Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

County OKs Boatyard
in Seaford Subdivision

By KERIN MAGILL
SC Online Content Editor

GEORGETOWN -- Despite concerns about setting a precedent for land uses in subdivisions, Sussex County Council voted 3-2 to give permission for a resident of a Seaford area subdivision to operate a boat repair and sales business on 2.47 acres he owns on two lots in the subdivision.

In voting to approve the conditional use application by Boyd Taylor at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2002, the council went against the recommendation of its Planning and Zoning Commission, which voted 5-0 on July 11 to recommend denial of Taylor's application.

When it came up for a vote by county council, councilmen Dale Dukes, Finley Jones and Vance Phillips voted for the approval, while council members George Cole and Lynn Rogers voted against it.

The planning commission recommended denial of the application based on concerns about such a business being allowed in a residential subdivision. The business is located on Griffith Drive in Craig's Mill Heights, off Sussex Road 556 south of Seaford.

Commission member Robert Wheatley, who made the motion to deny the application, said he worried approving the application would set a bad precedent.

Cole said he had similar concerns.

"Our first priority should be to protect the property values of the people that live in the subdivision," he said.

Cole added that he believes it would be "clearly wrong" to allow a commercial use on a private road.

A neighbor of Taylor's, who lived across the street, said at a public hearing on June 27 that customers sometimes pulled into his driveway thinking it was Taylor's.

Donald Ferreira said vehicles towing boats to Taylor's business block his driveway, that he retired to the area to get away from business uses, and that the business is a nuisance to neighbors.

Dukes, however, said he had reviewed the application and found that "it would not be a nuisance to the neighborhood." Dukes said most of Taylor's business would be off-site, on customers' properties, and that the use would be a temporary measure until Taylor can find a suitable location to rent.

One stipulation by council, however, would allow Taylor to store up to 12 boats on the property. Another requires Taylor to build a 3,000 square foot building to conduct his boat repair work by Jan. 1, 2004.

Dukes and Phillips said the conditions placed on the conditional use by council would protect the interests of other property owners in the subdivision.

Taylor had been operating the business without a conditional use permit for about a year before he was cited for the violation of county regulations.

Among the other conditions approved by council were:

  • Construction of a 50-foot-by-60-foot building by Jan. 1, 2004 in which the boat work will be conducted;
  • Screening boats in storage from the view of neighboring properties;
  • Proper storage of fuel and oil;
  • Hours of operation set by the council with no Sunday hours;
  • No display of boats for sale; and
  • Review of site plan for the building by county council.

Taylor will be allowed to erect a sign, no larger than 6 square feet, on the premises.

The conditional use expires Jan. 1, 2007, at which time Taylor must reapply if he wants to continue the boat business.

In Other Business ...
  • Sussex County Council will not meet Tuesday, Aug. 20 because of the council's annual summer break. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 10 a.m.

  • County Council approved a request for an additional $2.205 million from the state Revolving Fund for the Cedar Neck sewer project. Finance Director David Baker said the money would be used if needed for additional costs incurred in the project, which is expected to cost about $14.6 million. Most of the financing for the project come from state and county grants. The project has been divided into five contracts in an effort to bring in smaller firms and to make it a more feasible project for firms to handle.

  • The state Department of Transportation will hold another workshop meeting on proposed improvements to Route 54 west of the current construction project on Aug. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Roxana Fire Hall on Route 20.

  • Council approved the following grant requests:
    • Boy Scouts of America Delmarva Council Inc. -- $1,250;
    • New Life Ministries -- Council deferred for two weeks a request for $500 for a back-to-school party for single-parent families;
    • Millsboro Fire Company Inc. -- $500 for its remodeling and expansion project;
    • Dagsboro Church of God -- $200 for a community youth center; and
    • Lower Sussex Little League -- $1,000 for costs associated with its trip to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in Bristol, Conn.

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