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January 8, 2008     Cape Gazette
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January 8, 2008

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Delaware Cape Re00;ion history in photographs Letters Continued from page 6 Until now, we all paid fair taxes for motor fuel, property, real estate and income that financed infrastructure costs in the state and county. Allocation of these infrastructure resources was made by our local elected representa- tives as new housing communities were built in locations selected by private developers in areas their customers chose to live. An example of this partnership is the expansion of Sussex County's public sewer and water under way today to bring clean water and sewer to areas like Bridgeville, Ellendale, Oak Orchard, Angola, Cave Neck Road and even to Lincoln. Taxes paid by all citi- zens paid for these needed improvements as homeowners gradually moved into the new areas. Today, the governor and State Planning Office want Sussex County to believe they have a bet- ter idea. They want state planners to control all land-use planning and to downzone 75 percent of Sussex County telling the citizens they can no longer build homes in rural areas for any reason. The have to build only around the 10 small existing towns. It doesn't matter where the buyers want to live, the state knows what is best for them. They justify this draconian change in the name of anti-sprawl and "Livable Delaware." It'is a naked power grab that takes planning and zoning author- ity and home rule away from Sussex County Council and trans- fers it to unelected bureaucrats in Dover. This change is being pro- moted by the state in the guise of the 2008 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. I pray that Sussex County offi- cials resist this effort and tell the state to mind its own business. They have already ruined Kent and New Castle counties with impossible government restric- tions. The only jobs left in the northern two counties are associ- ated with government regulation and medical care. In addition, Jud Bennetf and state planners now want to shift the entire cost burden for roads, sewers, water lines, police protec- tion and fire stations to the devel- oper. Taxes have already been collected by Sussex County and DelDOT to support this growth, but it's a great way to halt all growth if you suddenly say "let's make the developer pay for all new infrastructure." I would be in favor of this radical step if the state would eliminate the 26-cent per gallon motor fuel tax paid into the Transportation Trust Fund and misappropriated yearly by gov- ernment salaries. And let's elim- inate the 3 percent real estate transfer tax paid by every new homebuyer and seller. It would really stimulate the real estate market. And stop the taxes we pay for property each year that we thought were to be spent on new sewer lines and water towers. Since I doubt state and local gov- ernments are going to rebate the taxes we have already paid for infrastructure, the only result of requiring developers to pay for all new roads and sewers will be to force them to leave the state and never come back. Jud Bennett and every state planner knows well the practical result of an "adequate public facilities" ordi- nance is to stop all new growth, forever. I want Sussex County to be an economically vibrant and growing county. The current county coun- cil has guided this growth with an ey.e toward the free market sys- tem. They knew the recent boom was unsustainahle. They took the correct course of action and let the expansion dissipate when supply CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, January 8 - Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 7 Delaware Public Archives photo Broad Creek once boasted commercial-grade water for Laurel Broad Creek branches eastward off the Nanticoke River in western Sussex County south of Seaford. The creek carries navigable water up to the downtown area of Laurel where sail- ing and motor vessels used to tie up at commercial wharves to load and unload a variety of raw materials headed out to the world and finished goods brought in from larger towns and cities on Chesapeake Bay. This photograph from the early 20th century shows a converted schooner offioading timber for a lumber company in downtown Laurel. The photograph is part of the Harold T. Purnell Collection. grew faster than demand. They didn't need Jud Bennett to inter- cede with a new government plan to control growth. Sussex County has a great climate, won- derful beaches, a smart county council that has set broad rules and resisted the temptation to micro-manage a complex econo- my with too much government. If you want Sussex County to halt all economic activity with the State Planning Office making all the rules for future growth, then Jud Bennett is your man. I will work diligently to ensure we elect a candidate who supports property rights, sustained eco- nomic growth, jobs for the middle class and low taxes paying for infrastructure decided by Sussex County Council. The choice will be clear in 2008. I welcome the opportunity to compare and contrast these two very different approaches to gov- ernment planning and determine which is best for Sussex County in the long run. Dave Kenton Milford Rehoboth. Mall thanks community The Rehoboth Mall & "The Cordish Co. would like to thank everyone who donated to the Toys for Tots foundation. Curves, the official drop-off location for the second year, was very pleased how the amount of donations increased this year. We expect our third year to be even larger. Kelly Cook Property manager Sussex council president defends comprehensive plan For Americans, the New Year allows us the chance to look back on the busy year that was, to reflect on what we have accom- plished and what we might have done differently. It is also the right time to look forward, to consider the new tasks that lie ahead and seize the opportunities that await US. Indeed, 2007 was a busy year for Sussex County government, as the county took the first steps early in the year to begin the com- plicated yet important task of updating its five-year comprehen- sive plan. This plan is a blueprint for how the county expects to progress in the years to come, and it address- es a variety of issues, from land use and agriculture preservation to open space protection and transportation mobility. Our work has taken consider- able time over the course of 2007. COMMENTARY Dale Dukes With our consultant, the county has spent the past year conducting meetings, receiving citizen input and talking with various local and state officials about the collective vision for Sussex County. The year may be over. But much work remains for us as we move into 2008. As many are aware, the county recently received the state of Delaware's 66-page letter con- taining official agency comments in reference to the draft compre- hensive plan for Sussex County. Our staff is now reviewing these comments, which are offered through the state's Preliminary Land Use Service process. We will be working in the com- ing weeks and months to address the issues raised by various agen- cies and others so that Sussex County can move forward to the public hearing stage and ultimate adoption and certification of its plan. On the surface, many of the comments outlined in the letter can be easily addressed, and will be by county staff and our con- sultant. However, other issues raised by the state seem to indi- cate that not everyone, even in government, is aware of the many things Sussex County is doing. One claim cited in the letter from the state is that Sussex County did not consult with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in developing its draft plan. County staff has met and will continue to meet with anyone or any group who would like to comment on the plan. County staff has met with numerous individuals and groups, including the Center for the Inland Bays, as requested throughout the last year of this process. We continue to take com- ments via email through our web- site, www.sussex, as well as by letter. To the best of our knowledge, DNREC did not request such a meeting, although we regularly meet with DNREC representa- tives on a variety of other issues such as wastewater, pollution control strategy, storm water, etc. In fact, Sussex County met with DNREC on Dec. 3, 2007, regard- ing the comprehensive plan, and we will meet with them again regarding the same. Sussex County has a history of working with the state on many issues and will continue to do so. In the state's comments, it is noted that more coordination is needed with the state. While more coordination can never hurt, it is only fair to note that Sussex County is already working togeth- er with the state on many fronts. For example, the county, for more than a decade, has partially funded additional state police in Sussex to meet the needs of a growing population. This year's county budget includes $1.6 mil- lion for additional state police. Just this past fall, the county Continued on page 8