Sussex County shows commitment to livable future

August 11, 2017

Three critical decisions this week appear to signal a growing resolve in Sussex County to clean up problems that threaten the environment and to enforce county zoning code.

Neighbors called on county council to deny a conditional use for Blessing Greenhouses and Compost to continue its operation near Milford.

Council instead approved the project with strict conditions.

Owner Bruce Blessing must clean up a huge outdoor pile of debris that has long plagued his neighbors, fueling their opposition to expansion. Council also required its staff to now monitor the cleanup and prevent delivery of any more waste until the new, covered facility is built.

This solution allows Blessing to continue to process waste - a needed service – while putting an end to the mountain of smelly debris and the polluted runoff it generated.

We see this as a win for Blessing, neighbors and the environment.

In a decision that backs up county code, the board of adjustment unanimously denied a request for a variance to allow a new hotel to exceed the county's 42-foot height limit by nearly 14 feet. The board has allowed other buildings along Route 1 to exceed the height limit, but at 14 feet higher than allowed, this project would have set a precedent, virtually nullifying the code's height limit.

Council also made a second critical decision, again backing up its code, by denying a conditional use for a new fitness center on Savannah Road near Lewes. While other conditional uses have been approved for businesses in the same area, this request - for a building of more than an acre in size - was found to be too big for the residentail area that surrounds it.

We agree.

In addition, had a facility of this size been approved, could any future conditional use be denied?

These decisions point to county officials who appear to be considering the long-term costs and benefits of their actions. They demonstrate a commitment to a healthy environment and to a landscape in scale with the Cape Region we love.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.