Sussex County Delaware

Carper Recognized
for 'Smart Growth'

From the Governor's Office ...

DOVER -- Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper has received the 1999 Distinguished Leadership Award for an Elected Official from the American Planning Association for "his vision and recognition of the role of planning in formulating public policy."

The Delaware chapter of the association presented Gov. Carper with the national award at the Dover Sheraton on Monday, Nov. 8, 1999.

"This is a great honor, but many people for virtually every part of the state have worked together for one common goal -- smart growth," Gov. Carper said. "Thanks to the General Assembly and many others, we have been able to preserve natural areas and manage development through better land planning. Our accomplishments reflect one of the unique characteristics about our state -- people working together for a better Delaware."

From 1983 to 1994, Delaware lost 48,000 acres of farmland as the state's population soared. With a projected 20 percent population increase expected by 2020, Delaware faced the possibility of losing additional farmlands.

To reverse the trend, Gov. Carper said he created the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues in 1994. The cabinet members were responsible for land use concerns to develop a state-wide land use strategy and work with municipalities and counties to implement the plan.

In 1995, Gov. Carper signed the Shaping Delaware's Future Act, requiring counties to submit comprehensive plans and mandating that the state provide help to guide counties in land use decisions.

Gov. Carper said Delaware now leads the nation in agricultural land preservation with more than 37,000 acres permanently protected and more than 100,000 acres protected in agricultural preservation districts for at least the next 10 years.

With support from the General Assembly, Gov. Carper said he has been able to preserve more than 18,000 acres of open space greenways, nature preserves and local parks.

"Governor Carper's efforts at coordinating state agencies to tackle land use issues offers proof that the planning profession can improve our world," said Dennis Gordon, chairman of the APA awards jury. "With Governor Carper's leadership, Delaware has shown the nation what smart growth can accomplish."

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