Letter: Sussex councilman seeks input on clusters

March 5, 2019

On Feb. 26, I introduced a change to the cluster ordinance. The current cluster subdivision allows for 7,500-square-foot lots without providing superior design elements as defined in our code. This ordinance would change this to a mandatory requirement, if the developer chooses to use the cluster subdivision design.

Examples of the elements in the code, which define the words superior design are the following: 30 percent of the required open space must be one contiguous tract of land. Preservation of existing wetlands, waterways, wildlife corridors, farmlands and woodlands must be taken into account in the design phase of the subdivision. A minimum of a 25-foot setback from all wetlands. Removal of healthy trees shall be limited, and scenic views should be preserved to the greatest extent possible.

Understanding every property is different, not all the elements will apply to all subdivisions. Because of this, the discretion of the subdivision meets the superior design standards will be the interpretation of the elements stated in code as it pertains to the site plan. The governing body of the approval process will determine this decision.

The proposed ordinance does not change the allowable density per acre. It will, however, create community designs preserving the natural features of Sussex County.

This ordinance was suggested in the 2008 comprehensive land use plan and is suggested in the 2018 comprehensive land use plan. I feel this change is long overdue, and look forward to public input.

I.G. Burton
Sussex County councilman


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