Sussex County growth and development on the east side of route 113.

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By gumshoe on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 12:56 pm:

Does anyone else feel, that the Sussex County Council is not preparing for the traffic increase, with all of the land developing that they are approving? It seems as though the Council is leaning more towards the land developers than public opinion.

By Sussex Cop on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 08:54 pm:

I agree. History has shown that the county council has always created their own political agenda. Financially speaking, they would make out best supporting the commercial market instead of the taxpaying residents.

On a related note, I think we need to oust some of these long-timers in county council and get some fresh faces at the table. I believe some younger, professional candidates are in order.
Wow ... kinda sounds like Fenwick Island. Hmmm ...

By gumshoe on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 06:33 am:

I am in agreement, Sussex Cop. Look at what the Sussex County Council has allowed from north of the inlet bridge to the Lewes area. It is becoming congested as hell, with no new roadways. Now they are continuing south of the inlet bridge with the new Millville project, off of Rte 26. I am sure they are on the verge of allowing more building that we have not even heard of yet.
What plans does the council have for roads for this growth? Have not heard of any. I agree and have said this before, it's time for some new faces on the council, with people experienced in fast growth.

By twilliams on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 10:31 am:

"the Sussex County Council is not preparing for the traffic increase"
"What plans does the council have for roads for this growth?"

You have stumbled upon the problem with everything that's happenning with development in Sussex County.

The County controls development and the State controls the infrastructure.
2 different entities with two different responsibilities make for problems all over.

By gumshoe on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 06:23 pm:

Maybe growth should be slowed way down, by the county until the State and County jump on board together.

By twilliams on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 07:58 am:

The problem with that idea, gumshoe, is that it makes things unfair for Sussex Countians. i.e. the State would end up controlling growth because they control the infrastructure and with 2/3 of the population and legislature from upstate, Sussex County would be left to suffer. I would say that a better solution, albeit one that may see a tax increase, is for the County to once again take control of roadway development and maintenance. Then the package is handled locally with little influence from those above the canal.

By Maximumgravity on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 12:11 pm:

Now they are contemplating a Bilion dollar bridge from Cape May - where will all of these new tourists go once they get here? I can forsee 5 to 10 mile backups on that bridge now.

The only benefit I could see from a bridge is that it MIGHT spur economic growth in an area (any area) other than tourism. The sad truth of the matter is the "permanent residents" are being driven out because the pay scale and economy in Sussex COunty just plain s u c k s. Cost of living is almost as much as that of New Castle; cars cost as much, utilities are just as high, rent prices are almost as much, mortgages costs are skyrocketing into the low 200's and 300's at the beach - and that means anyone within a 20 mile radius of the beach artifically raises their prices to be "competitive".

The Sussex County council is killing Sussex County. They are irresponsibly growing residential and tourist areas without providing infrastructure and jobs. There is no industry in Sussex County - save for $7.50/hour chicken plant jobs. That won't raise a family of four nor provide for a mortgage that is pushing $100 grand on mobile home on 1/4 acre.

Wake up Sussex County, get rid of these MORONS in Sussex County Council, or you WILL be forced to find a new place to live. What worked 20 years ago, is not working today. The sad truth of the matter is Sussex County has changed. We can either embrace the change, and profit from it, or keep doing what has worked since we were all kids - and watch them drive us out from it.

The bygone era of farming, open meadows, and country side road stands are sadly fading into the history books for Sussex County. With some responsible leaders dictating who can build what where, some of this could be preserved and cherished for our Grandkids. At the unrestrained rate that the route 24/18/9 cooridors are growing without proper infrastructure and planning, this is going to be a good place to avoid.

Help send a message to these morons next election. Their position is NOT permanent, and that WE (the residents) do have a sya in what they do, and what we feel is best for us and our County.

By Sussex Cop on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 07:30 am:

How much you wanna bet that if they build that new "bridge" to Cape May, Sussex and O.C. tourists may just stay locally and put their money into Atlantic City? It sure would be quicker than taking the ferry.

