Sussex County Council Reorganizes & Hears from Pine Haven Residents


The Sussex County Council held a swearing in ceremony for the Council and row officers who were elected last November. Districts 4 and 5 Council members Doug Hudson and John Rieley, County Sheriff Robert Lee, Register of Wills Greg Fuller and Recorder of Deeds Alexandra Reed Baker were sworn in.

The Council reorganized at the start of this week’s meeting and re-elected Mike Vincent as the Council President and elected John Rieley as Council Vice President. Council also approved J. Everett Moore Jr. to re-appointment as County Attorney. Mr. Moore serves at the pleasure of the County Council as the elected body’s chief counsel. Meantime, staff from the Moore & Rutt and Parkowski, Guerke & Swayzelaw firms will represent the Board of Adjustment and Planning & Zoning Commission respectively as assistant county attorneys.

Multiple residents from the Pine Haven Mobile Home community near Lincoln spoke to the Council during public comment to talk about the atrocious conditions in their community – with sewage and water issues just the tip of the iceberg. The residents also had backing from local wastewater specialist, Mike Murphy – or as the Talk of Delmarva listeners know him “Murph” who says the wastewater issues are serious and cannot be fixed and that current cesspools on the property are draining into Cedar Creek. State Senator Dave Wilson also spoke to the council telling them there’s enough blame to go around from both the County and State and he plans to carry the issue to Dover with him next week. County Engineer Hans Medlarz says that to even begin to find a solution – the community needs to be part of a sewer and water district – and that process could take several years. Residents say the community has recently been sold and while they’d like to move – they are mostly senior residents on fixed incomes who can’t afford to go anywhere else.

The County Council honored recent retiree Vanessa Pettyjohn, who worked in the Finance office. County Administrator Todd Lawson presented her with a tribute and plaque for her 46 years of outstanding service and dedication. She reminded all county employees to be kind and courteous because they are the “face of Sussex County government” and to represent it well.

A proposed ordinance amendment was discussed and introduced by the County Council. This would extend the time period for the Council to render a decision on an appeal – from 60 days to 120. A public hearing will be scheduled for a later date.

In Old Business, the Sussex County Council voted to deny an application for a kitchen and bathroom showroom proposed for Beaver Dam Road in the Belltown area near the intersections with Church Street and Salt Marsh Boulevard west of Lewes. County Planning and Zoning deferred action on Conditional Use No. 2321 in September, but then recommended denial to the County Council in late October as the applicants have a “history of aggravated noncompliance” on this property, which is not large enough to accommodate the needs of a proposed showroom and the traffic generated by it. Neighboring residents also spoke in opposition to the application.

The Sussex County Council is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, January 10th in the County Administration offices on the Circle in Georgetown.