Cool Spring proposal deserves intense review
“The zoning regulations and districts as herein established are designated and adopted in accordance with a Comprehensive Plan to promote, in accordance with the present and future needs, the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity and general welfare of the inhabitants of Sussex County, Delaware, including, among other things, the lessening of congestion in the streets or roads ...”
These words open the section on zoning in the Sussex County Code which sets out governing rules and regulations. We quote these and other sections from the code when they pertain to proposed actions.
Carl M. Freeman Companies has plans to build a major planned community on 539 contiguous acres in the area known as Cool Spring along Route 9 between Harbeson and Lewes. It’s no small notion to plan and build what amounts to a new town from the ground up with extensive residential, commercial, recreational and open-space components. Freeman is no stranger to large-scale development. Think Sea Colony and Bayside in southeastern Sussex.
This latest proposal is a continuation of the inevitable urbanization of Sussex. The highest hurdle to clear is convincing residents and county officials that required rezoning will not simply worsen existing Route 9 traffic congestion, watershed concerns, loss of forests and open space vital to a healthy environment, and other issues related to the general welfare of the county’s residents. Rather, the proposal should show how careful urban planning can not only result in no additional problems, but also address and improve existing issues. A tall order, but not impossible.
Freeman is calling for public comments and suggestions via its Coolspring.info website. The public will also have its say at public hearings required for rezonings.
The process is critical, especially in light of growing concerns and pressure from residents on elected officials related to rapid development. A Tuesday rally in Georgetown this week testifies to that heightened activism.
A proposal of Cool Spring’s magnitude deserves the intense examination it will receive to ensure that if it proceeds, it will be a credit – not a detriment – to Sussex County.