Kim Hoey Stevenson not seeking another term on Sussex P&Z

Lewes resident stepping down from commission at end of June after six years
June 6, 2023

After serving for six years on the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, Kim Hoey Stevenson of Lewes is stepping down. She will serve to the end of June.

“I've done all that I can with the ordinances we have,” she said. “Somebody else might be more productive.”

Sussex County Council sets policies and introduces ordinances and amendments. Commission members must follow those ordinances.

District 3 Sussex County Councilman Mark Schaeffer of Lewes is responsible for appointing her replacement, who must be interviewed and approved by council. Schaeffer has indicated he will introduce Scott Collins, who lives on Warrington Road between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Commissioners serve three-year terms.

“I believe he will bring a new perspective to county planning, and represent the Third District with diligence and conviction,” Schaeffer said.

Ordinance changes

As she leaves, Hoey Stevenson has sent a letter to members of Sussex County Council outlining some ways the county's land-use regulations could be amended.

Preserving trees is the hot topic among residents right now. For example, Hoey Stevenson said, an ordinance uses the word “consider” when it comes to tree preservation. “They can change that by removing the regulation that every lot must be regraded, which leads to clear-cutting,” she said. “There are a lot of changes that could be made.”

During Hoey Stevenson's time on the commission, she championed more interconnectivity in developments. “I try to consider everyone, address problems and plan for the future,” she said.

“I thought I would be able to have a lot more influence. But we are only as good as the rules we have,” she added.

During her six years, she has witnessed a surge in citizen involvement in county land-use issues. “I'm excited and happy more people are getting involved and paying attention,” she said.

She has contacted developers, engineers, environmental groups, land trusts and nonprofits who are willing to serve on a committee to take a serious look at the ordinances pertaining to development.

“I'm hoping for better things,” she said. “I think we need some more flexibility.”

“I've heard that growth is out of control for 30 years. I complain about the traffic like everyone else,” she said. “But we can't tell somebody they can't sell or develop their property. But also, we can't give everything away; we can do better. We need to build neighborhoods and not just developments and subdivisions.”

Hoey Stevenson said being a commissioner requires a lot more time than simply attending meetings, and now she will be able to spend more time on her life's ambitions.

She heads up the Cape Henlopen School District mentoring program, has a family and is a Delaware Division of Arts emerging fellow for fiction writing. “The mentoring program is incredibly important, and I can focus more on my writing,” she said.

Hoey Stevenson, who has a long career as a journalist and freelance writer, came to the Sussex commission after serving on the Milford Planning Commission.


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