Public hearing to be held Monday on Selbyville comp plan

It’s finally time for the public to get their hands on a draft of Selbyville’s 10-year update to its Comprehensive Land-Use Plan. People can now read and comment on the planning document for the town’s future before the Town officially submits it to the State.

A public hearing will be held Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m., before the regular town council meeting. Residents, business owners and other organizations can offer feedback.

“There will be a presentation from our planning consultant regarding the updates and additions to the plan,” said Town Administrator Stacey Long.

The 96-page draft includes written plans and large, colorful maps. It is posted online (https://selbyville.delaware.gov) or can be viewed in person at Selbyville Town Hall, 1 W. Church Street.

The State of Delaware requires the document from every municipal government, and public input is required. Selbyville hired the KCI company to help update the plan, with input from the Planning & Zoning Commission and the town council.

“The goal of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan is to provide direction relating to growth management, redevelopment, transportation, environmental protection and Town services, based on the past and present data and trends,” the document states. “This Plan will identify areas of improvement and list implementation items for future consideration…”

It is a study and vision of the Town’s goals and intentions for the next decade. Ultimately, the draft offers about 46 goals and 33 recommendations for the future.

“The vision for the Town of Selbyville’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan is to continue using its existing geographic center as the focal point for controlled growth into the surrounding area,” the document begins.

It touches on the two major themes of Sussex County development: “Every effort will be made to preserve farmland, protect the environment, encourage new development and redevelopment of residential and commercial land, and continue supporting a balance of housing stock for all ages and incomes while maintaining Selbyville’s small-town way of life.”

The plan says the town will continue to grow physically by annexation and to serve the public with Town-owned utilities, police force, a local volunteer fire department and town council oversight.

They hope to “maintain, preserve, and improve the unique small-Town character and charm … while planning for potential future growth.”

They also discuss safety, utilities, community services, housing, parks, walkability and partnership with other government agencies.

For businesses, the draft said they Town hopes to attract larger commercial businesses near the highway, provide support for development and encourage neighborhood businesses near the housing growth on Route 54.

“Due to its proximity to the beach resorts, Selbyville is in an area of high growth pressure,” the document says. “Development in the county has rapidly moved west along Route 54, which led to Selbyville surpassing the County’s growth rate during the time period from … 2000 to 2016.

“This Plan recognizes that change is inevitable. At the same time, the Town is looking for the best ways to direct the location, appearance, and function of new development,” the document states.

The text also describes present-day Selbyville: schools, housing stock, population, the water and sewer systems, emergency services, the floodplain and sea-level rise issues, the town’s history and much more.

As of 2016, the town’s population exceeded 2,200 residents (although the daytime population swells, with three schools and many businesses). There were reportedly 988 housing units. In terms of zoning, Selbyville has eight types of residential zones, from low-density to multi-family, plus the commercial districts and the industrial district.

Finally, the Town recommendations a variety of actions for the future (sometimes demanding action, and other times simply supporting certain ideals).

A handful of recommendations include:

• “Review the Town service demands and capability. … This may include reviewing applicable fees associated with land development and the impacts on the community infrastructure.”

• “Ensure the proper equipment and number of personnel are up to date with the service demands along with fiscal contribution and responsibility with new developments.”

• “Continue to coordinate with the police, fire and EMS personnel regarding new development and redevelopment land applications.”

• “Complete a pedestrian and bicycle study to determine safe route and improvement options to encourage alternative transportation methods, especially downtown.”

• “Consider requiring sidewalks in new development.”

• “Consider requiring open space set-aside or payment in lieu of open space.”

After public feedback, the document will be reviewed again by the Office of State Planning Coordination, the Selbyville Town Council and the Selbyville Planning & Zoning Commission. Later this spring, the town council will vote on adopting the final draft.

 

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter