Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

Council Defers Votes
on Large Developments

By KERIN MAGILL
SC Online Content Editor

GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Council deferred action on two developments that could bring more than 2,000 homes to a rural area between Long Neck and Oak Orchard at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2002.

Votes on rezoning applications for the proposed 1,400-home development known as The Peninsula and the proposed 780-home development called The Bay Farm were scheduled for Tuesday's meeting, but council member Dale Dukes asked that they be tabled because he had not had a chance to read the records of the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendations on the projects

Council member George Cole, R-Cedar Neck, said he hoped the council would vote on the two projects off Bay Farm Road "before the election to give an indication of where this council stands on development."

Cole is up for re-election, as is Vance Phillips.

The two often butt heads on development issues, with Cole fighting for lower density, particularly around the Inland Bays. Phillips, meanwhile, often speaks of the economic benefits of large developments in the same area.

Cole and County Administrator Robert Stickels said the council needs to take into account the cumulative impact of The Peninsula and The Bay Farm, both planned to be built on Bay Farm Road, on the surrounding area.

The Peninsula has been called a "destination resort," comparable to those found in Hilton Head, by its developer, Ribera-Odyssey Ventures L.L.C. About half of The Bay Farm would be age-restricted single-family homes and apartments; the remainder would be single-family homes and condominiums. A 15,000-square-foot retail shopping area would be included.

The council will vote on the projects when Cole or president Finley Jones request that they be put back on the agenda. Since Tuesday, Nov. 5 is Election Day, the next council meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 12.


Final Draft of Land Use Plan

The final draft of the update of the Sussex County Comprehensive Land Use Plan was introduced on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The public has two more chances to comment on the plan before the Dec. 31 deadline for its approval.

A public hearing will be held before the Planning and Zoning Commission at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the County Council chambers at the County Administration Building on The Circle in Georgetown.

The council will hold its public hearing on the plan on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., also in council chambers.


Human Services Grants Approved

The County Council approved $116,250 in human services grants, about half the amount requested for fiscal year 2003. Organizations receiving grants this year include Rehoboth Day Care, the Bible Center Christian Academy, the Cape Henlopen Food Basket, the Delaware Housing Coalition, Dickinson Chapel and the Marvel Carriage Museum.

Accounting Director Susan Webb said the grant funding this year came within $343 of the budgeted amount, and that county organizations requested more than twice that amount.

County Administrator Robert Stickels said the human services grants "started with federal revenue sharing and probably should have ended there." Stickels also said many of the organizations receiving the grants have lost state and federal funding in recent years.

Some groups were not funded at all this year because the amounts they asked for -- as much as $75,000 from one organization -- were so high the budget committee felt that what it could afford to contribute "would not be sufficient to even impact the program," Stickels said.

Council member Vance Phillips suggested that perhaps the county should consider "weaning" the groups from county funding, as well. But council member George Cole said he did not believe the county should consider cutting funding to such groups in a time of population growth such as the county is now seeing.


In Other Business ...
  • County Administrator Robert Stickels announced the county will offer free smoke detectors on a first-come, first-serve basis to county residents. Each household in the county is entitled to one free smoke detector per floor. The smoke detectors are available at the County Administration Building on The Circle in Georgetown.

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • WGM Outreach Ministry Inc. -- $250 for Coverdale Crossroads community outreach.

    • Rehoboth Beach Main Street -- $500 for community dinner.

    • Southern Delaware Choral Society -- $300.

    • Milford Library -- $200.

    • Selbyville Library -- $500 for Spanish language books.


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