Sussex County 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update- SARG

Rich Borasso, Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth, provided the following update to the IBF about the Sussex County 2018 Comprehensive Plan meeting at 10 am Tuesday Oct. 23rd in the Council Chambers in Georgetown.  If you feel strongly about responsible growth in our County, please read and provide comments at the provided links.

Sussex County 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update- SARG

What follows is, admittedly, a somewhat long and detailed update on the Sussex County’s efforts to create a new Comprehensive Plan for the development and growth of the County for the next ten years.  Regardless of whether you are a lifelong resident or recently moved here, this plan will impact every resident for years to come.  It is critical that you know what is being planned and the actions the County plans for the future.

For the last two years Sussex County officials have worked to develop the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. As detailed on the County website at

Comprehensive Plan, is required by state law, serves as a long-range policy guide for decision-making regarding the future of the natural and built environment of a community. Essentially it is a blueprint for a community.  The Plan assesses existing opportunities and challenges for the County and provides insights regarding how trends are likely to impact future growth and preservation activities. Long-range goals and objectives are identified, as well as strategies for implementation. Comprehensive Plans provide public policy guidance for community elements such as transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, natural resource protection, housing, historic preservation, and economic development.

After over 50 meetings between County Planning and Zoning and County Council with many opportunities for the public to participate in the process, the Plan is in the ‘home stretch’.

What follows is a lot of information that you can review and depending on your level of interest you can go as deep or as shallow as you please. The bottom line is that the 2018 Comp Plan will be an essential tool used to guide Sussex County’s future.  If you are not satisfied with the current patterns of growth and development in the County, then SARG suggests you review the Plan to gain a better understanding of what the County is planning as it relates to:

  • Identifying trends and strategies to better manage or accommodate growth
  • Ensuring strategic growth for the community
  • Promoting sustainable economic development
  • Developing infrastructure and public services that are cost-effective and efficient
  • Preserving natural resources and agricultural lands
  • Enabling other public and private entities to plan their activities in harmony with County and local planning efforts

In late July, the County submitted the DRAFT Comp Plan to the State Office of Planning and Co-ordination (OSPC).  The DRAFT is a 280-page document and it can be viewed by going to  Don’t be overwhelmed by size of the plan. Look at the table of contents and focus on what is most important to you, your family and your community.

for further reading:

All local governments in Delaware (county and municipal) are required to prepare and adopt comprehensive plans. These plans are reviewed by State Agencies through the Preliminary Land Use Services (PLUS) process and certified by the Governor.

Once in the hands of OSPC, a thorough review by state agencies is guided by the county comprehensive plan requirements as embodied in the “Quality of Life Act” (9 Del> C $6956).

On September 20, 2018, OSPC sent Sussex County the PLUS review 2018-08-11; Sussex County Comprehensive Plan, a 22-page letter detailing what they thought about the Plan in the form of what is referred to as ‘certification comments” These comments were organized into 3 types.

  1. General Comments – Acknowledgements and Commendations (just nice things about the job the County did)
  2. Recommendations – Office of Planning Coordination provided noncertification comments for the County to consider (things the County should consider changing)
  3. Certification Comments – Comments provided by the State prior to Plan certification to promote consistency with Delaware Comments are organized into 5 Categories:
  4. No Response Required
  5. Accepted by Staff where the staff accepts text, table, and map updates, or has an appropriate response.
  6. Comment would be addressed as part of Plan Implementation
  7. Requires input from Council
  8. Other

If you want to know what the State had to say about the Sussex County 2018 Comp Plan Draft, click on the link below and click again on PLUS Letter

The Certification Comments can be found on pages 3-21.

State primary concerns include Sea Level Rise SLR, Affordable Housing, Wetland Buffers, intergovernmental coordination, flooding, climate change, Hazard Avoidance/Mitigation, water quality, etc.

On Monday, October 15, the County Council held a Workshop to discuss the PLUS Comments. Click on the link below and then click on PRESENTATION TO COUNTY COUNCIL 10/15/18.

 The presentation details the County responses to the State Comments

So, what are the next steps?

  • A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 10:00 am in Georgetown at the address below

o   The Circle (PO Box 589), Georgetown, DE 19947

  • This will be the public’s ONE LAST CHANCE to comment on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan before the updated Plan is submitted to the State. Please keep in mind at the beginning of the Comp. Plan process a public survey definitively showed land use, conservation and transportation were the areas where change was most needed.
  • OSPC submits final Comprehensive Plan report and recommendation to the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues for its consideration
  • Within 45 days of the receipt of the Plan, the Cabinet Committee will issue its findings and recommendations and will submit the Plan to the Governor for certification.
  • Within 20 days of receipt of the findings and recommendations from the Committee, the Governor can certify the Plan or return it to the County for revision. The County has the right to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations as the final decision on the adoption of the Plan is up to the local jurisdiction.
  • The Governor will issue a certification letter to the County. The certification date is the date of official adoption by the County


  • If after you have completed your review of these documents you still have questions or comments and want to let the County know how you feel, you should attend and offer public comment at the opening of the meeting at 10:00 am on Tuesday October 23, 2018 or you can provide your comments on line by clicking on the County website below. Please keep in mind at the beginning of the Comp. Plan process a public survey definitively showed land use, conservation and transportation were the areas where change was most needed.

It is very important that if you submit comments online, you do so before the Public Hearing on October 23, 2018 to assure they are entered into the official record.

Thanks for your continued interest and support!