Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission will have its scheduled meeting Thursday, March 26, but with several changes aimed at limiting the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
The only agenda items open to the public will be public hearings, which are scheduled at 6 p.m., 6:40 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Those attending a public hearing can only enter the county administration building at those times for the specific hearing and must leave after the hearing.
“The public should arrive on time and will be forbidden to gather in the lobby,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson. “Members of the public who choose to attend the public hearing should expect to undergo health screenings and mandatory social distancing seating in council chambers.”
Lawson said the public record for each application will be left open for a longer period by the commission until 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 2. The public can submit written comments via email or by mail to Sussex County Planning and Zoning Office, 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947.
Lawson is encouraging residents to view the meeting on the county website at sussexcountyde.gov.
Two of the scheduled public hearings involve applications in the Cape Region.
In the 6:45 p.m. hearing, Matthew Hete has filed for a rezoning from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to MR, medium-density residential, and a conditional use for 14 units of multifamily housing on a 1.25-acre parcel at 34360 Postal Lane near Lewes.
In the 7:30 p.m. hearing, Dry Acres LLC (Jill Cicierski) has filed for a rezoning from AR-1 to C-2, medium commercial district, for an 11-acre parcel on the southwest corner of the intersection of Fisher Road and Route 9 between Lewes and Harbeson.
County offices closed to public
Lawson said, as of March 23, Gov. John Carney's new declaration shutting down all nonessential businesses does not affect the modified operations underway in county government.
Public access to Sussex County government buildings has all but been eliminated. Only plastic tubs in the lobby of the administrative offices building on The Circle in Georgetown are available for the public to drop off documents for processing by county staff. No other access is permitted.
A partition has been erected in the lobby to separate employees from any possible contact with the public.
Marriage ceremonies have been suspended and cash payments are halted.
The public will be allowed limited entry only to the lobby of the county administrative offices building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays to drop off documents. Select staff will remain at work or telecommute to continue daily operations, but in-person contact with employees is prohibited.
Officials are encouraging the public to do as much business as possible through email and telephone. Scanned documents, such as building permit applications, requests for site inspections, deed recordings and more, can be transmitted to offices electronically.
The county has developed a COVID-19 portal to provide specific information about modified services, at sussexcountyde.gov/coronavirus. Information on contacting county offices is available at sussexcountyde.gov, and will be posted outside county facilities.