The Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended denial of the request by Keith Properties Inc. to rezone the land from agricultural-residential to commercial. Since then, however, residents of the nearby Keenwick community withdrew their objections after conditions were established that satisfied their concerns.

  • The council also approved an application from Tidewater Utilities Inc. for a conditional use permit to build a 150-foot-high water tower behind the Home Depot store on Route 1 near Lewes. The elevated storage tank will hold 750,000 gallons of water and will be used to serve Tidewater customers in the surrounding area.

  • In a related matter, the council held a hearing on the 52-unit Eagles Point II townhouse project, which will be adjacent to the water tower. The council deferred a decision on the project since the Planning and Zoning Commission has not yet issued its recommendation on it. The townhouses are proposed by Rehoboth Home Builders Inc. for a 13-acre parcel off Route 1 near the Home Depot.

  • Council heard the following proposed ordinances:
    • Conditional Use in an AR-1 (Agricultural-Residential) district on 9.4 acres in Broadkill Hundred for self-storage and warehouse, by Ocean Highway L.L.C.

    • Conditional Use for boat storage in an AR-1 district on 1.83 acres in Indian River Hundred, by David Ritter.

    • Change of Zone from AR-1 to HR (High Density Residential)/RPC (Residential Planned Community), on 21 acres in Dagsboro Hundred, by East Bay Homes L.L.C.

    • Change of Zone from AR-1 to C-1 (Commercial) on 16,227 square feet in Lewes-Rehoboth Hundred, by Michael and Mary Morton.

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • Bethany Beach 4th of July Parade Committee, $500, for 2003 parade.

    • Eagle's Nest Christian School, $250, sponsorship of Jason Stoeckel and Shane Smith at World Martial Arts Games in Mexico.

    • Sussex Central High School, $650 for minority scholarships.

    • Milton Little League, $500 for operating costs.

    • Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences, $500, trip to World Finals.

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