Keep preserving the corridor north of Route 1

February 5, 2021

The northeast side of Route 1 between Red Mill Pond and Milford has, for the most part, remained commercial-free over the past several decades. That bayshore corridor extends all the way to the state’s northern boundary in New Castle County. It includes large tracts of preserved prime farmland as well as federally managed and state-protected open space including Prime Hook and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges.

For drivers heading north and south on Route 1, those open vistas of extensive farmland, forests and marshes confirm one of the distinctive characteristics of Delaware: a state that for well over a century has consistently – through aggressive conservation and preservation action – shown how it values its natural environment.

That attitude and characteristic are vital parts of what is continuing to attract people to Sussex County, and why it’s so important to remain vigilant about maintaining that conservation and preservation mentality.

A recent rezoning hearing focused on proposed residential and commercial development on the 15-acre Chappell parcel at the northwest corner of the Route 1/Route 88 intersection. An interchange is planned for this intersection, as well as a large residential project on the north side of Route 1. While Sussex officials are still eyeing the proposed rezonings for the 15-acre Chappell parcel, which already has commercial and residential components, a speaker at the hearing noted that development of the parcel will no doubt increase pressure for further commercial development north of Route 1.

The greatest majority of the land in that bayshore corridor north of Route 1 is zoned for agriculture and residential development, both of which have open-space implications. Sussex County Council, in the past few years, denied a rezoning request for the land just north of the Route 1/Route 88 intersection to allow for development of a major shopping center.

Sussex County’s planners and council members need to continue sending out strong signals that they want no part of commercial development in that corridor north of Route 1 that is so important to Delaware’s character and identity.

  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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