The Sussex County Council was visited by members of the Department of Transportation during this week’s meeting. DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan updated the Council on the proposed Henlopen Transportation Improvement District – which covers an area west of Route 1 to near Hollymount Road and from Route 9 south to the end of Mulberry Knoll Road. The Henlopen TID includes ways to improve traffic flow in an area that is steadily growing in residents and visitors. There are six Levels of Service that have been set out – and transportation officials are looking to not exceed Level D during peak travel times.
The TID also includes proposals for new roadway connections, roadway widening, traffic signals, roundabouts and new turn lanes. The TID works with the county and developers so that infrastructure is in place when it’s needed.
DelDOT estimates the cost of the recommended improvements in the Henlopen TID at $283.5-million. Developers would be responsible for 20 to 30% and the State responsible for 70 to 80%. Already DelDOT has about $95-million for the TID programmed into the Transportation Department’s 6-Year Capital Transportation Program – which is the start to funding of projects on the State’s side by inclusion into the Bond Bill.
The next step will be a joint public workshop between DelDOT and the County to educate the public on the Henlopen TID and your comments on the multi-decade project. That will likely take place sometime in 2020.
County Administrator Todd Lawson told the Council about the 2020 meeting schedule as well as the holiday schedule. Next year will include all the regular holidays for county employees – but being an election year – it will also include Election Day and Return Day. The council next year is scheduled to meet 35 times and be off 17 weeks – a difference of one meeting from this year. Off days are not written in stone – and can become a Council meeting if needed. The Council approved the proposed meeting and holiday schedule unanimously. The council will be off next week and December 3rd as well.
Three county employees have been nominated for 4th Quarter Employee Recognition Awards – now called the Shining Star Program which County Finance Director Gina Jennings tells the Council, “recognizes and celebrates employees who demonstrate exceptional performance, service and/or accomplishments.” They will receive a ‘going above and beyond’ badge – and will be eligible for the Employee of the Year award, which is given in December during the Holiday Employee Appreciation Luncheon (which will be held on December 6th). The 4th Quarter honorees are Lindsay Behney from the Register of Wills office and Robin Workman and Richard Johnson – both from Mapping and Addressing.
There were two public hearings held during the morning session – both on sewer annexations. One was the Milo’s Haven annexation in the Millville area – the other the Chase Oaks annexation in the Angola area. Both annexations were approved by the Council with unanimous votes. John Ashman, Director of Utility Planning also updated the Council on the recent Chapel Branch Assessment vote. Residents approved a change in their assessment from the current front footage to a flat rate by EDU. That referendum vote was held in October – with 220 residents voting to approve the flat rate and 28 voting against.
During the afternoon session, the Council heard three applications for either conditional use or change of zone. None of the three has seen a vote as none has yet received a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Conditional Use No. 2194 – Imagination Renovation, LLC is an application for a furniture making and repair business to be located on Rust Road south of Harbeson. Phillip Bortz one of the owners of the property and also one of the Principals of Imagination-Renovation, LLC was present of behalf of the application. No one else spoke either for or against the application and the Council has deferred its vote until a recommendation is made by Planning & Zoning.
Change of Zone No. 1893 – filed on behalf of Lisa Horsey seeks to rezone a 0.474 acre parcel on Route 13 and Boyce Road in Laurel from AR 1 to C-2 medium commercial. The property has been a seafood market and other commercial ventures in the past. They are looking to bring the property to match the surrounding properties – which are also zoned commercial. No one else spoke either for or against the application and the Council has deferred its vote until a recommendation is made by Planning & Zoning.
A second Change of Zone No. 1894 – filed on behalf of Howard Pepper, Jr is for a 2.368 acre parcel on Route 113 just south of Lazy Lagoon Road near Frankford to be rezoned from AR 1 to C-3 heavy commercial for a hardscaping business. The property is mostly surrounded by commercially zoned property – and was only found recently to be AR 1 – the previous user of the property operated a used car lot and Castle Graphics. Howard Pepper spoke to the council but no one else spoke either for or against the application. The Council has deferred its vote until a recommendation is made by Planning & Zoning.
The next Sussex County Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 10 at 10am in the County Administration Office on the Circle in Georgetown.