Sussex County Delaware

More Smoke Detectors
for County's Homes?

Sussex County Council ...

Ordinance Would Require
More Detectors, Hard-Wiring

Sussex County Online Publisher

GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would bring the county up to current federal guidelines regarding the number and placement of smoke detectors in the county's homes.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2000, an ordinance was introduced to adopt Section 316 of the Council of American Building Officials Single Family Building Code.

The ordinance would require the county to adopt the 1995 CABO One and Two Family Building Code that requires smoke detectors be placed in each bedroom in addition to the smoke detectors already required by the previous code the county adopted in 1992.

Sussex County Administrator Robert L. Stickels told council that although it had adopted the 1992 code requiring that smoke detectors be placed outside of each separate sleeping area, the 1995 code included more stringent requirements that have been recommended by the Delaware State Fire Marshall and the Sussex County Volunteer Firemen's Association.

Council was told by Van Milligan, the county's building code supervisor, that the 1995 code included a requirement that smoke detectors be hard-wired and backed up by batteries.

The requirement would be for new construction or additions. In the case of additions, Milligan said a house would have to be brought completely up to code, including hard-wiring and battery backup, even if the addition, such as an enclosed porch, was not part of the sleeping area and bedrooms directly addressed by the ordinance.

Vacant Mobile Homes ...

Council heard a proposal from representatives of the First State Manufactured Housing Association to provide $8,000 a year to the county toward removing junk, abandoned mobile homes.

Andy Strine, president of the association, told council that the proposal was similar to a program now in effect in Kent County that has eliminated 100 eyesore mobile homes and has targeted another 100 for removal and disposal.

Strine said the county could use the money to pay for the time county employees put into breaking down the homes and hauling the parts to the landfill or to help homeowners who don't have the money to pay for their part of the removal.

Councilman George Cole said he appreciated the idea but wasn't crazy about subsidizing mobile home owners in their obligation to remove the abandoned homes. Councilman Vance Phillips said he thought it was "a great idea."

Stickels said the administration would like to look at the possibility of adding a county employee for the removal of the homes and that his goal is to get the program up and running by July 2001.

DelDOT Workshops ...

County Administrator Robert L. Stickels said the Delaware Department of Transportation will conduct two public workshops in the county.

The first will be Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Laurel Fire Hall from 4-8 p.m. as part of its study to develop a viable solution to truck traffic on Route 24. DelDOT has arrived at a final solution to the problem and will present that solution for discussion at the workshop.

The second workship will be Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 4-8 p.m. at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View to present planning for the Route 26 study and proposed improvements to several roads along Route 26.

The Route 26 improvements proposed include widening of existing roads to 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot paved shoulders and intersection improvements on Powell Farm Road (Road 365), Burbage Road (Road 353), Windmill Road (Road 352), Central Avenue (Road 84), and Beaver Dam Road (Road 368).

As part of the Route 26 study, DelDOT is also working with a group to identify the need to improve existing secondary roads to provide an alternative east-west route to the beaches, improve roadway conditions for local residents, and provide safer routes for bicyclists, Stickels said.

China Trip ...

Heather Sheridan, Director of Operations for the South Coastal Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, gave a half-hour presentation on her trip to China as part of the People to People Ambassadors Program.

Sheridan and 24 other delegates from around the country visited China from Oct. 6 to Nov. 8, 2000, to share ideas and offer assistance for water and wastewater treatment in the world's largest nation.

Sheridan said that after 20 years of robust economic growth, China is just beginning to come to terms with air and water pollution and is seeking advice on how to deal with those problems that affect the country's 1.3 billion people. She said no one is able to drink water in China.

China is also the site of one of the most controversial projects in the world right now, the $25 billion Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River.

The Yangtze splits the country in two and is an important travel route for the Chinese people. Plans are to build a 1 1/2-mile dam that will raise the river's level 600 feet and in the process displace 1.2 million people and 47 endangered species. Farmers displaced by the dam will be moved to the cities to become factory workers, she said.

Proponents of the project cite flood control in a region that has lost 300,000 people to floods in the last century, power generation, improved navigation, and a reduction in coal burning of 50 million tons per year.

In other business ...
  • Sussex County Administrator Robert L. Stickels said in his weekly report that the first assessment bills for the Holts Landing Sanitary Sewer District were mailed on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2000. The initial bills cover the period from Nov. 27, 2000 through June 30, 2001 and are billed at an assessment rate of $1.479 per billable front foot. Bills are due Feb. 28, 2001. The assessment rate covers interest and principal payments for the loans incurred for the construction of the transmission systems for the new sewer district. Stickels said the system is online and homes are being connected to it.

  • Twenty-seven individuals have been appointed to the Sussex County Airport Advisory Committee. Besides Stickels, Councilmen George Cole, Dale Dukes, Finley B. Jones, Vance Phillips and Lynn Rogers, the committee also includes Sussex County Engineer Michael A. Izzo, P.E., Sussex County Project Engineer Derek Sapp, and Betty Collins of the Emergency Operations Center. Also appointed are John Kenney of Georgetown Air Services, Sal Scarfi of Millsboro, Tony Amato of the Delaware Office of Aeronautics, Facilities Manager Ray Webb, Harry Van Den Heuvel of the Delaware Office of Aeronautics, Rob Patterson of American Aerospace, Mark Ryan of PATS, Walt Bryan, Tom Gollicker and Elmer R. Boyer Sr. of Lewes, Ira Hitchens, Merrill Moore, Pat VanAuken, Charles Pickering, Dick Swaim and Mark Headley, all of Georgetown, L. Byrd Whaley of Laurel, and Tom Nalls of Leesburg, Va. In addition, council unanimously approved a request from the Town of Georgetown to appoint Georgetown Mayor Bob Ricker or a designee of Ricker's to the committee.

  • Council deferred a decision on a change of zone by Harbour Towne Associates L.P. until councilman Finley B. Jones could be in attendance. Jones was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting due to a personal matter. Lawrence Lank, planning and zoning director for the county, said the planning commission deferred a decision on Oct. 31 to await a response from DelDOT regarding additional traffic impact studies and a study of the proposed entrance. Lank said DelDOT wrote on Nov. 16 that it would not need additional traffic studies and that it approved of the entrance for Savannah East.

  • Stickels also told council that the Friends of the Milton Public Library have been notified that the Longwood Foundation has agreed to a grant of $200,000 for the library's expansion. The funding, Stickels said, will be leveraged with the County Council's commitment of $300,000 and a State of Delaware commitent of $260,000.

  • Council unanimously approved a request from Council President Lynn Rogers that money from his councilmanic funds, not to exceed $300, be used to purchase a ceremonial flag for the color guard activities of the Sussex County Fire Police Association.

  • Stickels announced that two county employees, Raymond Townsend Sr. and Vicki Massey, both died during the weekend. Townsend, who died Dec. 1, served as a commissioner on the old Sussex County Levy Court. He was also a member of the Advisory Committee for Handicapped and Aging Citizens of Sussex County. Massey, who died Dec. 3, had been a Clerk III in the Recorder of Deeds Office. She had been a county employee since June 16, 1983.

  • Stickels presented council with a pair of $2,000 checks, one to go to the Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association for a memorial service and the other to go to the Sussex County Employee Benefits Committee.

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