By Jim B. on Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 03:46 pm:

So all of a sudden we're concerned about land development? Frederick's is all for it and approves all applications. Mayor Peg is for slowing it down in a big way against all odds.Let's wake up and let Frederick's know where we stand.
Jim B.

By undertow on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 04:36 pm:

Jim B. Are you "Mayor Peg" as you like to call her? Or possibly a relation to her? Everyone else in Sussex County knows that she's not the mayor, she just pretends to be one because she likes the way it sounds. Hmmm...think I'll call myself a doctor, because it sounds nice. As for the land use, where are you from? It seems that out-of-towners are allowed to buy and build, and then want to stop development so that the people who deserve to build here, the true locals, are left out in the cold.

By Jim B. on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 10:36 pm:

Undertow I am not the Mayor,Peg or otherwise. However when the out of towners apply to build and or develop it is people like Fredericks who do the approvals. Seems like we made a big mistake at the voting booth this year. As an Independent voter I vote for the most qualified candidate. And that does not include the people who approve massive land development.
Jim B.

By Eric Magill on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 11:10 am:

Jim B:
You continue to be confused on this issue, so I thought I'd try to clear this up for you.

The massive developments being approved in your area are not being approved by Peter Frederick. These developments are out of the town limits and are approved by Sussex County Council. You want to talk to county council members Vance Phillips, Dale Dukes, Finley Jones, Lynn Rogers and George Cole about this.

Even if the developments were within the town limits, at least three other council members would have to approve them, as well. That's not something Frederick could do all by himself.

I hope this clears this up for you.

By Jim B. on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

Eric; Thanks for clearing that up. I apologize to Mr. Fredericks. I had him confused with Vance Phillips and the rest of that council gang.
Jim B.

By xxx on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 03:25 pm:

Jim B., you are a fine example of why Fenwick Island is haveing the problems it is. You moved down here 5-7 years ago to retire and now you don't want anyone else to move down. How is 70% of the vote a "big mistake". You should think for yourself and not follow every word of "Mayor Peg". 30% of the vote does not qualify as "the people's choice."

By gumshoe on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 06:49 am:

I think what might help is, if these large land developers have to contribute a considerable amount of their profit to the school district in which they're building, to be used for a new school to be built. Why should these large developers get to reap giant profits and leave us, the taxpayers, with toting the bills for more schools. We all know the way property is being sold, that people will still come over and pay ridiculous prices for homes. If some of these large land developers have to use an amount of their profit, maybe that will help slow the building process down. They should also have to contribute a portion towards roads.
There is room for more homes over here in lower Sussex, but I think the County Council needs to be more responsible in how much building they approve. They may not control the improving of State roads, but they darn sure have control over how much developing takes place, that leads to them from these developments.

By FAFitz on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 06:42 pm:

I wonder if County Council and Planning and Zoning are getting kickbacks from the developers? I hate to be suspicious but the arrogance of several of the Council members (particularly D.Dukes is suspect). I have been to several meetings and written to all the Council members and P&Z men. At least the council members had the courteousy to write back. P & Z does not even address your correspondence.
Even when the council has been presented with "facts" about the amount of units that should be allowed on a piece of property they disregard it and favor the developer. Why?! Why can't a developer build within the current zoning and not keep asking for a "conditional use". I believe there are certain developers and council members that go "hand in hand".
All you have to do is look at the County web site and all the applications for C/U, read the comments from the State Planning Office, then news briefs on SCO, etc. And I'll bet you eventually there's a 98% chance ANY development will be approved. In fact the more outrageous the plan (maximum density) the more likely the plan will be approved.
There are certainly not enough roads to handle the amount of people coming in. And the developments are just getting approved daily.
Down in Cedar Neck there has been approval for 208 units across the street from the 88 already being built by Toll Brothers. This is at the intersection of Rds 357 and 360 (which is closed several time a year due to flooding). Further down in the neck there was just approval for 171 units and more is pending. Now, that is a 2 lane country road with no other way out. Are we just begging for a catastrophy? Talk about nightmares? What about emergency vehicles?
Yet our council members voted 4-1 to approve the Lakes at Old Mill (George Cole the one dissenting vote he lives down that road)and the County engineers said there is not the sewer capacity to handle that number they suggest downsizing to 123 units.
Yet I smell a rat with all the info stacked against them and suggestions to cut back the council arrogantly approves that plan among others. WHY? money...who's getting it?
And George Cole was rearended that morning of the meeting and there was a fire at the Old Mill early Sat AM. Does this not seem like the beginning of a mystery novel to anyone other than myself?
Who's really selling out Sussex County here? I've read that the fund to buy properties for saving open space is going well. Also that about 80% of the properties bought thus far are on the western side of the county. Yet Dale Dukes spoke up at the recent purchase of lands outside Lewes and said, "there's alot of prime land in the western side of the county that could be bought and for far less money". I suppose Mr Dukes is protecting his half of the county and doesn't care what happens elsewhere as long as there's money being made and it's "not in his back yard"!
I would hope that the Council is not divided on their loyalties to Sussex county. Even though their districts are different and distinct we are all in this together. I think that kind of thinking is where the term "slower lower Delaware" comes from.

