Huxtable’s HB104 vote was the correct one

September 15, 2023

I support Sen. Russ Huxtable’s no vote on House Bill 104.

A key opportunity for members of the public to participate in land-use decisions was the formation of the Preliminary Land-Use Service. PLUS operates out of the Office of State Planning Coordination. Its mission is to help coordinate the work of state agencies and project developers before major land-use changes come before local governments. HB104 streamlines the process and eliminates the PLUS process for designated projects.  

Given the uncontrolled growth in Sussex, the lack of reasonable zoning law enhancements to protect forests by eliminating clear-cutting, and protecting wetlands and marshlands by requiring larger buffers (proposed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, among others, but not yet adopted by Sussex Country Council) would argue for move oversight, not less.

The state should be protecting the PLUS process. The PLUS process provides a chance for the public to weigh in on large development projects. According to HB104, an economic development project creating full-time jobs, consistent with local comprehensive plans and ordinances, and located at least partially in State Investment Levels 1 or 2, will no longer have to go through PLUS. 

Hardly a wise decision to remove the PLUS process. Delaware should be enforcing oversight, not streamlining a process for developers.

Robert Laughman
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