Sussex County has a new map for the future.
At its Dec. 4 meeting, Sussex County Council adopted its 2018 comprehensive plan update. The vote is the culmination of more than two years of work by the planning and zoning commission and council, with scores of public meetings, workshops and outreach that attracted hundreds of comments, suggestions and ideas from residents, business owners, government officials and others on how Sussex County should move forward in the decades ahead.
In the 4-1 vote, Councilman Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown, cast a no vote without stating any reasons.
The 280-page plan has yielded more than 100 strategies focused on everything from land use, conservation, community design and housing to transportation, utilities and economic development aimed at implementing the plan.
The strategies could take form as new ordinances or policies that county officials will weigh in the weeks and months to come.
“This is a momentous occasion for the county as we look forward to the future, one that will bring significant challenges but tremendous opportunity in the decade ahead,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson. “It has been a community effort in the truest sense, and what we are left with is a vision I hope everyone is proud of.”
Some of the key strategies in the adopted plan include:
• Finding ways to preserve, promote and strengthen agriculture’s presence in the county, including a possible agribusiness district that would add certain permitted ag-related support uses to low-density areas.
• Reviewing and potentially overhauling the county land-use code, specifically measures that would focus on wetland protection, forestry preservation, and water quality.
• Forming a county-level transportation committee, which would work with state officials to better monitor, coordinate and prioritize road projects.
• Establishing economic development zones to focus job creation and private investment in and around targeted communities.
• Stimulating the construction of workforce/affordable housing through a review of existing impediments to such housing, and incentives, including the possibility of a community development fund.
Delaware law requires counties and municipalities have a comprehensive plan with updates every 10 years, while providing yearly updates on the progress of implementation.
“This was a marathon process, for sure, but it was an important process nevertheless. And I think we’re all better for it, and certainly Sussex County will be a better place today for all of us, and tomorrow for our children and their children,” said Council President Mike Vincent, R-Seaford.
Assistant county attorney Vince Robertson said the plan takes effect when it's certified by the governor's office.
For more information on the plan, go www.sussexplan.com.