FIshkiller's granted conditional-use approval by county

The Sussex County Council this week voted to approve a conditional-use request for Fishkiller’s, near Dagsboro, filed on behalf of owner and waterman Chester “Chet” Townsend IV.

The county Planning & Zoning Commission had deferred action on the application on July 26 and Aug. 9, citing a need to discuss several issues, including signage. After meeting to discuss the issue for a third time Aug. 23, they did recommend approval.

While this is the fourth season the business has been open to the public, the conditional-use application process started after the owners received a letter from DelDOT stating that were in violation of an entrance permit requirement for their new location.

In August, at county council’s first hearing of the conditional-use request, Shirley Townsend, who owns the business along with her husband, testified that this is the fourth summer they have operated the business — the first three summers on a rented piece of land and now on a piece of land they own.

“We want to make our business pretty, safe, clean and neat, and want to go through all the proper channels,” she told the council. She added that she had just received a letter from DelDOT that week, and that she had thought they had gotten a verbal OK from Planning & Zoning about operating.

This week, the council agreed with P&Z that the business is appropriate for the spot as it relates to other businesses in the area and granted approval. They also added conditions to the approval: that that they be allowed no more than one lighted 32-square-foot sign on the property, that the hours of operation remain Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from April 1 to Nov. 1.

The conditional-use of the property will also be contingent upon the county Board of Adjustment approving a trailer-type structure from which the business will operate, which has been the case for all four years.

They are not allowed to have any freestanding signs or flags. County Planning Director Lawrence Lank said they had taken pictures of a lobster shaped-sign located in the Indian River on the Vines Creek bridge and other signs, and that the county inspector would be checking the property for compliance.

Councilman George Cole asked what happens if time goes by and the entrance permit has not been granted or the Board of Adjustment application for use of a trailer on the property has not been made. He asked what steps the County could take to ensure compliance. As a result, they added a stipulation to one of the conditions, requiring that Townsend apply to the Board of Adjustment for use of the trailer-type structure within 30 days, or the conditional-use approval is void.