By ubugme19 on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

I was born and raised in Sussex County. I lived in the Georgetown - Millsboro areas for 28 years. I moved here to North Carolina in 2001, because of county council and State legislature's blatent disreguard for the "permanent" residents of Sussex county. Condemn me if you want for leaving Sussex county, but I could no longer wait for a wage increase that will never be. Or land prices that will never come down so average residents could afford them.

It is hard to make it anywhere, but more so in Sussex county. Years of "Old Cronies" running things on the zoning boards approving land developments like Tunnel's multi-million dollar Baywood Greens golf course built on what should've been a Federally protected non-tidal wetland. I hunted and fished where that golf course is for years. There is another world outside of Sussex county. There are opportunities to be had. I literally doubled my salary doing exactly what I was doing there.

I plan to move back there one day when I retire, but I can't afford to live there now. Who wants to work at a chicken plant for the rest of their life making a "competitive wage" of $8.50 and hour. The only other options are mostly seasonal. Or "Welcome to Mc Donald's. Can I take your order, please?" Or how about "Welcome to Wal-Mart, Would like a cart?" Yeah that's a great career.

Yeah, sure I pay sales tax here. I pay higher property tax here, but after all the taxes have been paid and all of my bills have been paid, I still have more money left over than I made in Sussex county in 2000. That's why I left there.

County Council is going to have to do something to bring industry into the county. Maybe take some pointers from Kent county on how to entice perspective factories into the area.

Why did County Council force Vlasic into a situation that made them to shut down their Millsboro plant? Why didn't the County approve DP&L's bid for a 150 million dolar renovation to make them competitive in the power market? Now they were bought out by Conective. All the money goes to New Jersey now, and they plan to shut the Indian River plant down if they haven't allready. Why did County Council shoot down Dupont's bid to build a new plant to replace their aging Seaford plant? That meant 1000's of jobs to the county. Not to mention they planned to lease their old plant out to other industries. What kind of sense does this make? Could it be that one of the council members lives not too far from where the proposed plant was to be constructed? Now Dupont is planning to build a plant in Virginia to replace the Seaford plant. Good move County Council! Guess what happens when the plant in VA is finished? I'd have to say there are going to be alot of unemployed ex-Dupont and Don Margin employees standing in a line that will go from the unemployment office, accross 113, and into 84 Lumber.

Do you think that people that made $16.00 an hour and up can compete in a job market monopolized by hispanics? Do you think that these people can work for $8.50 an hour like the hispanics? Something needs to be done or Sussex County is going to become just what County Council makes it, a county full of tourists, hispanics, and people who are barely holding on to what made Sussex County a nice place to live.

Who keeps re-electing these clowns? The residents should bring the "whipping post" back to the circle. Start whipping politicians starting with Ruth Ann Minner and then Lynn Rogers. Maybe then they would wake up and quit making backdoor deals with friends and whoever has the biggest wallet.

