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Sussex turns deaf ear on Hudson Road danger

September 28, 2017

Hudson Road is not very safe. It's a narrow two-lane road with deep drainage ditches on either side. Throw in a few blind curves and you get the picture. Throw in a lot of traffic and drivers who think they are in a high-speed action movie and you get the title – "Dangerous Road."

We live on Hudson Road. We bought a piece of property and built a home with a barn off to the side. We love our home. We love our location. We fear leaving our driveway. We never back out onto Hudson Road, and we never let our guests back out onto Hudson Road.

We don't ride our bicycles along Hudson Road. We drive them to a safe location where we can bicycle in safety. We don't ride our bicycles on Route 1 for the same reason, but I would choose Route 1 to ride a bicycle on over Hudson Road any day or any time.

Just this year we've had three deer killed in front of our home. Two of them were large adults.

The road in front of our home is the beginning of a straight run. If you exit our driveway heading south, you enter a blind curve. That blind curve is what makes our stretch of Hudson Road so dangerous. That blind curve is where the builders of a new development of 61 singlefamily homes want to put the only entrance and exit for their proposed development.

When we were building our home, I applied to the state for a permit to put a second driveway on our property. The driveway would have been for our barn.

The request was denied on the grounds it would be too dangerous and lead to extra traffic onto the road. Mind you, the only extra traffic would have been from us driving our van into and out of the barn's garage. Go figure.

There are some 90-plus acres directly behind our home. They include wetlands and a cemetery. They are heavily treed and are home for many wildlife species.

The building lots in this proposed development will be about three-quarters of an acre.

When I suggested to the Sussex Planning & Zoning Commission that I thought they should require single-family homes to have at least a one-acre building lot, the chairman admonished me and told me that the homes would each be on over one acre. He was simply dividing the number of proposed homes into the total acreage as opposed to looking at the actual size of each individual building lot. This was not complicated math, but it took another commissioner to explain it to him.

When I said people will die on Hudson Road if you have a single way in and out of the proposed development located on a blind curve, the chairman told me that wasn't their concern. He pointed out that DelDOT makes all decisions about the suitability of where roads are placed.

I did manage to get a smile out of the chairman when I pointed out that they were the ones to approve the permit and that if people died it would be on their heads, and that I would be back to tell them about it. I wouldn't have thought the image of people dying in car crashes was humorous.

I also pointed out that in a fire emergency if there was a spreading fire in a heavily treed development with 61 homes and one road in and out there might be a problem getting the people out and the firefighting equipment in.

The chairman told me this was up to the fire department to decide.

I have never been to one of these hearings before. It was not encouraging. I don't know if what I watched was typical. I do know
it was less than enlightening.

Aside from the obvious passingthe- buck responses, there was not much discussion. Two other people shared their concerns. We
went because we had gotten a letter advising us of the hearing. We got a letter because our property borders the proposed development.

The others who spoke got similar letters. The rest of the world was notified by a tiny sign near the ditch on the heavily treed blind curve on Hudson Road where the entrance to the proposed development would be.

I doubt anyone saw that sign. It was leaning over and hard to read from the road unless you came to a full stop in front of it and put your head outside the window - not something I would advise on that stretch of road.

Brendan Buschi
Milton

 

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