Cluster ordinance, small farms on Sussex council minds

After concerns are raised, issues could surface on future county agendas
October 9, 2020

Among Yogi Berra's famous quotes is, “It ain’t over till it's over.” That was the case at the Oct. 6 Sussex County Council meeting.

Although there is a section for council members' comments near the end of each agenda, it's rare that any comments are made.

However, two councilmen chimed in with ideas for future agenda items. Councilman Irwin “I.G.” Burton of Lewes said he and Councilman Doug Hudson of Dagsboro worked together to help pass a cluster ordinance for land in agricultural-residential zoned districts, but didn't get a chance to finish their work. “It was our intent to look at a cluster ordinance in development districts,” Burton said. “COVID hit and we stalled, and now we have an election. But we still have a county to run.”

Burton requested staff research the proposal for discussion at a later meeting. “We can put something together,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson.

Then Council President Mike Vincent of Seaford said he would like to discuss an issue that has been on his mind for a long time. “On AR-1 land of less than 5 acres, how many animals can someone have on their property? What is the impact on neighbors?” he asked. “We need to look at the numbers and adjust them or adjust the acreage.”

Vincent hinted he's aware of violations of the current code.

Currently, according to code, the same numbers of animals apply to a parcel just under 5 acres as a 1-acre parcel.

On less than 5 acres, a property owner can have up to four cattle, eight sheep, eight goats and eight hogs. Other permitted uses include truck gardens; orchards; nurseries; temporary seasonal sales stands; private stables for horses; cattle, sheep, goats or poultry for personal use; and commercial greenhouses. A property owner can raise up to 99 chickens before the operation is considered commercial.

Lawson said staff can provide information on what code allows and place the matter on a future agenda for discussion.



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