Sussex County News

Sussex County, Delaware

Population:

  • 156,638 (2000 Census)

County council meetings

  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. (second Tuesday of each month), council chambers, county administrative building; council meetings and other public meetings held in the council chambers are broadcast over the Internet

Planning & Zoning meets:

  • Thursdays, two to four times per month, 6 p.m.; occasional Wednesday afternoons; council chambers, county administrative building

Board of Adjustments meets:

  • Mondays, two to four times per month, 7 p.m.; council chambers, county administrative building

Elections:

  • Council members elected by district, to four-year terms; council president selected from among council members

County administrative building:

  • 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947; (302) 855-7700

Web site

General e-mail inquiries

County Council 2013-2014:

  • Michael Vincent, Council President, District 1
  • Samuel Wilson Jr., Council Vice-President, District 2
  • Joan Deaver, District 3
  • George B. Cole, District 4
  • Vance C. Phillips, District 5

County Administrator:

  • Todd Lawson

Council Administrative Staff:

  • Robin Griffith

Finance Director:

  • Gina Jennings

Public Information:

  • Chip Guy

Public Works Director:

  • Michael Brady

Director of Planning & Zoning:

  • Lawrence Lank

Director of Planning & Zoning Commission:

  • Robert C. Wheatley

Police:

  • Delaware State Police Troop 4

Sheriff:

  • Jeffrey Christopher

Emergency:

  • 911

Non-emergency police contact:

  • (302) 856-5850

Sewer service:

  • Sussex County provides central sewer service to communities throughout the county, while some private property owners and other communities utilize on-site septic or sewer systems of their own.

County recognizes employee for third quarter

Coastal Point • Submitted: Sussex County Council members presented employee Barry Hitchens the ‘Pickle Award’ at their Dec. 1 meeting. Pictured, from left, are Joan Deaver, Michael Vincent, Hitchens, Rob Arlett and George Cole.Coastal Point • Submitted: Sussex County Council members presented employee Barry Hitchens the ‘Pickle Award’ at their Dec. 1 meeting. Pictured, from left, are Joan Deaver, Michael Vincent, Hitchens, Rob Arlett and George Cole.Sussex County presented its third-quarter “Pickle Award” earlier this week.

The Give ’em the Pickle program is a national employee-based recognition program that the County adopted this fall.

“It is a peer-to-peer recognition program led by County employees who experience another employee’s exceptional customer service,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson, “and acknowledge that employee by filling out a form describing the event, which is then reviewed and approved by the employee’s manager. This is literally giving them the pickle.”

Lawson said that, additionally, a resident or County customer could give an employee praise that a manager could also use to give the employee recognition.

Sussex County offices to close temporarily Dec. 11

Sussex County offices will close for a two-hour period on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, to allow employees to attend the annual Mildred King Luncheon.

County offices will close from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on that date. Members of the public with business to conduct at County facilities are asked to plan accordingly for the temporary closure.

County offices will re-open promptly at 1 p.m.

Hagen, Cummings, Barton headline Entrepreneur Symposium

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Mike Cumming of Mikken Builders, left, Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, center, and Phil Barton of Barton’s Landscaping answered questions for future entrepreneurs at the South Coastal Library on Monday, Nov. 23.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Mike Cumming of Mikken Builders, left, Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, center, and Phil Barton of Barton’s Landscaping answered questions for future entrepreneurs at the South Coastal Library on Monday, Nov. 23.When the 38th District Republican Club met on Monday, Nov. 23, it wasn’t to discuss politics.

Instead they gathered at the South Coastal Library for an Entrepreneur Symposium — an event designed by club President Drew Sunderlin to encourage young people interested in one day owning their own business by introducing them to some of Sussex County’s most successful entrepreneurs.

“This is an apolitical event,” Sunderlin explained. “The idea is I wanted to bring in the young members of our community and introduce them to three very successful entrepreneurs — I wanted to do something for the community where we show them what it took for these guys to get where they are.”

To do that, Sunderlin sought out area success stories, including restauranteur Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, Miken Builders President Mike Cummings and Barton’s Landscaping founder Phil Barton — all of whom eventually went on to turn their ideas into thriving businesses in Sussex County.

County defers action on South Bethany Sewer District expansion

Sussex County Council held a public hearing earlier this week related to the Berzins expansion of the South Bethany Sanitary Sewer District.

Along with connecting the Berzins property, located on Kent Avenue, to the sanitary sewer district, connection points for three other parcels in the district that are not being served could gain connection.

With support, new mobile app could aid many

Last winter, a man took the bus to Georgetown Public Library. He was distraught, trying to reach an emergency shelter, but learned it was temporarily closed.

“It was a very cold, one of those single-digit days,” said Librarian Sherri Scott.

Unable to find another option, he desperately called the police and told them he was suicidal so they would put him in a safe place overnight.

State approves $18 million psychiatric hospital in Georgetown

The Delaware Health Care Commission last week unanimously approved SUN (Solving Unmet Needs) Behavioral Health’s application for a proposed 90-bed psychiatric hospital, to be located in Georgetown.

A public hearing for the psychiatric hospital was held in September, during which the majority of those who spoke were in favor of the application’s approval.

Sussex County discusses extending land-use applications

The Sussex County Council this week discussed how to address land-use application approvals scheduled to expire on Jan. 1, 2016, after the County’s staff had received fewer than 10 requests for extensions but with many more projects approved but not yet completed.

Sheriff sales on the decrease in Sussex, Lee tells council

At this week’s Sussex County Council meeting, Sheriff Robert Lee offered the council an update on his office. Stating the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office has taken a “team approach,” Lee said, noting that he and his staff were focusing on communication and teambuilding.

DNREC workshop reviews proposed beach regulations

The Delaware State Legislature has made a number of changes to the Beach Preservation Act in past decades, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is now trying to put those changes into action by writing new regulations for beachfront building and use.

DelDOT welcomes input from public on plans

Millsboro bypass included in forecast

Each year, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) develops a six-year Capital Transportation Plan (CTP) that identifies future projects and costs.

Today & Tomorrow Conference to highlight ‘Innovation’

Coastal Point • Submitted: Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will come together to raise public awareness on current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at DelTech.Coastal Point • Submitted: Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will come together to raise public awareness on current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at DelTech.Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will join together to raise public awareness regarding current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference. The event will be hosted on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown.

Following welcoming remarks by Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard, and Vice President and Campus Director Ileana Smith, the morning will include information that could be important to Sussex County employers.

The conference will include a statistical update by Workforce Analyst Ed Simon of the Delaware Economic Development Office and a keynote address by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.

There will also be an hour reserved for Delaware Tech’s 1 Million Cups initiative, a partnership effort with the Kauffman Foundation to support entrepreneurship nationwide. The two presenters will be Rob Rider of Body & Soul Fitness and Katey Evans of the Frozen Farmer.

Delmarva Power washing off salt-coated North Bethany lines again

Power interruptions may occur during cleaning process

Delmarva Power crews are resuming their efforts today to pressure-wash utility lines and equipment along Route 1 between the Indian River Inlet and an area just north of Bethany Beach to remove sea salt carried inland by winds from the weekend nor’easter.

Public hearing held for proposed Sussex psychiatric hospital

The Delaware Health Care Commission held a public hearing earlier this week for a proposed 90-bed psychiatric hospital to be located in Georgetown.

At the hearing, SUN (Solving Unmet Needs) Behavioral Health President Steve Page stated the company first heard about Sussex County after meeting Jeffrey Fried, president/CEO of Beebe Healthcare, last fall.

Sign workshop kicks off Sussex County ordinance review

Sussex County held a workshop to review its signage ordinance earlier this week, following the approval of a six-month moratorium on applications for off-premises signs.

Public workshop planned for Oct. 14 for Route 113 bypass update

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will present to area residents an update on the U.S. Route 113 North/South Study for the Millsboro South area at a public workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Millsboro Town Center, 322 Wilson Highway.

