Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

Seagrass Plantation
Gets Council Nod

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Sussex County Council unanimously approved a zoning change for a 208-home development near Clarksville but removed a request for a convenience store within the RPC during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2002.

The development, to be called Seagrass Plantation, will include 124 single family homes and 84 townhouses. It will be located on 139 acres, on the west side of Irons Lane (Sussex Road 348) and 3/5 of a mile north of Holts Landing Road (Sussex Road 346).

The developer, Caroline Development Inc., had proposed a convenience store be part of the project, but the council approved the application without it. The proposed 10,000-square-foot commercial was the "biggest question" that arose during a June 11 public hearing on the project, according to County Administrator Robert Stickels.

Council member George Cole said a store located in an otherwise residential area, off of main roads, "would set a bad precedent."

Council member Dale Dukes said he "would rather have it more site specific, so we would know what's going in there before we approve it." Council president Finley Jones also supported removal of the commercial portion.

In hearings before the council and the county Planning and Zoning Commission, dozens of residents of nearby communities expressed concern about the impact of the commercial use on traffic and the character of the surrounding area.

The site is currently zoned Agricultural/Residential; the county council approved its rezoning to Medium Residential/Residential Planned Community.

Council, Water Companies Urge Conservation

Representatives from two of the state's largest public water providers joined county council in urging Sussex County residents to conserve water.

Although representatives from Tidewater Utilties Inc. and Artesian Water Co. said the county is in better shape than New Castle County, where mandatory restrictions are in place, both urged Sussex County residents to conserve water, as Gov. Ruth Ann Minner did two weeks ago.

Some suggestions from both companies include:

  • Using water-saving devices such as low-flow toilets, which can save between 8,000 and 21,000 gallons of water a year;
  • Using "gray water" to water lawns when possible;

  • Running dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads;
  • Checking appliances and plumbing for leaks; and
  • Washing cars over grass in order to allow much of the water used to be reabsorbed.

"There is no such thing as new water," said Artesian's John Houghton, who said the past 12 months have been the second driest one-year period in Delaware history. The state is now 20 inches below normal for rainfall, and it would take six to eight months of normal or above-normal rainfall to recover, Houghton said.

County Administrator Robert L. Stickels noted that Sussex County is 8 inches below its normal rainfall for this time of year.

Houghton also said reports of dry wells statewide, including pockets in the West Rehoboth and Ocean View areas -- seem to be largely involving very shallow wells -- 30 to 35 feet deep -- which were "not uncommon in the '70s." He said of all the well permits granted this year, only 13 percent were to replace wells that had gone dry.

County Dispatcher Honored

Sussex County emergency medical dispatcher Catherine Derrickson was recognized for performing "outstandingly" during the past year and for her nearly perfect compliance record.

Derrickson was recognized for her performance during council's Aug. 27 meeting by Sussex County Emergency Emergency Services Director Joseph Thomas and the county council.

Thomas called Derrickson a "very reliable" employee who has handled more than 13 percent of all the county's medical emergency calls in the past year.

Thomas said Derrickson's commendation represents the first in a twice-yearly recognition program he is implementing to honor top employees.

In Other Business ...
  • County Administrator Robert Stickels announced a special service of recognition for all fire and ambulance workers in Sussex County at Carey's United Methodist Church on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. The camp is located five miles west of Millsboro on Carey's Camp Road.

  • Council approved a $1.6 million contract with American Paving for the collection and conveyance portion of the Cedar Neck sewer project construction. Although council members and county officials expressed some concern about whether the company had sufficient experience in such projects, they were swayed by the fact that American Paving's bid was well under the $2.9 million estimate by the county Engineering Department, and the fact that the county needs "to fish or cut bait" on the project to get it under way, according to Michael Izzo, County Engineer.

  • Council approved a $299,000 contract with Sterns and Wheeler to design a system for the South Coastal Regional Wastewater Facility near Ocean View, which will produced pasteurized sludge. The sludge will be produced for fertilizer year-round, as opposed to seasonally, Izzo said.
  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • Town of Millsboro Youth Basketball Program -- $250;
    • Prospect African Methodist Episcopal Church, Georgetown -- $300 for community assistance.

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