The Sussex County Council met for the final time in 2018 – and said farewell to two members – Rob Arlett, who has served District 5 for 4 years and George Cole, who has served District 4 for 32 years.
The council heard a presentation from Marie Morole, Executive Director of the Sussex Community Crisis Housing Services. She gave the council an overview of what they do, which is tied in to the county’s Community Development & Housing Department. This is a housing locator project that is being funded in partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and the Delaware State Housing Authority. But the funding is contingent on security matching funds. The project addresses the homeless in Delaware in an effort to help find short term housing for homeless Delawareans. It’s estimated about 1100 are homeless in Delaware – and about 15% of that population is in Sussex County. They asked for a grant of $35,000, which was approved by the Sussex County Council with a unanimous vote.
Register of Wills, Cindy Green, came before the council to talk about the purchase and maintenance agreements with CBS, Inc. She tells the council that the current contract has expired – but adds that the program they have been using they have outgrown. Green says there is no company or program that writes register of wills databases. They found County Business System and have instead created their own program, along with her office and the county’s IT department. The new program will allow the legal community to purchase a subscription to access information from their own offices. While the cost of this new program is high – $98,050 – it’s hoped the subscription fee will help to cover some of the costs. The annual maintenance cost will be $17,900 for 3 years. They will also work with Kent County to bring the program to them as well. The contract and maintenance agreements were approved with a unanimous vote.
Two county field hockey and football teams were honored with proclamations for the championship seasons. In field hockey, Cape Henlopen and Delmar won the Division 1 and 2 championships. Cape beat Padua for their 9th overall state title – their 7th in the past 8 seasons. Delmar won their third consecutive District 2 title with a win over Caravel. In football Sussex Central won their first ever state championship in Division 1 with a win over Salesianum and Woodbridge grabbed their 2nd state championship in three years for District 2 with a win over Wilmington Friends. County Administrator Todd Lawson says this is the first time that Sussex County teams have won both the Division 1 and 2 titles in two sports.
The council had a lot of Old Business to take care of before the end of the year, however action on the C-4 Business ordinance amendment has been deferred until the new year.
CZ 1855 – for a change of zone from AR 1 to C-3 heavy commercial for a convenience store with gas at Route 24 and Angola Road was defeated with a 3 to 2 vote. George Cole says the C-3 is inconsistent with the rest of the area and could set a precedent for the future. Councilman IG Burton and President Mike Vincent agreed.
CU 2145 – for a multi-family unit (1 duplex/2 units) for a parcel of land on Seagull Drive which is on the border between Dewey Beach and the County. The council also turned this down. Councilman George Cole says all other homes in the area are single family homes and that multi-family homes are not appropriate for the area. Again Councilman IG Burton and President Mike Vincent agreed.
CZ 1858 – for a high density residential district for Zion Church Road in the area of Johnson and Bayard Roads for a residential planned community. This came with an extensive reading of findings requested by staff that was also read into the record. This proposal includes workforce housing for people looking to live closer to where they work. While the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial, the County Council approved the application with a 3 to 2 vote. George Cole and Sam Wilson voted against the plan.
CZ 1860 / CU 2147 / CZ 1861 – for a medium density residential district off the east side of Route 1 in the area of Old Mill Road. This would have a commercial zoning along the highway – but a set of apartment buildings in the back. CZ 1860 covers the apartment buildings which Councilman IG Burton says is not appropriate for an area that is low density. The only other similarly zoned property is on the west side of Route 1. The council voted 3 to 2 to deny the MR zone with Rob Arlett and Sam Wilson voting for the proposal. The partner application for CU 2147, was denied by a 4 to 1 vote. As for CZ 1861 – that would change part of the front parcel from AR 1 to C 2 and was approved by a unanimous vote.
CZ 1859 – for an AR 1 and General Residential district to a General Residential – Residential Planned Community for about 60 acres off Angola Road in the area of Angola Beach Road. The council agreed that this was a good fit with neighboring properties and approved the CZ with a unanimous vote.
The meeting ended with proclamations and gifts for Councilmen George Cole and Rob Arlett. After the current council members spoke, several former county employees and council members also spoke in a mini-roast of Cole and Arlett – including Joe Conaway (former county administrator), David Baker (former finance director & county administrator), Bob Stickels (former county administrator), Dale Dukes (former council member/president) and Lynn Rogers (former council member/president). The meeting ended with a presentation from attorney Rob Witsil with a slide presentation and a poem called “Ode to George B. Cole.”