Sussex County Council Says P&Z Recommendation on Terrapin Island is Right & Revisit Workforce Housing

The Sussex County Council has approved the Planning & Zoning Commission’s decision to recommend preliminary approval of the Terrapin Island subdivision after several hours of testimony last week. Terrapin Island is a proposed 42 lot subdivision off Camp Arrowhead Road in the Angola/Lewes area. Council President Mike Vincent read a four-page motion, which told the County Council that the Planning Commission acted correctly in their recommendation for preliminary approval. In the motion, Vincent told the council that “the conditions in this approval are among the longest the division’s ever placed” on a subdivision approval and demonstrates the commission used careful consideration in approving the subdivision application. The council’s vote to approve the Planning Commission’s recommendation was unanimous.

County Administrator Todd Lawson remembered former County Director of Economic Development, Frank Calio, of Laurel, who died on October 19th at the age of 83.

Lawson, Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson, County Planning Director Jamie Whitehouse and Director of Community Development and Housing Brandy Nauman discussed workforce housing with the County Council. Robertson told the Council that this is a program the county already has – but is not much used. He added that the revised program would include a new permitted use for workforce housing, so no public hearing would be needed. This housing would be rentals, focused in growth areas and would include no public funding investment. The Council agrees that there is a need, so the work will continue – with an ordinance likely in the new year.

The County Council also discussed a disabled veteran tax assistance program. Legislation was signed into law by Governor John Carney in August that would bring property tax relief – up to full credit against the school tax, excluding Sussex Tech, to veterans who are 100% disabled. Sussex County’s program would mirror the State’s and offer up to a 100% exemption of the County tax portion of the annual bill. It would not include other assessments – like water, sewer and utilities. The Office of Veterans Affairs says there are about 516 Sussex County veterans who are considered 100% disabled. The proposed ordinance has been introduced by the Council.

County EMS Director, Robbie Murray, came before the Council for an extension of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Pilot Program that has been running with Beebe Healthcare since 2019. He said that they’ve had nearly 50 COPD patients and that 36 have graduated from the program, which is not yet ready to leave pilot status. There are three paramedics involved in the program. He asked for a three year extension which the Council approved with a unanimous vote.

In Old Business the Council approved two conditional use and one change of zone application. On Conditional Use No 2248, several additional conditions were placed on the application, which is for multi-family units on nearly 4 acres near the intersection of Parker House and Muddy Neck Roads near Ocean View. One of the conditions included reducing the maximum number of units from 19 to 16.

The County Council does not meet next week. Their next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 9th.