On another note, does anyone know who bought Georgetown (Seacoast) Speedway? I heard it sold to a group including Dave Blaney from Winston Cup and Melvin Joseph as a silent partner. It's hard to get good rumors from 300 miles away. But I'm still "Down State, "Darn" Proud." I fly my Delaware flag next to the Stars and Stripes in my Wake County, NC yard.

I do not mean to put down the fine people of Sussex county only the idiots they elected. I apologize if I offended anyone but this is the way I see it, and the reason my wife and I moved to North Carolina.

By a on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 08:43 am:

Those "clowns" won with 70% of the vote. Enjoy NC we don't want you is Sussex County.

By Sussex Cop on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 01:17 am:


Sounds like you made a smart move. Many are sure to follow ... either that or they'll stay and force change in Sussex!

By AuntAnn on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 07:23 am:

Way to go ubugme, you are correct! I know that the elected officials were mostly overwhelmingly re-elected. What I don't know is why they were. Are the voters of Sussex County lazy, uninformed or mostly of the "it's not in MY backyard" so what the heck? Or is it that they are all related somehow?
I have family roots in Sussex County since the 1600's and can tell you I have relatives everywhere, state rep., business people, retired and otherwise. What I do NOT have is relative in county Council or on Planning and Zoning.(maybe that's a lucky break?)
They (council and PZ) are not a very forward thinking group of men. They have a live for the moment (grab the money now) attitude. What I can tell you is that they are not leaving a very good legacy for their children or grandchildren.
What this Council and P&Z have done to Sussex County is a sin! They have sold off beautiful farm land and very low tidal lands for MONEY! Believe me it's about nothing but $$$. But who is making all that money? Guys in suits from out of state? Some of the lucky who can work in the building trade? building suppliers (DDukes??),the lawyers for the developers? I don't know? Have anyone of YOU personally benefitted from all this "sell out" of Sussex county?
What you may not know is that, yes, now you have great bonds. But just wait a few years. Your taxes will go so high you won't even believe it. Money taken in today is gone tomorrow and the "locals" who have endured this building boom will pay to maintain the roads, schools etc. in the form of MUCH higher taxes.
Just ask anyone from PA where the last "biggest building boom in the country" was the last ten years. The roads are so clogged that a 20 minute ride to work takes well over twice that long and that's if there's no accidents. There are more incidents of "road rage". I can see why! And guess what, the taxes have gone up, and up and up again. Think about that! A house with a $500 tax rate is now $6000. That is $500 a month! That's what's coming down the road.
If you've seen the movie "Lost in America" with Albert Brooks you may remember the line, "I've seen the future. It's a bald man from NY". Well, I've seen the future, it's the land developers from Pennsylvania. You'd better beware of the Toll Brothers and others. Their billboards are impressive and they have tons of money spent on PR (so you think they ARE the luxury home builders they say) but watch out for how they ruin the area. They are not so well liked in lots of areas of the country.They are detestible in how they wrangle land deals. So watch out Sussex they've got their foot in the door. If you want to look like King of Prussia or Plymouth Meeting PA. Keep things just as they are. You're on your way! And start saving for your next tax bill.

By fed up on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 10:41 am:

You said, "I...hope that the Council is not divided on their loyalties to Sussex county. Even though their districts are different and distinct we are all in this together."

Sussex lives VERY WELL off on its portion of the 3% state transfer tax on property sales. Sussex had a HUGE surplus this year.

So what councilperson wants to squelch development & cause an increase in property tax? -- Or cause a property tax reappraisal It has been years since Sussex properties were reappraised.

Low property taxes are good for the land speculators who are waiting to cash in on the Sussex land boom.

by councilman George Cole's game of 4-to-1: knowing that his opinions will be outvoted. He rants against Dukes' & Phillips' love for development & looks like a hero to his district 4 voters while knows he can't do a thing without the votes. If he were really a good councilman he would negotiate with the others for his "people," He would not irritate the other councilmen in public. What a travesty!

NO SUSSEX PUBLIC OFFICIAL IS ELECTED COUNTYWIDE. Each district has its own concerns & people will vote for their own interests.

So who calls the shots in Sussex? Who is really in charge?
County council controls, manages, dictates & call ALL shots for Sussex. Total & Absolute.