TRAFFIC ALERT: DelDOT closes Route 1 between Bethany and Dewey

Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that, due to high water, Route 1 northbound and southbound was being closed between Bethany and Dewey Beach (including the Charles Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet).

Governor Issues limited state of emergency in Sussex County

Coastal flood warnings in effect along Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bays

With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Gov. Jack Markell at noon on Oct. 2 issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately. State offices will remain open, and no driving restrictions are being implemented; however, localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.

Sussex County approves moratorium on off-premise signs

The Sussex County Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve a moratorium on off-premise signs, with Councilman Sam Wilson opposed.

Delaware State Police still investigating OV accidental shooting

The Delaware State Police this week were continuing to investigate an incident in which a 2-year-old child was believed to have been accidentally shot by her father at their home just outside of Ocean View over the weekend.

Around 1 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30, police said, emergency services were dispatched to a home located on Muddy Neck Road, following a 911 call stating a child had been shot.

SCAPC continues to address local addiction issues

The Seaford Chapter of Sussex County Action Prevention Coalition (SCAPC) held its monthly meeting this week, continuing to try to attack the area’s drug problems from various angles.

Sussex P&Z recommends against signage moratorium

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission met last week to review and discuss their recommendation regarding a proposed moratorium on the County’s acceptance of special-use exception applications for off-premises signs.

The draft ordinance, which was introduced by Councilman George Cole on July 28, states that the Sussex County Council “views the placement of off-premises signs as an important public-safety issue” and believes that “the recent proliferation of off-premises signs has a detrimental effect on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Sussex County.”

If approved, the moratorium would direct the Sussex County Planning & Zoning office to decline applications for special-use exceptions for off-premises signs for a period of six months, which could be “extended, modified or terminated at any time by a majority vote” of the council.

Deer, dove, resident Canada goose and teal seasons set to open

Delaware’s hunting seasons kicked off Tuesday, Sept. 1, with the opening of the archery and crossbow deer season and mourning dove and resident Canada goose seasons on private lands and state wildlife areas.

Best of Milton Auction & Party set for Sept. 12

A celebration is planned for the 10th Annual Best of Milton Auction & Party on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Milton Fire Hall, 116 Front Street in Milton. The party will aim for an atmosphere of cool elegance, in pale blue and shimmering silver as they celebrate this anniversary in style.

County defers vote on moratorium for off-premise signs


The Sussex County Council this week deferred voting on a proposed moratorium on off-premise signs, following a public hearing.

“Typically, what you’d consider off-premise is more of a billboard-type application, but there are small ones also,” said Lawrence Lank, director of Planning & Zoning.

County Administrator Todd Lawson said the County is currently in the process of trying to schedule a signage workshop to address the council’s concerns.

“There is an intent to bring together the County Council, Planning & Zoning Commission, the Board of Adjustment — all 15 members — along with our legal staff, our Planning & Zoning staff, and walk through the ordinance as a whole,” he said. “From that point we will come back and get to work on introducing a new ordinance from the feedback we would receive.”

During the public hearing, Georgetown attorney David Hutt, who has represented numerous applicants’ billboard applications over the last several years, spoke in opposition to the moratorium and offered his assistance to the council moving forward.

Sussex County seniors offered new transportation options

At Tuesday’s Sussex County Council meeting, Nancy Feichtl, who formed the Senior Transportation Cooperative in Sussex County, gave a presentation on ITNSouthernDelaware — a nonprofit organization offering affordable rides to senior citizens, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The membership-based organization has an annual membership fee of $35 for individuals and $60 for a family membership in which two of the members are 55 or older, with additional costs per mile traveled. Memberships are also available for adults with visual impairment who are 21 or older.

Subscription forms may be found online, as well as in libraries throughout Sussex County.

Feichtl said the group was able to raise $220,000, exceeding the $150,000 required to become affiliated with ITNAmerica.