Maintaining Sussex in the midst of growth

February 22, 2013

Sussex County’s economy is on the rise. According to the Sussex County Association of Realtors, sales county­wide in the final quarter of 2012 pushed ahead of sales in the same quarter a year earlier. County transfer taxes are also running ahead, and the general buzz on the street confirms heightened activity.

Is anyone expecting a high spike this year and next in housing sales and construction and all the as­sociated ripple effect? No one is going that far. Despite a relatively exuberant stock market, there is still much uncertainty in Washington D.C. It’s hard to tell how federal budget cuts will affect our resort area which has benefited handsomely and historically from all the folks around the capital coming to the beach.

The general sense is we will experience several years of slow but steady growth. Del­marva Power’s Chief Executive Officer Gary Stockbridge said the company’s economists, when thinking about electricity infrastructure over the next several years, are planning ac­cording to that same projection.

In Sussex, be­cause of our low taxes, lenient zoning, beaches and other natural amenities, we should expect somewhat stronger growth than surrounding counties and states.

The challenge to Sussex continues to be maintaining and enhancing a culture that places so much value on outdoor activities and beautiful natural areas in the midst of development pressure.

We need to protect wooded corridors and wetlands that surround the hundreds of streams in Sussex and nurture wildlife that enriches our lives. We need to protect our hedgerows and the quality of our waterways.

To do this, we must develop a park mental­ity toward the whole county. How can we encourage more and more people to visit and live here while not spoiling the park? Even more so, how can we make the park even nic­er?

The answer is taking an urban approach that recognizes the importance of planning, preserving and enhancing our green infra­structure while we build the schools, roads, and water and wastewater systems that will continue to make Sussex a place where people want to visit, live and raise their families.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.

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