So who is in charge of county council? The so-called "president" is elected from year-to-year from members of the majority party. Do we voters have a say? NO.

Do we need changes? The system is 30 years old. I think so.

By Melissa on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 08:44 am:

#1. Cole is in cohoots with lawyers/realtors, and cannot vote on some of the issues at hand within coucil chambers.

#2. In some states, it's not legal for realtors to buy up the land and set their own prices... on Wall St. that's called insider trading, and isn't that taboo?

#3. When the Tidal Wetlands laws were created, it was NOT meant to be 'traded' for inland be filled in and then developed, it was to curb development too close to the wetlands to protect our ecological balance in these areas of growth.

The rules are being bent or broken to the benefit of the ones who already have the money, and crap on us peons who struggle to find our little slice of land to settle down.

My Grandparents have many acres in a prime area, and have been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre, and they will not 'sell-out' for any reason. Attempting to keep their Century Farm as an agricultural far none of these swindlers have 'tricked' them into changing their mind, and they are realizing that dangling the perverbial carrot isn't getting them anywhere.

I'd like to settle here in Sussex, where my families have been for several generations, but the laws and the council & planning and zoning make it more difficult every day.

By change is unavoidable on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 09:48 am:

"My Grandparents have many acres in a prime area, and have been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre..."

That's great.

My comments were to alert people to the danger in the old government system & not keeping up with trends. Sussex County government needs updating. Painful, but unavoidable.

By Melissa on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:00 am:

I'm aware of what you were stating.
My point is that too many realtors, lawyers and council members are too closely knit in the Good Old Boy Network, and that things will only change for THEIR good, and not to benefit the people who aren't in some way related to or involved in business with these Good Old Boys.

I think the entire system needs revamped, but change for the 'better' depends on which side of the net you're sitting...a matter of perspective.
Common sense isn't something that politicians seem to practice, from my perspective.

By Frank on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 10:44 am:

"...too many realtors, lawyers and council members are too closely knit in the Good Old Boy Network, and that things will only change for THEIR good, and not to benefit the people who aren't in some way related to or involved in business with these Good Old Boys.


Common sense isn't something that politicians seem to practice, from my perspective.

Don't look for common sense from pols. Especially Sussex County Council. They are reactive, not proactive & fight change with all their might.

Furthermore, there is NO Sussex County CODE of ETHICS for elected "public servants."

Remember that most of the council (& county employees) will benefit handsomely from intense development. The public be damned.

One councilman owns 2 lumber yards, one inherited 400 Sussex acres, one has an antique store, one is in the steel business & one is in the sign business.

Furthermore, I think that Money People buy & control most politicians -- Money People are the brains, & pols. are willing puppets -- IF they want to be re-elected.

Of course DE is well-known for putting finances in front of other concerns.

For instance DE is known as a Company Town beginning with DuPont & now the banks (MBNA, etc.).

In DE there is NO LIMIT on how high interest rates go.

DE thrives by going easy on Corporation Taxes & many incorporate here with the knowledge that DE courts are very lenient toward business.

By Melissa on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 08:10 am:

Here is a story for you...

I was recently asked by an elderly friend of mine to help him with a real estate problem he's been having. There are many issues at hand with this person and his land. Recently he had lost a personal injury law suit and now has to come up with a great sum of money to pay to the man who was injured who won that judgement. The elderly man owns a large piece of property and he thought he could sell a portion to come up with the money to pay off the judgement.

The man, I'll call him Sam, contacted someone he's known for the younger man's entire life, and thought they could work out something to benefit everyone. The elderly man, turning 80 years old, was looking to pass most of the property down to his family and really was hoping to live the rest of his days working the farm and marina where he had been born and raised. The man that Sam contacted, a local realtor, who partnered with a local lawyer and had a contract drawn up and they went over the contract with Sam and everthing seemed agreeable. The property and business is in the names of both the elderly man and his business partner/daughter-in-law. The contract had a place for both parties to sign. After the men left and Sam was reviewing the contract with his daughter-in-law, they were reading through the contract and noticed several inconsistencies in the written contract that they had just gone over orally, things that were altered, if not totally opposite of their verbal words when going over the paperwork with the 2 businessmen. When Sam was sitting with the 2 buyers, he signed the contract knowing that the sale could not happen without the signature of his business partner/daughter-in-law.

