Sussex County apparently considers it to be the manifest destiny of the Swann Trust to sell its last land adjacent to Swan Cove West LLC, and the Planning & Zoning Commission and the County Council are doing their level best to make yet another building development nightmare come true.
When an attorney and an engineering firm make a one-sided biased case for this 7+-acre addition to Swan Cove West LLC, the commissioners and council members took turns utterly ignoring devastating evidence submitted by the State of Delaware, i.e. the 7+ acres is prone to tidal flooding that will only get worse and eventually lead to substantial public costs to mitigate the boneheaded commission and council decisions regarding this rezoning request, and the 7+ acres consists of soil unsuitable for building construction.
Mesmerized by the sleight of hand of hired professionals, council members were momentarily distracted by a homeowner opposing the rezoning and her assertions of recent flooding. Well, now, all commissioners and council members agreed we can’t have that, and with the wag of their collective fingers, admonished the developer to make sure there is adequate drainage and stormwater management.
Everyone wins with these unanimous votes for approval of the rezoning, except for the nearby residents on both sides of Old Mill Bridge Road, who will now absorb, predictably, an even greater deluge of tidal flooding; the eventual owners of these 20 homes which will be built on unsuitable soil; and the greater Sussex County community at large, because those empowered with the public trust abandoned their common sense in the face of land owner/developer collaboration.
Completely absent from the august deliberations of both these public bodies was any discussion of what engineering principle in the architectural arrow quiver of Duffield Associates of Bel Air, Md., will be at work when high tide is above the level of Old Mill Bridge Road, as happened last month when portions of Old Mill Bridge Road adjacent to this site were completely underwater.
Indeed, such tidal flooding is the very phenomena Delaware predicts will occur with increasing frequency at this site. Though I score low in scientific aptitude, I hazard my opinion that a rising tide with accompanying flooding renders stormwater management and drainage ditches useless, e.g. New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
Our Planning & Zoning commissioners and council members must have been swayed by the expertise of Duffield Associates’ “qualified environmental scientist,” who visited the 7+ acres on Sept. 17, 2017, and verified that no tidal or non-tidal wetlands are on the site. A few weeks ago, this “qualified environmental scientist” would have had to conduct his “expert inspection” from the deck of a boat floating on this “100-year” tidal event.
The pull of the moon, heavy rain and atmospheric pressure are simply irrelevant and inconvenient facts for our Planning & Zoning commissioner and county council to consider when new home construction growth must be fed and nourished so the Sussex County revenue purse can remain stuffed. How else to explain the unabashed deliberations by these bodies that stunningly ignore the march of time and tide?