Some land use public hearings have been held before the Sussex County Council and Planning & Zoning Commission – but the applications that possibly would draw larger numbers of people to comment have been delayed since coronavirus shut things down last spring. Due to a lack of socially distanced seating in the Council Chambers – those public hearings remain delayed even after in-person meetings were re-started. Now the County has looked to an alternative site – just to hear the more complicated and more well attended public hearings – at Delaware Tech. In the Carter Partnership Building they can fit over twice as many people – and have overflow able to listen in other rooms as well. Delaware Tech will only be used for the expected larger land use application public hearings – no other county business will be done outside the Council Chambers on the Circle. The meetings scheduled for Delaware Tech will be marked on the County meeting page – along with the agenda. The first public hearings at Delaware Tech will be the P&Z meeting on January 21st.
When Ellen Magee was appointed as the new Register of Wills, a vacancy was left on the County Board of Adjustment. During this week’s County Council meeting, Council Vice President John Rieley nominated John Travis Hastings for the vacant seat on the BOA. Hastings will appear before the Council on January 26th for a public interview. The Council will then vote on his appointment.
County Administrator Todd Lawson announced that the County Engineering Department will hold a referendum vote for the Blackwater Village Area to be part of the Sussex County Unified Sanitary Sewer District. A resolution to establish the boundary was approved by the Council in early December. The referendum will be Friday, January 22 from 4 to 8pm at Grace United Methodist Church, on East Church Street in Millsboro. The referendum is for eligible voters whose property and/or residence is located within the district. NOTICE OF REFERENDUM
Sussex County purchases bulk water from the City of Rehoboth Beach An amendment for distribution to its customers in the County’s Dewey Beach Water District. This arrangement dates to the 1980s with the latest 5-year term approved by County Council on January 29, 2016. This week the County Council considered an amendment to the agreement. The cost of the water is based on the City’s expenses exclusively associated with the cost for production, treatment, transmission, storage and metering of the water prorated on a percentage basis by the past 5-year flow ratio between the City and County customers. In addition, the City has proposed a comprehensive 5-year capital plan which is funded directly out of the user rates without financing and incorporated into the proposed bulk water rate. A review of the City of Rehoboth’s financial statements verified that the proposed blended rate aligns with the expenses incurred by their water enterprise fund and proposed capital plan. Expenses under this amended agreement will be paid using the service charges collected by the Dewey Beach Water District customers. The increase, if not absorbed in other areas of the water budget, will be phased in over FY21 and FY26. The County Council approved the recommendation by County Engineer Hans Medlarz with a unanimous vote.