When reviewing the contract, and realizing that they were being 'taken', Sam realized this contract was not going to benefit Sam or his family as much as was promised, not to mention that not one dime of the money was to be given to Sam until after County Planning & Zoning had approved the 2 men's plans for the land. They called to inform the 2 men that the deal was off, and they needed a better offer. Then the 2 men, the realtor and lawyer got together with the lawyer from Sam's injury law suit and somehow obtained information regarding a 'trust' the property was in. Sam's lawyer told the 2 businessmen that the trust was no longer valid. So, with the information provided by Sam's old lawyer, the 2 men wrote a letter to Sam telling him that the contract "does not need his daughter-in-law's signature" and as far as they were concerned, the contract is a binding document and and they "will fight this issue until Hell freezes over."

We knew something was not right when Sam's lawyer sent him a letter from the courts 3 months after it had been sent, warning Sam of a Sheriff's Sale of his property, meaning that Sam only had a matter of a week or so to do something about this matter. In the meantime, Sam was told by his lawyer that he could no longer represent him because of conflicting interest, he's now representing the 2 businessmen in other cases.

So, Sam got himself some counsel and was told that by filing bankruptcy he could totally void the signed contract, and start anew with his plan to divide up his land, and the contract with the 2 partners wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on, and the 2 men would have no right bothering Sam again. The 2 men weren't giving up, visiting the property and threatening the elderly man, sending him letters with threatening statements, and calling his home phone to shake Sam up.

This is basically where I entered the picture. Sam needed a market analysis of the property and to take to bankruptcy court. I know a few realtors and called for an appointment with my contacts. After spending 2 1/2 hours with them, making phone calls and researching documents, we learned that the 2 businessmen had already contracted and sub-contracted people and companies to start conforming this property into their idea. We learned that there aren't many people around this area that aren't in some way involved or have something to gain with the sale of this property to these two men. We had to go out of state to get a real estate appraiser to evaluate the property as everyone I called was warned not to take part in this piece of property for conflicting interest reasons...lawyers, realtors, appraisers.

The more I learn, the more I believe that Sam has been scammed beyond repair, a 'victim of designing persons, I believe that's called. The price of the contract is not the issue at hand here, although it's only about 25% of the real value of the property. The issue here is the way the 2 men have been conducting business, with the contacts they have and the elderly man who is not versed in the lingo that the lawyers and realtors use. Sam is of sound mind, but if one is not familiar with the terminology used by the courts, anyone can get confused and occasionally needs things interpretted so they may clearly understand. Which, everyone knows, is a tactic often used to confuse people when it's in their best interest to keep them confused.

It was clear to me trying to find help for Sam, that too many have their hands in each other's pockets around here and the 'good old boy' network holds strong when the right people have enough to gain.

One phone call led to another and I found myself on the phone with the AttourneyGeneral's office, we filed a complaint with the investigator. I also called the Del. Adult Protective Services Div. and filed a complaint. It's very hard to stand by and watch Sam lose everything he's worked for his entire life without trying to do what I can to help.

This is robbery and intimidation of our elderly, a WWII Veteran, and an honest, hard working American Citizen who is being scammed, and it's wrong. The 2 businessmen, we've learned, have built their reputations on scamming and swindling elderly people and even though it's common knowledge, they are still allowed to go about their business in this way.

Cheating, lying and stealing for personal gain are unethical business practices, even when the deal will benefit 1 out of every 20 Sussex County residents. To look the other way when it comes to how the land was obtained as long as in the end the deal fills their pockets.

The laws for protecting the elderly should be more strict when it comes to vultures like these.

This was I story posted a few months ago, attempting to get some press time for this 'Sam' and attempting to get some help for him. He's still battling this Good Ol' Boy system.

By BUDDY on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 12:55 am:


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