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Editorial: Let the pros propose buffer solutions

September 28, 2018

“In the search lies the solution.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

Sussex County is having very important conversations about buffers and open space, density, wildlife habitat, congestion and property rights. All are critical issues as we contemplate the future of our county.

One thing we don’t have to worry about is whether we will have growth. Sussex County, with its preponderance of agricultural/residential zoning and abundant natural amenities, is prime territory for development and all of its challenges. Along with the rapid in-migration we’re now experiencing, political pressure from new residents is also intensifying. More and more groups are organizing for reasonable changes to current policies that can help preserve some of the quality of life that attracted them in the first place.

These are thoughtful people with legitimate concerns and ideas. There are answers to satisfy all the concerns, but getting to them must involve the professionals.

Sussex County Council members and planning commission members, while discussing issues, must instruct their professional staff to come forward with proposals that will increase buffer widths for water quality and habitat protection while in the process addressing property rights concerns.

One solution would be to increase buffers but allow density levels to be retained by moving them to remaining developable property. If increasing buffer widths results in the loss of, say, 10 lots on buildable land, then add those lots to the permitted density on the remaining buildable land.

It’s time to get the pros involved to come up with workable and actionable solutions - now. That’s what they’re hired for. Let’s allow them to do their jobs for everyone’s benefit.

  • 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.