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January 3, 2014     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette VIEWPOINTS FRIDAY, JANUARY 3- MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014 7 Letters )) Continued from page 6 -the Meals on Wheels program in many years. This year, because of the increase in state fund- ing, Meals on Wheels Delaware is again able to consider some equipment replacement costs for organizations such as CHEER that continue to depend on equip- ment that has been used beyond its planned service life. CHEER has a request for capital equip- ment pending for consideration by Meals on Wheels Delaware. It is that combined effort that has helped to produce and deliver over 153,000 homebound meals in Sussex County last year alone. It is that combined effort that is helping someone's mother, father, grandparent, sister or brother ev- ery day to continue living in their own home. It is my hope that that combined effort will continue to be there as each of us continues our journey through life. Arlene S. tittleton executive director CHEER Community Center Georgetown We all have power to change uncontrolled development I wanted to share my under- standing of the process between the state and Sussex County when a big development is pro- posed and what I believe is a real problem in the planning process. We need to hold our county council and state senators and rep- resentatives responsible for what is going on in the eastem side of the county. I have heard numer- ous times from our elected state leaders that land use is a county issue and not the state's. Not true! Several state agencies are involved in the process including: DelDOT, DNREC, Department of Agricul- ture, and the state planning com- mission, to name a few. When a developer begins the process for getting a zoning ap- proval to build a development or RV park, they file with the county council and the process begins. However, prior to this they have met with state agencies. If it is a large development, DelDOT says that the developer needs a traffic study. Then the developer hires its own traffic consulting firm to do the study. If these studies are closely read, sometimes the direction the roads run are not even correct. The study is then 95 percent of the time approved by DelDOT with some minor sug- gestions. However, none of these studies ever take into consider- ation all of the developments that have already been approved, but not yet built. Currently, there are housing developments approved by the council on a total of 983 acres with the potential of 1,369 new homes in the area immediately surrounding the proposed RV park on Cedar Grove Road. None of these were considered in the developer's traffic study for the RV park on Cedar Grove Road that was ap- proved by DelDOT. When this happens, the developers are not held responsible for putting up the money to make road im- provements except for immedi- ately in front of the development. Who ends up paying for this? We do - the taxpayers - while the developers walk away with their money. I believe we need to hold our -state and county council officials liable at the voting booth if they are not protecting our interests. The state elected officials need to take a close look at DelDOT and make the necessary changes that would make traffic studies work for all of us. The process for the approval of a development also happens at the state level with agency reviews prior to com- ing to the county council and planning & zoning. This review process needs to be reviewed and strengthened. Finally, three A tribute to beautiful lady of Milton am so sorry that I did not speak at Gladys Willdns' funeral Sunday. It was not like me. Maybe it was because only one person came forward, or perhaps I was too close, meaning I have lived next door to Short's Funeral Home for 25 years. The fact is I did not. I had my notes all ready, "The Poem" typed out, and still I iust sat there. Well, Gladys, this is what I was going to say: I want to share a long kept secret with the good people of Milton. This is a lovingly well- kept secret, I was Gladys' "other" hairdresser; sorry, John. Every year at the fundraiser for the Milton Historical Society at Salon Milton, Gladys would be the first one in my chair for a "new" look!! She said it empowered her 50-50. At any rate, we dearly loved each other. One breezy autumn afternoon several years ago, I was coming into Milton on Cave Neck Road, and just passing "Gladys Wilkins Lane" (hopefully to be called one day). I saw Gladys hanging out her laundry to dry. Made a quick U-turn and drove to her clothes lines. As I was holding sheets for her to pin with wooden pegs, she asked "Why are you so dressed up? I explained that I had just come from Christ Church in Wilmington and had read a poem at the funeral of Jane Stalzer. Gladys asked "What poem?" I replied, "It was Tennyson's 'Crossing the Bar.' She responded, "I love that poem!" Still I sat frozen in my seat. Gladys, it is not too late, Here is your poem from Alfred Lord Tennyson: Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me, And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea. But such a tide as moving, seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam. When that which drew from out the bound- less deep, turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, and after that, the dark, And may there be no sadness of farewell. When I embark. For tho' from out our bourne of time and place, The flood may bear me far I hope to see my Pilot face to face. When I have crost the bar. Sail on, beautiful lady of Mikon! Roi Barnard Milton people on the county council make all the decisions on what goes on in land use in the county. They make the appointments to planning & zoning and the board of adiustment. Three people! The county council needs to be held liable for passing a land-use ordinance, but never passing the supporting ordinances that would strengthen it and preclude the ability for the developers to file lawsuits so easily. It is outrageous that a council member cannot at- tend community meetings where legislation they are considering is being discussed. Where is that written or not written? We need supporting ordinances. Finally, this county needs a certified planner to oversee what is going on around any development that is being proposed and to make rational recommendations that will halt this uncontrolled devel- opment. I will end with a couple of direct quotes from a council member and planning & zoning board member: Quote from a council mem- ber who always votes for every development on the east side of the county, concerning moving the Social Security office from Georgetown to Lewes: the county councilman said he strongly op- posed the move because Lewes- area roads can be quite crowded in the summer, and he didn't want people in his southern Sus- sex County district to have to drive there to get Social Security help. "The idea of traveling north on Route 1 in the summertime to get to the Social Security of- fice is almost nightmarish. It's more convenient for most of the county to go to Georgetown." News Journal 11/14/13. Quote from a planning & zon - ing board member when voting for the RV park: "I can assure you we vote for a great deal of things we don't like. As the record has proven when- ever we act outside the ordinance we tend to get overturned and usually sued and fmed in the process. It has happened a couple of times. The message from the courts is loud and clear: it's all about the ordinance. I thinktheir avenue for change is the poll- ing place. Showup on Nov. 4, Continued on page 8 Bald eagles everywhere; snowy owls stealing show elaware and the entire Northeast, especially along the coast, continue to be enthralled by the invasion of snowy owls this winter. Jim White, who coordinates Christ- mas bird counts up and down Delaware for the Delmarva Omithological Soety, said the owls are definitely the bird story of the year for Delaware. "We have them up here in New Castle County, at Prime Hook and Bombay Hook na- tional wildlife refuges, at Port Penn, Cape Henlopen State Park and Delaware Seashore State Park," said White.. "The latest theory is that last summer, conditions were so good in the Arctic, the owls bred like crazy. So many repro- duced that it created the biggest irruption of snowy owls ever recorded, by far." Because there was such a huge reproduction of the owls, the oncoming winter forced the young owls to the coast and southward to find food. Irruption is the term used to define a sudden rushing into an area by something, such as has happened along the northeast coast of the U.S. with the owls. Part of the exceptional condi- tions last summer may have been bountiful populations of lemmings and voles - rodents - that make up a large part of the owls' summer diet. [Take a look at a photograph included with this column at capegazette.com showing 70 dead lemmings and voles brought to a ground-level nest by parent owls for food even before the four eggs in the nest hatched.] Owls can lay anywhere from two to 10 eggs, and when there's plenty of food, many of them can survive until winter, when competition for scarcer food drives them elsewhere to hunt. According to articles at CorneU University's eBird.org website, scientists are study- ing whether climate change in the Arctic - such as a shrinking polar ice cap - is contributing to population variations in crea- tures like lemmings and owls. Delaware's bay shore and coast offer ideal expansion ar- eas for the owls because of the wide-open marshes and dunes, and their attendant populations of rodents, ducks and other sea birds that the owls hunt and eat. White and a few teams ofvoP DENNIS FORNEY PHOTO A SINGLE, mature bald eagle soars over Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach. unteers will spread out across Sussex County this weekend to gather observations for the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Counts. Those counts of any species of birds they can find, and their ap- proximate numbers, help gauge the health of bird populations across the U.S. White said records show there were snowy owl irrup- tions back in the 1800s, but none to rival what's been seen Continued on page 8