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Improve our roads before new houses are built

July 30, 2019

Recent land-use decisions before county council or the planning and zoning commission have been delayed because the applicant had not received information from Delaware Department of Transportation.

A development near Nassau Bridge, where 168 apartments are proposed, and Keastone Bay, where 651 residential units are proposed, will have major impacts on surrounding communities and more broadly on everyone who uses our primary arteries, Route 1 and Route 24. Complete, detailed information about how these projects will affect traffic should be required and publicly available before any plan can be presented to county officials for approval. 

It was not.

In the case of Keastone Bay, the planning and zoning commission left the record open to receive input from DelDOT.

Once it is submitted, the public has 15 days to comment.

This turns the whole concept of public comment on its head. 

The public cannot effectively comment on a project if traffic information is not complete and not available. Citizens should not be expected to monitor when reports from DelDOT are submitted and then analyze complex traffic impact studies in only 15 days.

In the case of Overbrook Meadows, also off Route 1, in response to safety concerns, county officials limited building permits to 20 before certain road improvements were complete. But an agreement worked out privately between the developer and DelDOT – with no opportunity for public comment –  allows 175 homes to be built before improvements are complete. 

This closed door process leaves the impression DelDOT is more worried about paying for an overpass it wants than it is about safety concerns raised by people living near these projects.

Sussex council and planning and zoning commission should require all traffic studies be available for public review before a public hearing can be scheduled, and citizens must have a seat at the table when DelDOT negotiates with developers.

To truly have a voice on road improvements, Sussex County Council must adopt an ordinance requiring traffic improvements before any more houses are built.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, 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.

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