Unbridled growth must be stopped in Sussex

September 10, 2019

On the front cover, we learn that developers are looking to build 415 homes at the Log Cabin Hill Road/Hudson Road intersection between Lewes and Milton - ho-hum, just another development, another loss of open land, more houses, more traffic, more congestion on an already overrun infrastructure - different day, same issue. 

And then I open to the Letters to the Editor, and virtually every letter from every person decries the continuous onslaught of development on our beautiful oceanside home - I have yet to read a single letter from anyone cheering on the unbridled development that will be the ruin of us all. No one supports it, no one wants it, and worst of all, not one of us seems to be able to do anything about it.

For many years I lived in a county in Maryland that arrived at the same critical decision point between uncontrolled development and maintenance of a sensible, workable land use program - and surprise, the county government rose to the occasion, listened to the people’s voices, did their homework, and came up with a development policy which addressed everyone’s concerns - not just the developers.

They instituted a farmland preservation act, which limited subdivision of existing land to lots of 10 acres; they passed regulations that made developers responsible for infrastructure improvements, especially expansion of existing roadways, intersection improvements, and other changes necessary to absorb the impact of increased population. And they did the unthinkable: they thought ahead, to what they wanted their county to look like in five, 10, 20 years, and did something about it.

And guess what? The development community got on board with it - they worked with the county government in an intelligent, intentional way, to be able to maintain their business interests, while understanding that everybody has a stake in what the future looks like - and approximately 20 years later, it is an unbridled success, and the county is flourishing - with new development, yes; but in a manner that has respected the interests of everyone involved. I’m sorry - but I don’t think a roundabout at Malfunction Junction, feeding traffic into the same chokepoint at Route 9, constructed five years from now, is going to do anything at all to relieve our already overwhelmed infrastructure - that is, in my opinion, a ridiculous, narrow-minded, and singularly uninspiring solution to just one of our more well-known problems here in Sussex County.

Here’s the punchline: our infrastructure is already overrun (try to deny it, you can’t) - with thousands of new houses being built, new developments going up every day, and no real, intelligent plan to manage it, what do you think the future looks like here, in our idyllic oceanside community?

Stephen W. Groo


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