Frankford looks at directed growth

The town of Frankford has plans for expansion. Toward that end, Council Members and former-President Ron Atherton have begun working on revisions to the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).

According to Vice-President Thomas “Maynard” Esender, town council created a CLUP back in 1999, but it was never certified. A state-certified development plan is a prerequisite for new annexation (Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s Livable Delaware, March 2001).

The comprehensive land use committee hosted Office of State Planning Coordination’s (OSPC’s) Ann Marie Townshend at Town Hall on March 14.

Committee members asked her about expansion west of Route 113. “In terms of tax base, crossing the highway is very important,” Esender said.

However, Townshend rather directed the committee’s attention toward the north end of town.

She said she’d spoken with Assistant County Engineer Russ Archut, and relayed the county position on present and future sewer capacity.

“It will be a year and a half before you’ll be able to look at any annexation, other than clean-up parcels,” Townshend said.

Two areas of farmland came up for discussion — a 52-acre parcel (Janet Davidson, Neil Breasure and Lois Wingate), and a 54-acre parcel (O. Clifton Hudson).

Both parcels lie mainly northeast of, but partly within town limits, along Clayton Avenue.

“The county needs to be a big part of determining priorities for annexing parcels that are split (by town boundaries),” Townshend said. She suggested there was some question as to whether they were inside the existing sewer district, or not.

President Robert Daisey added, “Let’s face it — we can talk about annexing in these properties, but just to go through the due process, it will probably be five years out.”

At the county, engineer Adi Maneckshaw said the pending Dagsboro-Frankford Planning Area and Western Sussex Planning Area studies should take roughly 18 months.

He expected to begin narrowing the field in search of the best-qualified consulting firm by mid-April.

Maneckshaw pointed out the need for long-range planning. “We’re always running short somewhere,” he said.

“The area is being rapidly developed,” he continued. “If we don’t plan now, we’re going to have problems later on — and mayors and (county) council members have to control growth until this thing is set up right. Otherwise, we’ll have a hodgepodge.”

Presently, sewer in the Dagsboro-Frankford area heads east to the Piney Neck Regional Wastewater Facility.

Maneckshaw said the county had allotted roughly 500 “equivalent dwelling units,” or EDUs, to the town of Frankford. Each single-family home counts as one EDU.

Beyond that, he said they had limited capacity to handle treatment. Parcels already within town boundaries would take priority, on a first-come, first-served basis.

With that official position in mind, Townshend recommended the committee focus on development of agricultural parcels already inside town, and consider annexations near the northern borders over the next three to five years.