Sussex County Delaware

Council Takes
No Action on
Harness Request

Sussex County Council ...

Waiting for P&Z

P&Z Recommends Denial of Harness Request

Special to Sussex County Online

GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Council made no decision on the request for a conditional use by the owners of the Seacoast Speedway that would allow them to hold harness races at the race car track on U.S. 113 south of Georgetown.

At a hearing following its regular council meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2000, council decided to wait for a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning commission before making its own decision.

The Planning & Zoning Commission failed to reach a decision at its own public hearing on May 4. The issue is on the commission's agenda for Thursday, May 25. The deadline for the commission's recommendation is June 13.

The speedway's owners, Bunnie and Al Williams, want to hold harness horse racing at the track for two months each summer. They would build a harness track, grandstand, paddock, and wagering facilities.

About 70 opponents of the request squared off against a dozen supporters at the council hearing. Opponents presented 750 letters against the proposal while supporters presented 300 letters of their own.

Opponents to the conditional use request have cited increased noise and traffic at the track, their opposition to a gambling establishment in the county, and the possibility that slot machines would eventually be added as was the case at the Dover Downs and Harrington harness tracks.

The Williams say they have no plans to put slot machines in but opponents say the conditional use, if approved, would allow them to without going back to council for approval.

Airport Receives $200,000

The Sussex County Airport will receive a $200,000 entitlement grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Robert "Bob" Stickels, Sussex County Administrator.

The money will be added to the $11,111 committed from the State of Delaware and used to purchase an emergency generator, a snow plow, emergency lighting, and an airport runway sweeper.

The generator will be used as the power supply for the emergency lighting that will be installed for Runways 4-22, 13-31 and Taxiway 'A.'

The airport runway sweeper will minimize deicing fluid runoff from aprons surrounding the infield grass and reduce debris on the runway, according to Stickels.

Radio equipment rounds out the bulk of the purchases to be made using the grants. The total cost of this project is $222,222 and is included in the $2.5 million airport budget for Fiscal Year 2001.

Stickels was notified of the grant approval by U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Prime Hook May Be Expanded

The US Fish and Wildlife Service sent notice to the Sussex County Council outlining its interesting in expanding the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge by 381 acres.

The parcels -- one group near Route 1 along Rt. 234 and the other along Rt. 16 east of Rt. 1 -- are mostly crop field farms and forested lands.

More than one half of the Delmarva Fox Squirrel population lives on those properties. The fox squirrel is on the federal endangered species list, according to a letter sent from Andrew C. French, realty officer, on behalf of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Other wildlife creatures that migrate to the area include wood ducks, black ducks, pintail, winged green teal and snow geese, with a majority of the waterfowl supported by the freshwater marsh.

The dune complex that lies within the region provides nesting areas for the nighthawks and the beach vicinity provides shorebirds food.

If the properties are purchased by the federal government, the county and affected school district will receive a set payment from the government.

In Other News, Council ...
  • Approved the Georgetown/Ellendale Sanitary Sewer District Wastewater Treatment agreement. The 40-year contract can be broken by either party providing both agree, according to Russell W. Archut, assistant county engineer. Construction on the sewer district will begin in February 2001 and the county expects to start discharging to the Georgetown plant April 1 of the same year.

  • Approved the expansion of the James Farm to include 20 acres located on the opposite side of the road from the current project. The property will be re-wooded with the exception of 150 feet that will be a grass strip for additional parking.
No Meeting May 30 ...

There will be no county council meeting on Tuesday, May 30, 2000. County council will meet next on Tuesday, June 6, 2000.

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