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April 4, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 4, 1997

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 4- April 10, 1997 - 13 Sussex Council defers decision on C.2 commercial zone By Michael Short Sussex County Council de- ferred action on a C-2 commercial zone on April 1. The Council deferred action and decided to keep the public record open until May 5 because County Councilman George Cole could not attend. Cole has championed the new commercial zoning. But he could not attend Tuesday's ses- sion because of a family health concern. The proposed zoning would im- pact projects of at least 50,000 square feet in size and is consid- ered a response to large commer- cial proposals such as Wal-Mart. The ordinance would require more landscaping, increased buffer zones and in some cases, access to neighboring commercial properties. Cole has argued that a store the size of a Lowe's or Kmart shouldn't be treated the same way as a morn and pop business. He ar- gued that a new zoning category makes sense. Tuesday's public hearing by county council was relatively qui- et with only a handful of speakers. The issue drew support from Mike Tyler, president of the Citi- zens Coalition, and from Mable Granke. It drew opposition from Joe Hudson and Rich Collins. County Council President Dale Dukes said that he felt the 50,000 square foot minimum size was too small and suggested a larger size would be more appropriate. How stores stack up in C-2 zoning Sussex County is now considering a new C-2 zoning. The C-2 zone is currently proposed to impact commercial projects over 50,000 square feet in size, although that proposed size could easily change. Here is a partial list of some Sussex County projects to give a feel for the size of the projects which could be affected. Most are on or near Route 1 Wal-Mart (Seaford)----148,332 square feet Ames (near Rehoboth)--50,496 square feet Family Dollar on Route 24---11,600 square feet Jamesway Building (Georgetown) 43,278 square feet Lighthouse Plaza--140,400 square feet. Kmart--117,162 square feet. Lewes Farmers Mart--23,000 square feet. Lowe's (existing)----35,700 square feet. One in ten Sussex farmers signs up for protection plan as interest continues to grow By Michael Short districts. Far fewer farmers have Nearly ten percent of Sussex actually sold development rights,, farmland is being protected under but McGrath is ecstatic. 135,000  the statewide agricultural preser- acres of Delaware farmland have- vation program, been set aside in agricultural That's considered a dramatic preservation districts after the De- success story which is growing by partment had hoped to reach a leaps and bounds. On March 13, goal of 100,000 acres, he Said. the Sussex County Planning and "We need to set higher goals." Zoning Commission recommend- He said another $7 million may ed that another 14 parcels of land be set aside this year to purchase be included in agricultural preser- devdopment rights in Delaware. vation districts. In Sussex, the program has pro- Under the voluntary program, tected less land and McGrath be- farmers can have their land in- lieves that is because farmers in eluded in agricultural preservation other areas feel the loss of farm- districts if they promise not to de- land more acutely. He believes velop it for a decade. They receive that farmers in New Castle Coun- tax incentives and similar bene- ty may think it is too late to do ' fits. They can also later try to sell anything while farmers in Sussex : development rights for their land have not been as quick to believe" to the state, the problem is severe because; If the state agrees to purchase Sussex County still has so much those development rights, the open farmland. farmers agree to never develop the But still, nearly 10 percent of f land. Sussex County farmland has been i It's considered a key way to set aside in preservation districts,, protect farmland and it is exceed- he said. Approximately 28,000 ) ing beyond the wildest expecta- acres has been put in the districts,, titus of supporters. Mike Me- almost ten percent of the slightly / Grath, who runs the Delaware over 300,000 acres of the county ; Agriculture Department Agricul- farmland. Of that Sussex farm- - tural Preservation Section, said land, the owners of 21,300 acres s that roughly 25 percent of are waiting to sell development t Delaware's farmland is now in- rights to the state. That is a total of 'f eluded in the program. I 11 applications, McGrath said. Most of that land has been in- "In recent months, it has reallyY eluded in agricultural preservation picked up." Hudson said he didn't under- stand the need for the zoning and argued that it looks like just a ploy to stop development. Tyler said it will allow development, but that it will mean better development. In a letter to County Planning and Zoning, Tyler had written that if we don't manage growth, "it will manage us." The president of the Citizens Coalition said that development can be attractive with berms and trees and attractive entrances. "I think we can do better." Granke agreed, saying that de- velopment can be an asset to the community which doesn't cause traffic problems. She urged cre- ativity in development and said that development doesn't always have to be ugly. A C-2 "can help Sussex be what it can be," Granke said. But Collins said that develop- ment has meant growth and better prices which have helped the av- erage Sussex County resident. He said that less growth means higher prices at the checkout line for shoppers. He argued that the new C-2 zone will mean unnecessary and often grueling public hearings which make it harder for econom- ic growth to occur. "I believe the quality of life is dramatically bet- ter than before the development some people complain about," Collins said. Now you have a choice for Safety, Styling & Comfort 1997 Cutlass Supreme 4 Door Sedan ' $19,500 MSRP V6 engine, power windows, power door locks, dual air bags, 1315 DIVER DISCOUNT power steering, ar condmoning, 16" aluminum wheels, 2500 CASH OR TRADE cruise control, tilt steering wheel,-AM/FM stereo radio with 750 REBATE cassette and more, ,14,935 QUANTITIES ARE VERY LIMITED! :>Cutlass Supreme by Oldsmobile. 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