First Sussex Comprehensive Land Use Plan forum held

Four more gatherings to take place

Apr 03, 2015


LWVSC’s Marti Austin records concerns raised by members of the public who attended the March 25 Sussex County Comprehensive Plan Forum held at Laurel Library.

The League of Women Voters of Sussex County held the first in a series of five district level forums aimed at raising public interest and engaging public participation in the Comprehensive Land Use Planning process. Held March 25 at the Laurel Public Library, the forum helped engage residents of Sussex County District 5.

In her presentation, forum moderator Paulette Rappa, who is a member of the League’s Land Use Committee, gave an overview of the plan and the timeline for its review. Attendees learned about the specific topics the plan must address, including public participation, future land use and traffic, and about the relationship between the plan and county ordinances. The existing comprehensive plan was adopted by Sussex County Council in 2008 and the state mandates that this plan be reevaluated every 10 years.

The take home message was that a well-thought out and purposeful comprehensive plan focuses land use decisions on maximizing the wellbeing of the people of Sussex County. Citizens should get involved early and often in the process, and they should make sure that county officials understand their needs and concerns. The planning process is a once in a decade opportunity for Sussex County citizens to inform elected officials about land use concerns.

Issues of concern were recorded by the LWVSC’s Land Use Committee member Marti Austin. A wide range of topics were discussed, including infrastructure planning, environmental issues, economic development, fair housing, and ways to foster collaboration between the eastern and western parts of the County.

Both private citizens and elected officials, including Laurel Mayor John Shwed, Laurel Councilman Chris Calio, and Sussex County Planning and Zoning Committee Chairperson Robert Wheatley, participated in the discussion that followed the presentation. The league plans to present to Sussex County Council a list of ideas compiled from all five district level forums sometime in June of this year.

The schedule for the four additional district level forums, each of which is free and open to the public, is as follows:

  • District 3 – Milton Library, 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, April 15
  • District 4 – South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 25
  • District 1 – Seaford Library, 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, April 29
  • District 2 – County Council Chambers, Georgetown, 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, May 6.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to men and women of all ages. With 800 affiliates across the county, the League is one of the nation’s most trusted organizations.

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