Phillips: Developers should pay for upzoning

Sussex councilman urges county to regulate trash, tire piles
April 1, 2014
Councilman Vance Phillips says developers who receive increased density in residential developments should pay a fee in return. SOURCE FILE

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson recently said county council agendas are getting light, so he suggested possibly combining agenda items and cutting out a few meetings.

Councilman Vance Phillips, R-Laurel, may have solved that problem on his own. At the end of the March 25 meeting, Phillips brought up three items for future council agendas.

Phillips said council should discuss a new ordinance requiring developers to pay a fee in exchange for an increase in density – or upzoning – in new housing projects. “The money could be placed in a conservation fund to raise money for land preservation so not as many acres are available for development,” he said.

Phillips said some developers are enjoying windfall profits from upzoned parcels. “Some of that money should go back to the public,” he said.

Phillips said council should also revisit previous action taken during the most recent budget negotiations that negated anniversary bonuses for county employees. He said several employees had approached him about the issue. “I'm the first to admit that I voted to take it away,” he said. “But I think morale has suffered because of it.”

Phillips said county staff has been reduced 10 percent over the past few years. “We are not in the dire straits we were four years ago,” he said.

Phillips also called for a better way to deal with large piles of discarded tires that have appeared throughout the county. In addition, he said, more and more people are complaining about discarded trash on Sussex backroads.

Phillips said traditionally, cleaning up tires and trash has fallen under state jurisdiction. “But it looks like nothing will get done unless we do it,” he said.

Phillips has filed as a candidate for re-election in District 5 this year. He has served on Sussex County Council for 16 years.

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