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 council shuffles parking ordinances

Sussex County Council did a good impression of the Delaware General Assembly on Dec. 13, loading five public hearings into the long, late-night, last council meeting of the year.
Parking-related ordinances crowded the agenda (pushing land use decisions closer to midnight). Council considered four related issues:

County P&Z defers decision for eagles

Bald eagles threw a monkey-wrench into the works of an eight-lot subdivision planned for Bunting Road west of Dagsboro, near Pepper Creek and Piney Creek, when it came up for review by the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) on Dec. 8.

County eyes possible changes to clusters

There seems a consensus on Sussex County Council that the Cluster Development Ordinance (enacted August 2004) may have a few loopholes that need closing. Council enacted a moratorium on new cluster developments last week and continued the discussion on how to close that loophole at the Dec. 6 council meeting.

County pauses to amend clustering

About a month ago, Sussex County Council members started considering some changes to the cluster subdivision ordinance (enacted in August of 2004), and got right back on it after the Thanksgiving break.

County P&Z recommends parking changes

The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) recommended approval of several ordinance changes at its Nov. 17 meeting, including some potentially contentious parking requirement changes. But the commissioners were split on the most sweeping of those proposed changes.

County studies land trust model

Affordable- to moderately-priced housing once again topped the agenda of the Sussex County Council, at the Nov. 15 meeting.

Members of the Diamond State Community Land Trust (CLT) brought a model for Sussex and Kent counties before Sussex County Council — one making specific reference to county-initiated moderately-priced housing units (MPHUs).

County considers revisions to clustering

Clustered subdivisions not all Sussex County Council had originally anticipated?

County takes input on appeals process

As it stands, only one party has the right to appeal county Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission denials on a major subdivision — the aggrieved applicants. Within county government, anyway, average citizens who feel aggrieved — by an approval, rather than by a denial — need to head straight for the court system.

State updates clear zone legislation

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is cracking down on illegal signs placed in the medians and rights-of-way of the state’s roads under a revised version of the existing “Clear Zone” law.

County approves sewer for Millville-area development

Members of the Sussex County Council unanimously approved provision of sanitary sewer for an 89-lot residential subdivision called White Creek Landing at their Nov. 1 meeting, after preliminary approvals in mid-July and Aug. 1, and on the recommendation of the county’s engineering department.

The Toll Brothers community will become linked with the Millville sanitary sewer district.

County codifies 911 addressing

Emergency responders turned out in force for the Oct. 25 Sussex County Council meeting, voicing strong support for an ordinance that will require county residents to post their new 911 addresses within the next year and a half.

County council funds soil conservation

Ditches may overflow after 6 or 7 inches of rain, no matter how good a job the Sussex Conservation District is doing. But as of the Oct. 18 Sussex County Council meeting, the conservation staff has some bankroll to match contributions from the tax ditch associations.

DelDOT talks Inlet Bridge redesign

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is safe, for now. And, devastating impact on local economies notwithstanding, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will certainly close it down if that ever changes.

County holds off on housing issue

By all accounts, the committee studying a moderately-priced housing initiative has taken a major step in the right direction, but Sussex County Council reached consensus at the Oct. 11 council meeting that the program still needs work.

DelDOT reviews inlet bridge design

Roadwork continues around the Indian River Inlet Bridge, but the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is taking another look at designs for the bridge itself. Anticipating the single bid the department had received would prove much more expensive than expected, DelDOT is now modifying its bid package, in preparations for trying again.

County introduces parking ordinances

Sussex County Council introduced four ordinances, all related to parking, at the Oct. 4 council meeting, and while they won’t reappear on the agenda until Nov. 17 (at county Planning and Zoning), Council Member George Cole made clear he’d probably vote against all four when they come before council in December.

County denies massive project

Sussex County Council President Finley Jones pegged it as the biggest project to appear before council since Americana Bayside, back in early 2001. Supporters waited in suspense as the Isaacs Glen project — nearly 1,600 townhouses and assisted living apartments, plus retail and office space, near Milton — came down to Jones for the tiebreaker, at the Sept. 27 council meeting.

County proceeds on Western Sussex study

Sussex County Council discussed a potential $500,000 contract for a Western Sussex sewer study at the Sept. 20 council meeting — specifically, the feasibility of a regional wastewater treatment facility.

Second season arrives

September is here again, and residents around the Sussex coast can again collectively exhale, having survived the stress of another summer season. More and more so every year, however, locals are likely taking another deep breath at the end of that exhalation — as they get ready for round two.

For businesses, the crowds have dwindled somewhat, but so has the workforce.

Sussex runners support cancer research

Local members of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training celebrated completed preparations for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon with a kickoff party on Aug. 26.

County discusses new appeals process

Sussex County Council considered draft legislation that would create a new appeals process for parties aggrieved by county decisions regarding subdivisions, at the Aug. 23 regular council meeting.

County Attorney Jim Griffin worked some housekeeping on the existing code, which is unclear when it comes to appeals before council.

County postdates housing ordinance

Sussex County Council enacted an ordinance to permit multisectional manufactured homes (24 feet or wider) on private residential lots (as small as half-acre) at the Aug. 16 meeting.

But the ordinance won’t go into effect probably until next summer, when the state implements a new manufactured housing inspection program.

84 Lumber gets go-ahead from county to expand

It was enough.
Any more than one member of Sussex County Council voting in opposition at the Aug. 16 council meeting, and 84 Lumber’s plans for expansion in Clarksville would have run aground.

Council Member Dale Dukes was out — his own Dukes Lumber being a direct competitor, he’d recused himself.

That meant 84 Lumber needed a 3-1 majority — and they got it, with a4-0 vote.

Planners move on without Allen

The Sussex County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission held its first meeting Thursday, Aug. 11, since the passing of longtime P&Z President John “Jack” Allen.
The chairman’s seat remained vacant during the four-hour session at the Sussex County Administrative Building in Georgetown, but the committee patriarch’s presence was clearly felt.

County looks at appeals process

A bare quorum of Sussex County Council members gathered for a brief council meeting on Aug. 9, to discuss a specific subdivision appeal, but also appeals in general.

Attorney Heidi Balliet, representing the Spring Breeze subdivision project (275 lots, near Angola) petitioned council for reconsideration, following a denial from the county’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission.