Election gives voters a voice on need for county planner

September 2, 2014

After a hectic summer, Rehoboth’s Boardwalk and Route 1 were nearly empty Sept. 1.

Still, Labor Day weekend crowds seemed to rival the busiest beach weekends.

Umbrellas shaded every inch of shoreline from Deauville to Dewey, and parking slots were hard to find anywhere along Route 1.

Tourism is critical to our Sussex County economy, rivaled only, as far as county revenues are concerned, by building-related income such as transfer taxes and permit fees. The Cape Region’s two revenue streams, however, are on a collision course: the more people choose to live here, the more crowded our roads, shopping centers, and beaches will be when tourists arrive.

Lewes City Council recently hired a profes­sional planning consultant to provide expert assistance as the city looks forward.

But so far, Sussex County has shown no clear initiative to hire a planner even though the position has been at least partially funded for years.

Developers hire experts to detail and pres­ent their plans, which undergo review by state agencies.

But the final decision on whether a pro­posed project goes forward is in the hands of Sussex County Council – yet the people of Sussex County have no professional voice representing their interests.

Today’s development decisions are compli­cated, with many competing interests, and as more and more land is developed, these inter­ests only become more difficult to assess.

It is pure arrogance for council to believe it can make good decisions without a paid, professional planner whose job it is to guide development of a vision for the future, assess­ing the impact of every project in a way that allows growth while also ensuring council protects the interests of the people who live here.

If there’s one question voters in this year’s council primary and general election should ask, it’s which candidate will be most effective in hiring a professional to plan for and repre­sent the interests of Sussex County residents.


  • 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; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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