Sussex condemned for land-use vote

January 24, 2023

I was disappointed to read the article in the Cape Gazette regarding Sussex County Council’s recent 3-2 denial of the land-use map amendment for 247 acres at the soon-to-be-built grade-separated intersection at Cave Neck Road and four-lane Coastal Highway. I understand these farms had been in the development district since 2008 and remained as such until an 11th-hour decision was made to remove them after the 2018 map update workshops had concluded.

This decision was professedly made by former Councilman I.G. Burton despite the fact that DelDOT had announced plans to build a $50 million grade-separated interchange on these lands. I’ve read numerous letters and editorials about wetland concerns, but it was clarified by the applicant that the development district was over a half-mile from wetlands. Facts are stubborn. If these lands should not be in the development district, where is the designation appropriate?

The east side of Coastal Highway from Nassau north to these farms is all in the development district, yet our elected council members thought it was a good idea to stop the development district 100 feet short of the new $50 million intersection and remove these lands? Something smells here. Kudos to Councilman Mark Schaeffer for having the wisdom to recognize the absurdity of removing these lands and the courage to attempt to remedy the error even when it may be unpopular with his NIMBY constituents. Shame on Doug Hudson, John Rieley and Michael Vincent.

It seems clear this was a political vote and not a vote based on the merits of the application. Next cycle, I suggest we elect officials with some land planning knowledge and the ability to set aside their personal differences for the benefit of us taxpayers they take the oath to serve. Meanwhile, just keep approving developments on two-lane roads and then complain about DelDOT not doing anything to solve our traffic problems. That strategy is working great.

Rick Johnson
  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter