Republican Mark Schaeffer of Lewes has filed for the District 3 Sussex County Council seat held by Democrat Joan Deaver, who has announced she will probably not seek another term.
Schaeffer, former mayor of Smyrna and Little Creek, moved to Lewes full time eight years ago after spending many summers, weekends and vacations in the Cape Region.
Terms also expire this year for Council President Mike Vincent, R-Seaford, and Council Vice President Sam Wilson, R-Georgetown.
Schaeffer says his strong knowledge of land-use decisions would serve District 3 residents well.
He said council's main function is ruling on land-use applications and policies. “Land-use decisions are around for decades,” he said. “Land-use decisions should not be made on personal relationships or politics but what is best for District 3, the county and the state.”
Serving as Smyrna's mayor for six years, Schaeffer said he helped with the adoption of the first comprehensive land-use plan completed in the state. He also played a key role in the development of several projects in the city, including the Walmart distribution center.
He credited current and past county officials with doing a great job keeping their arms around the issues created by tremendous growth in District 3, but said issues remain.
One of his main goals would be to foster a better working relationship with the Delaware Department of Transportation; he said he supports the department's idea for transportation districts in the county.
“We need a stronger and more proactive relationship with DelDOT on a litany of issues including public safety and the infrastructure needs in the county,” he said.
Schaeffer called District 3 the most vibrant, dynamic and diverse area in Delaware. “No other county can compare with the growth in this area,” he said. “Because of this, there needs to be careful planning in place.”
Schaeffer, an associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gallo Realty in Rehoboth Beach, has a long resume. He is a board member of West Rehoboth Community Land Trust, a member of Lightship Overfalls Foundation and Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame Committee and St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes.
He served for a decade as a Delaware River and Bay Authority commissioner and has served as a member, officer or board member of numerous organizations including Governors Council on Labor, American Red Cross of Central Delaware, Central Delaware YMCA, Kent County Hospital Foundation, Kent County Board of Realtors, Smyrna Main Street Association and Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce.
He served two terms as chairman of the Kent County Republican Committee and was also 33rd Representative District chairman.
He is a graduate of Dover High School and the University of Delaware. He has also completed numerous real estate courses.
Schaeffer also has a background in construction, appraising and auctioneering and managed a manufactured home community. He is married to Ruby Keeler Schaeffer and the couple has five children and eight grandchildren.
A possible opponent in District 3 is Republican Frank Shade of Lewes, who announced last year that he had launched an exploratory committee for a possible run for the council seat.