Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

County Contributes $1.1M
For Police, Paramedic Site

By KERIN MAGILL
SC Online Content Editor

GEORGETOWN -- An abandoned visitors' center in Bridgeville will be reborn as a combination state police barracks, paramedics station and visitors' center, thanks in part to a $1.1 million contribution from Sussex County.

At the Tuesday, July 29, 2003 meeting of Sussex County Council, James Ford, state Safety and Homeland Security secretary, said he "absolutely, tremendously" thanked the council for its cooperation with the project.

Ford said the project, expected to take about a year to complete, will be "mutually beneficial for all concerned," a sentiment echoed by officials from the Delaware State Police and the county Emergency Medical Service.

In addition to space for paramedic Station 107, and a new station for the state police stationed in Bridgeville, the site will include a helipad for use by the state police helicopters, as well as a visitors' center.

State Sen. Robert Venables, D-Laurel, told the council that despite cutbacks in the state budget, he "never lost hope," that the project would go forward.

"I think it'll be a good location," Venables said. Sen. Thurman Adams Jr., D-Bridgeville, said the site will be "something all of us can be proud of."

County Council president Lynn Rogers said, "We're excited about this," calling it a "win-win for everybody."

County Administrator Robert Stickels said "the entire county will benefit" from the new facility, because the new paramedic unit will allow for better response times for paramedics countywide. Stickels added that the new paramedic unit will allow the county to add a second paramedic supervisor, as well, which will make the entire paramedic service operate more smoothly.

On a related issue, county mapping and addressing supervisor Matthew Laick reported to the council that state and county officials, as well as representatives from Verizon, had been meeting over the past two months to start "cleaning up" the re-addressing project that is now nearing completion.

Laick said the county's focus is on getting those who have received their new addresses to start posting them, so that emergency personnel can utilize the new system to its fullest.

"We need to get the word out there to make sure the public understands the necessity for this," Stickels said.

Public meetings on the new system may be held in an effort to get the public on board.

Council Hears Plans for Postal Center in Roxana

Sussex County Council heard plans on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 for a postal distribution center in Roxana that would serve the surrounding communities of Ocean View, Bethany Beach, Selbyville, Frankford and Dagsboro.

Carriers for those areas would work out of the Roxana location, while the post offices in those towns would continue to provide boxes and retail services, according to John Gilman, a Wilmington postal employee who is proposing the project.

John Sergovic, attorney for Percy Inc., the developer of record on the project, said the 8-acre site at routes 17 and 20 is a "very centralized location" in terms of serving the growing communities along the Route 54 and Route 26 corridors. Estimates are that up to 7,000 new postal customers will be added to carrier routes in the next several years.

Some neighbors to the site are worried that the added truck traffic will bring a dangerous situation to the rural intersection and that the project, which will include other service-related businesses, would change the character of the area.

Catherine Houston, who lives across from the proposed project, said she is concerned about truck traffic and the fact that small children live in the area. Houston also said she worries about what other businesses could possibly locate in the complex.

Percy Inc. wants to rezone the property from agricultural-residential to B-1 (neighborhood business). If the site were to be developed with homes, soil problems would limit it to three homes, according to Sergovic.

Gilman said he has spoken with postal supervisors about the project, but has nothing in writing authorizing its development.

The council deferred action on the rezoning request.

In Other Business ...
  • The council moved toward public hearings on two land use ordinances -- one limiting residential uses in a C-1 commercial zone to four units per acre and another creating a new zoning district, C-2, for large-scale commercial uses. The council failed to advance two other ordinances; one allowing bio-tech industry and bio-tech campuses as permitted uses in the agricultural-residential zoning district and another allowing agriculture-related industry in the agricultural-residential district.

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • City of Rehoboth Beach, $300 for Delaware State University band performance;

    • Rehoboth Beach Film Society, $500 for Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival; and

    • Mt. Pisgah Church, $500, community programs

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