Sussex County Council Approves DelDOT TID, Cancels Caroling on the Circle

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DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan & Sussex County
Council President Mike Vincent sign Henlopen TID
agreement during this week’s meeting.

After 7 years of work, the Sussex County Council has approved the Henlopen TID (Transportation Improvement District) with a unanimous vote. DelDOT explains a TID – as a defined geographic area where land use and transportation needs are planned in detail in advance. Instead of focusing solely on the area surrounding proposed development for infrastructure needs, the TID allows for a comprehensive approach about how development will affect traffic in the wider area in the future.

Image courtesy DelDOT/Sussex County Council

This agreement sets the boundaries of the Henlopen TID – which covers the Lewes/Angola area and the service standards. It sets the land use and transportation plan, the TID Capital Transportation Program and sets the infrastructure fee program – and 76% of the funding comes from DelDOT and the remainder from developers. This is a first-of-its-kind plan for the county designed to tie new development to infrastructure investment and enhance overall mobility in the region.

Under the Henlopen TID proposal, the special district would include a roughly 24-square-mile area, largely from the area of US 9 near the Five Points intersection and along SR 1 to the SR24 corridor down to Herring Creek, including 66 miles of roadway and 62 intersections. In this zone, fees attached to new residential and commercial construction would be collected by the County through the permitting process and released to DelDOT as road projects are needed. Developers would know the costs upfront and, in turn, would not be subject to, in most cases, performing costly, time-consuming traffic impact studies (TIS) for projects, as DelDOT will have in hand existing traffic data, models, and comprehensive overview of the district. Planners project 12 new traffic signals, 13 roundabouts and 15 intersections with turn lanes, and four miles of new road connections, all totaling nearly $284 million, will be necessary within the TID to keep pace with current and future development. Dedicated TID funding would cover up to 25 percent of that cost.

After the agreement was signed, Councilman Rieley suggested a possible second TID for Sussex County in the southeastern corner of the county – along Route 54 and up to Ocean View.

During Todd Lawson’s County Administrators Report, he announced that Caroling on the Circle will be suspended this year because of concerns on the spread of coronavirus. However the Pack the Pod food drive will still be held from mid-November through the end of December. A storage unit will be placed on the Circle in Georgetown outside the County Administration offices for canned and non-perishable food donations to be dropped off 24 hours a day. Lawson adds that monetary donations will also be accepted, which will be used to purchase additional food for the county’s food pantries to feed Sussex County’s hungry.
Checks should be made payable to: Sussex County Council
Mail to: Sussex County Government County Administration
PO Box 589
Georgetown, DE 19947
in memo line: Caroling on the Circle Pack the Pod Food Drive

Planning and Zoning Director Jamie Whitehouse proposed an ordinance that deals with subdivisions in the County’s Coastal Zone. The ordinance has been introduced by Councilman IG Burton. A public hearing will be held before Planning and Zoning on November 12 and before County Council on December 1st.

There are two public hearings this afternoon before the County Council. One is a change of zone application for a 2.5 acre property on Dagsboro Road just south of Cricket Street which is adjacent to a business park. The owner has a contractors business and hopes to improve the lot with some pole buildings for his business. Then property is currently AR-1 – the applicant would like the zoning changed to C-2 medium commercial. P&Z recommended approval.

The second public hearing is a conditional use application for an outdoor RV and boat storage on 2.5 acres in the area of Postal Lane and Coastal Highway in Lewes. P&Z voted to recommend approval 3 to 1.