Nearly 2,500 Sussex County residents responding to a survey on trees overwhelmingly support additional regulations to protect forests and woodlands from encroachment by development, according to Sussex Preservation Coalition.
President Jane Gruenebaum said 99% of the respondents said Sussex County government must establish standards and requirements for the protection of forests and woodlands.
Currently, Sussex County is the only surrounding jurisdiction in Delaware and Maryland without such protections.
The coalition conducted an online survey in August and September to gauge public sentiment and provide the data to Sussex County Council as it begins a review of several ordinance provisions, including forest protection and buffer zones between developments.
The council and the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission will have a joint workshop at 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center at the airport. The meeting is open to the public, but there will be no public comment opportunities.
“People who responded to the SPC survey are sending a clear message to the council: The time for meaningful change is now. “The council must take this opportunity to strengthen protections for forests, and woodlands,” Gruenebaum said.
There were 2,487 people who responded to the 10 questions on The Importance of Trees in Sussex County survey. The first nine questions were fact-based statements about the importance of trees. The results are available at sussexpreservationcoalition.org.
The final question stated, “Sussex County must establish standards and requirements for the planting of trees and protection of woodlands because it is recognized that woodlands and trees are not only desirable, but are also essential to the health, safety and welfare of the population.”
Of the 2,465 people responding to that question, 2,302 said it was extremely important, 135 said it was important, 15 said it was somewhat important and 13 said it was not important.
More than 300 of the respondents provided additional comments on the survey question. Comments included:
“Please establish standards and regulations and insist that developers adhere to them. Do not allow mitigation practices.”
“The amount of trees being cut down is crazy. It needs restrictions. They want to cut down 180 acres of trees down our road to put in houses. No thank you!”
“I agree with all these questions. It is extremely important we save the trees and wooded areas of Sussex County. If I wanted to live in a concrete jungle, I would be in the city!”
“Sussex County must stop developers from clear-cutting trees in preparing land for housing for all of the reasons stated above. Mature trees should be preserved.”
“The county needs to catch up with standards which have been developed in other parts of the United States and modern nations over the last 50 years.”