Sussex County government has suspended public hearings for ordinances, land-use applications and other matters requiring citizen input until further notice, another measure employed by county officials in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The first meeting affected will be the Thursday, March 26 meeting of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission, which had four public hearings removed from the agenda. An amended agenda was posted at 9:45 a.m. on March 24 reflecting the changes.
County Council President Mike Vincent and County Administrator Todd Lawson announced March 24 that public hearings already scheduled for county council, planning and zoning commission and board of adjustment will be suspended indefinitely, and no new hearings will be scheduled.
The action follows Gov. John Carney’s amended state of emergency, specifically the stay-at-home order issued for citizens that began early March 24 and is in effect through at least May 15 or until the public health threat has passed, Lawson said.
“It's a fluid situation,” Lawson said. “After reviewing the governor's modified declaration, we decided it made good sense to follow his lead and also lead by example by not bringing the public out if it's not necessary. A public hearing is an unnecessary risk.”
County council, planning and zoning commission, and board of adjustment meetings will continue, as needed, in order for general business and other matters to proceed that have previously moved through the public-hearing process. The public will not be permitted entry to any meetings.
However, all meetings will be broadcast live, and archived, on the county website at www.sussexcountyde.gov. The public is urged to monitor the county website for updates on future meetings and agendas, Lawson said.
County offices remain operational, but closed to the public. Only people needing to drop off or pick up critical documents are permitted entry to the county administrative offices building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.