Sussex County Delaware

Council Remands
Denial by P&Z

 
Sussex County Council ...

Sends Sussex Ventures
Decision Back to P&Z

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online Publisher

GEORGETOWN -- In an unusual move, Sussex County Council remanded a Planning & Zoning Commission decision back to the commission in the appeal of Sussex Ventures, Inc. on Tuesday, July 31, 2001.

After reviewing the evidence in the case for the past three weeks, council voted 3-1, with Councilman Vance Phillips voting no and Council President Dale Dukes on vacation, to send the denial back to Planning & Zoning to start the process again.

Planning & Zoning voted 4-0 on April 5 to deny the preliminary plan for Sussex Ventures' proposed Country Meadows subdivision.

That decision was appealed by Donald Ward of Sussex Ventures Inc. Ward wants to build a 71-lot subdivision in the Mount Joy area of the county on 82.61 acres of farmland zoned AR-1 south of Road 297 and west of Route 30.

The commissioners cited the loss of farmland and open space on the 82.61-acre parcel zoned AR-1, plans to provide only one entrance to the subdivision, safe vehicle movement due to the length of the entrance road and a turnaround in the middle of it, and the impact of the development on area roads.

The development has been opposed by the Mount Joy Citizens for Concerned Growth. They were represented in the appeal by attorney David Weidman. The group's main concern has been the location of the project's entrance near a curve on the main road serving the area and stormwater runoff on a property that already has standing water on it after rainstorms.

Sussex Ventures was represented in the appeal by attorney John Sergovic. Sergovic argued whether the county has ever used farmland preservation as a reason for denial in the past and said DelDOT insisted that the development have only one entrance.

After much discussion on Tuesday and a recommendation from County Solicitor Eugene Bayard to remand the decision, County Administrator Robert L. Stickels moved that council remand the decision and advise the commission to apply the provisions of Ordinance 99-9-C in making their decisions.

Council members George Cole, Finley B. Jones and Lynn Rogers voted to remand the decision.

"I'm not in favor of how we got the information," said Rogers. "It makes our legal defense very weak. I have to take the advice of legal counsel by sending it back to them (commissioners) to have these questions answered."

In voting no, Phillips said he believed the commissioners did provide enough evidence to justify the denial. A previous motion by Phillips to uphold the denial died for lack of a second. As part of his motion, Phillips also recommended tha Planning & Zoning specifically reference Ordinance 99-C-C.

"I think Planning & Zoning needs to be given some degree of autonomy in these cases," said Phillips.

IRHS Sewer Annexation ...

Council voted 4-0 to execute a Memorandum of Understanding and allow the county's engineering department to prepare and post notices for annexation of the new Indian River High School property into the Dagsboro-Frankford Sanitary Sewer District.

Under the MOU, the Indian River School District will be obligated to oversize some of the high school's sewer facilities to facilitate the eventual serving of adjacent properties, turn the facilities over to the county to operate, pay all necessary connection, service and front footage fees, and provide perpetual easements for the county to operate the system.

The county would be obligated to maintain the system to its usual specifications.

In addition, while a development between the new high school and the existing boundaries of the district will not be included in the annexation, the system will be designed to handle that development in the event residents there desire to be served with county sewer.

Habitat for Humanity Lease ...

Council voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity for a 40,000 square foot warehouse on the former Angola Landfill.

County Administrator Robert L. Stickels said the lease will be for five years with two five-year options contingent on approval by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Stickels said the county has no use for the property anymore and that it would help Habitat for Humanity meet its goal of building four homes per year.


Sewer Agreements ...

Council unanimously passed the following construction administration and construction inspection agreements for sewer hookups for the following developments:

  • Wedgefield -- The agreement allows Wedgefield, located on County Road 84 across from the Bear Trap subdivision, to begin sewer in the road right-of-way but not on the property. In the Ocean View expansion of the Bethany Beach Sanitary Sewer District. Developed by Gulfstream Development Corp.

  • Southhampton -- For Phase IV directly in front of the entrance to the sewer plant. The developer pays $116,586 for connection charges and $187,000 for construction charges. Construction expected to take 75 days. In the Bethany Beach Sanitary Sewer District.

  • Villages of Old Landing -- For the extension of Phase I of the development on Old Landing Road. 44-single family lots in the West Rehoboth Sanitary Sewer District. Developer pays $129,776 in connection fees and $50,000 in construction costs. Developed by Atlantic Land Co LLC.

  • The Reserves -- For Phase I, consisting of six single-family lots within the town limits of Ocean View. Developer pays $9,354 in connection charges and $63,690 in construction costs and $9,353 for inspection fees. Construction expected to take 10 days. Developed by Abraham Korotki.

Proposed Zoning Ordinances ...

Council heard the introduction of the following proposed zoning ordinances:

  • Softball World III -- Proposed conditional use in an AR-1 District for an athletic facility for a softball camp on 95 acres in the Georgetown Hundred. Developer is Wallace P. Townsend Jr.

  • Motel Facilities -- Proposed conditional use in an AR-1 District for additional motel facilities including parking and wastewater expansion on 8.374 acres in the Seaford Hundred. Developer is Donald B. Phillips.

  • Skydive Delmarva -- Proposed conditional use in an AR-1 District for parking for 10 mobile campers and RV trailers on 52 acres in Little Creek Hundred.

  • Beaver Creek LLC -- Proposed rezoning from AR-1 to AR-1 RPC on 133 acres in the Broadkill Hundred.

In Other Business ...
  • Council unanimously approved a rezoning from GR multi-family to single-family detached requested by Randy Burton. The request was approved with eight conditions including that the number of dwelling units on the 1.61-acre parcel in the Lewes-Rehoboth Hundred not exceed seven. Councilman Lynn Rogers, in voting yes, said he believed the conditions satisfied the concerns expressed by the Planning & Zoning Commission and the surrounding community.

  • After a request from Councilman Vance Phillips, council asked County Administrator Robert L. Stickels to gather information on Transferrable Development Rights programs in other areas. Councilman George Cole reiterated statements he made last week that any TDR program should be tried on the western side of Route 113 "because western Sussex County needs (more) density. I see no benefit to coastal Sussex County ever being involved in this."

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • Delmarva Council of the Boy Scouts of America -- $1,250 for program expenses.
    • Bridgeville Apple-Scrapple Festival -- $650 for operating expenses.
    • Oak Orchard Riverdale Civic Association -- $250 for civic celebration and parade.
    • Indian River Volunteer Fire Co. Inc. -- $50 for Basket Bingo Fundraiser.
    • University of Delaware Kent County Cooperative Extension -- $200 for Prevention Day.
    • H.O. Brittingham Elementary School -- $200 for the PTO's PARTNERS program.
    • Milton Development Corporation -- $100 for the Milton Theater Restoration Project.
    • Midshore Girls Softball -- $100 for a team banner for the NSA World Series.
    • Town of Bridgeville -- $500 for repairs and renovations to the town hall.
    • Seaford Police Department -- $500 for Seaford's Annual Night Out.

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