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Editorial: Council must move forward to enact its vision

January 15, 2019

Sussex County’s updated comprehensive land-use plan, adopted in December, is awaiting approval from the governor. Two years in the making, the 280-page plan offers a framework for the future, listing more than 100 strategies covering many aspects of land use, notably improving transportation, and promoting agriculture and economic development, to name a few.

Still, establishing the plan is really the first step in designing a blueprint for our future. The next step is to pass ordinances that implement the concepts outlined in the plan. It is essential for council to move ahead to establish priorities and a proposed timeline to ensure the work of the last two years results in updated ordinances that codify the plan’s vision.

In a press release, county officials outlined major initiatives suggested by the plan, including establishing a county-level transportation committee that would work with state officials to monitor, coordinate and prioritize road projects. This is an excellent idea that should be implemented as soon as possible to keep proposed transportation projects on track and ensure the most critical problems are addressed sooner, not later.

Officials also want to review and possibly overhaul county code to better protect wetlands, preserve forests and promote water quality. This, too is a great idea, to which we would add developing ordinances to protect our waterways from runoff and adopting an ordinance to require developers to contribute more to public infrastructure – the long-awaited adequate public facilities ordinance.

County officials also want to promote agriculture, which is critical to Sussex County’s vistas and culture – and, along with tourism and construction, a pillar of our economy. With farmland rapidly disappearing across the Cape Region, helping farmers stay on the farm must be a top priority for county officials.

These are a few of the strategies suggested by the plan. The most critical thing is for council to set priorities and get started on meeting them.

The hard work of establishing a vision is done. Now let’s start on the hard work of getting where we want to be.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, publisher emeritus, and Laura Ritter, news editor, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.