Editorial: Sussex approach to buffers is encouraging

February 19, 2019

Sussex County Council recently injected a strong dose of optimism and encouragement into the eternal discussion about how best to manage this 943-square-mile jurisdiction called Sussex County, in the heart of the Delmarva Peninsula. Council approved the appointment of a group of stakeholders to take a deep look into the controversial issue of appropriate natural buffers along our waterways and wetland areas.

The issue is important for many reasons, not the least of which are our quality of life and the health of our environment. But what is most important is the balanced and studied approach that the council and its administration have taken toward addressing the buffers issue.

County Administrator Todd Lawson said at its core, this issue comes down to balancing concerns related to property rights and the environment. The composition of the group tasked with digging in demonstrates a commitment to finding that proper balance.

Its membership includes farmers, developers, development consultants, environmental scientists, environmental advocacy organizations,  conservation representatives, planning commission members, and representatives of homeowner groups advocating for good government and environmental protection.

The discussions promise to be wide-ranging and illuminating, contentious at times and frustrating, but, after all have had their say, hopefully productive.

Proper, well-thought-out buffers have the potential of helping to clean our compromised waterways, protecting the omnipresent treelines so integral to Sussex County’s visual natural character, and providing natural linkages among the county’s impressive portfolio of public and privately conserved parks, refuges, and wildlife areas. Those linkages can create natural corridors for the wildlife also so important to the character of Sussex.

The Cape Gazette looks forward to reporting and publishing stories that emerge from these discussions, and celebrating progress toward the win-win solutions that approaches like this one have the potential of producing.

Sussex County is a special place on this planet, and it deserves the deliberations and action that can result to preserve and enhance the best of what we have for the benefit of all.      


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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