Worthy goals for Sussex planning process

December 17, 2021

A favorite adage in the world of planning states that failing to plan amounts to planning to fail. Delaware bought into that mantra in 1988 when its Legislature passed the Quality of Life Act. It requires counties and municipalities to prepare comprehensive plans to guide development and decision making which, with proper implementation, will help protect and enhance quality of life in the state.

Members of the Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth met with Cape Gazette’s editorial board recently to discuss the Sussex County Comprehensive Land Use Plan approved by county council and certified by state planners in March 2019. SARG is a group of reasonable citizens, not simply naysayers who want to stop all growth. Rather, its mission is to foster smart growth, focusing on a comprehensive plan that ensures balance between a sustainable quality of life and economic development.

That’s a tall order, especially in eastern Sussex, where rapid growth is overwhelming roads, healthcare systems, and emergency response capabilities while threatening our environment. It’s going to take lots of time and money for infrastructure to catch up and, ideally, get ahead of more inevitable development.

SARG is quick to point out that Sussex went through an exceptional process to develop the current plan, one that involved dozens of meetings and lots of public participation. It identifies the county’s top five priorities as Roads/DelDOT, Economic Development, Open Space, Agriculture and Telecommunications/Utilities. Right on!

Understanding delays caused by pandemic complications, SARG would like to see the county now further engage its increasingly knowledgeable citizenry by hosting public meetings at least annually to share implementation strategies for goals set forth in the plan, changing priorities, if any, and whatever progress has been made toward meeting those goals.

SARG would also like to see Sussex further recognize the importance of its plan by hiring an employee charged specifically with monitoring the plan and its progress, prodding it forward, and keeping the public informed.

These are worthy and reasonable goals that Sussex County Council should pursue sooner rather than later.  

  • 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. 

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter