Time for Lewes to streamline

June 1, 2017

Lewes Mayor and Council discussed and moved forward recently with revised planning for cycling, pedestrian and landscaping improvements along the Lewes Beach sides of Savannah Road.

The project was first put forward by the Historic Lewes Scenic Byway Committee in conjunction with DelDOT officials. It's been discussed at countless meetings over several months. If revised plans ever get final approval and the project goes to construction, it will be funded with 80 percent federal money through the Transportation Alternatives Program and 20 percent Lewes money. Clearly a good deal for a long-needed Lewes project.

The alternative raises potential safety issues, while the state's well-thought-out proposal was designed by transportation, environmental and horticultural professionals to be safe, sound and beautiful. Lewes Council members, however, in a scenario that has become emblematic of the town's decision making in recent years, beat the issue back and forth for months with meeting upon meeting.

Meanwhile the funding clock ticks. Although state officials said they could extend the time on making funds available, they were clear that Lewes needs to act.

Council members noted how hard they had been working on this issue. Harder isn't always smarter. Rather than looking the state's prudently planned and well-designed gift horse in the mouth, they should have months ago asked their full-time city manager and full-time planner for recommendations, acted, and then moved on to more pressing matters.

Lewes has lost at least two annexation opportunities - worth hundreds of thousands in taxes - because of a cumbersome process.

Affordable housing options for police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses and other municipal employees who cannot afford to live in the city need serious attention.

Let the professionals hired by mayor and council do their jobs. Let them dig into the serious issues and bring forth options.

A planning commission with nine members also adds time to discussions and procedures. Five is plenty, and that would help keep things moving. It's time for Lewes to streamline, for council members to let the pros do their jobs, and get back to their most important work of setting policy and priorities, and casting votes.


  • 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.