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April 18, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 18, 1997
 

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12 - CAPE , Friday, April 18- April 24, 1997 0m FJmmnh photo Dewey Beach residents Vivian Barry (on left) and Mar Tillnmn lead the way on a walk along the Silver Lake right-of.way on Thursday. