Sussex County Delaware

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Sussex County Council ...

Council Remands
Zoning Decision

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online Publisher

GEORGETOWN -- In its continuing attempt to further refine the decision-making process regarding land use decisions, Sussex County Council, for the second time in as many months, remanded a denial by the county's Planning and Zoning Commission at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2001.

Council voted 4-0, with Council President Dale Dukes abstaining, to remand a decision by the commission to deny an application by Gary Watson to rezone 41.86 acres in an AR-1 District into 37 lots.

The application was denied by the commission on Aug. 28, 2001, due to concerns about adjacent poultry houses, that a previously approved subdivision on the property had never been built, and the current maintenance of the property.

Watson appealed the decision to county council, which, besides remanding the decision, could also have upheld the decision or reversed it.

Council agreed with County Solicitor Eugene Bayard's recommendation that the decision be remanded back to Planning and Zoning for better reasoning for legal purposes.

Bayard said that while there may be sufficient reasons for denying the application, those presented by the commission were insufficient.

Bayard said that poultry houses will always be near proposed subdivisions in Sussex County, that many other approved subdivisions have never been built, and that the current upkeep of the property is irrelevant because the application is designed to change that condition.

"In my view, I haven't seen a sufficient statement of reason by the commission," said Bayard. "I'm sure there are sufficient reasons for the decision, but they have not been well-expressed."

Bayard said the commission should look to the 17 criteria for approving subdivisions established by council in its subdivision ordinance for its reason for the denial.

Phillips moved that council remand the decision with the understanding that council doesn't necessarily disagree with the commission's decision.

He also asked council for permission to send a letter to the commission stating council's desire that the commission restrict its reasoning for future decisions to the 17 criteria established in the subdivision ordinance. Council agreed to send the letter.

Dagsboro Sewer Extension Approved ...

Council unanimously approved the extension of the Dagsboro-Frankford Sanitary Sewer District to include Delaware Avenue Extended south of Frankford.

Assistant County Engineer Russell Archut told council that notices had been posted on Nov. 7 and mailed to property owners and the Town of Frankford at that time.

Archut said a majority of the 13 property owners on the west side of Delaware Avenue and 2 property owners on the east side of the street favored the extension of the district.

Archut said the project will cost $491,879 and that the Rural Development Agency said it could fund about 75 percent of such a project.

Archut said application has already been made for such funding and that the county continues to seek other funding, as well, to reduce the Delaware Avenue property owners' charges to the level of current Dagsboro-Frankford customers.


Skydive CU Approved ...

Council unanimously approved a conditional use in an AR-1 District for parking for 10 recreational vehicles on the Skyline Delmarva Inc. property on 52 acres northwest of Route 24 and northeast of Route 494.

Council approved a maximum of 10 parking spaces along with 10 other stipulations including restricting the camping period from April 1 to Nov. 30, requiring that holding tanks be dumped off-site by a private hauler, screening of the camping area, and periodic review by the county's Planning and Zoning staff to ensure compliance.

In voting yes, Phillips said he believed the new conditional use would "be an improvement to the current situation out there."

Councilman Lynn Rogers also voted yes based on followups on previous code violations on the property.

The application was an expansion of a previous conditional use on the property for the sky diving operation.

In Other Business ...
  • County Administrator Robert L. Stickels reminded council of upcoming Comprehensive Land Use Planning meetings in preparation for updating the plan by October 2002. The first will be Thursday, Dec. 6, 2001, at Seaford Fire Hall for the communities of Seaford, Blades, Bethel, and Laurel. County staff will meet with officials from those towns from 3-5 p.m. The public is invited to present their own comments from 5-7 p.m. and hear a formal presentation from county staff at 5:30 p.m. Other meetings will be held at the South Coastal Library on Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 12, for the communities of Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Ocean View and Millville and at Millsboro Civic Center on Thursday, Dec. 20, for the communities of Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Selbyville, Dagsboro, Frankford, Millsboro and Delmar.

  • Council set a date for a public hearing for the proposed South Ocean View Sanitary Sewer District of Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002, at Millville Fire Hall at 9 a.m. Assistant County Engineer Russell Archut told council that the county had received 61 valid petitions requesting that the county proceed with plans for the district. He added that preliminary engineering for the project is underway in conjunction with the proposed Miller Creek Sanitary Sewer District.

  • Stickels said a referendum on the proposed Miller Creek Sanitary Sewer District is set for Saturday, Dec. 8, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lord Baltimore Elementary School on Route 26 in Ocean View.

  • Stickels and County Finance Director David Baker asked council to defer the agenda item for accepting a bid on the Ellendale Sanitary Sewer District until the Dec. 11 council meeting. Stickels said bids came in $1.4 million over the the county engineering department's estimates and that the finance department is still trying to determine how to finance the project.

  • Council unanimously accepted a grant of $215,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for equipment to upgrade 35 pump stations in the Long Neck Sanitary Sewer District. County Engineer Michael Izzo said the grant will allow the county to upgrade 15 more stations than previously planned and save the county $100,000. Stickels credited county employees Steve Hudson and Brad Hawkes for their work in the grant application.

  • Stickels also reminded everyone that the burning ban declared by the Delaware State Fire Marshall remains in effect.

  • Council President Dale Dukes thanked those involved with planning the annual Caroling on The Circle and Food Drive on Monday, Dec. 3, 2001. Stickels said the event raised 15,194 items of food to be distributed among food pantries throughout the county.

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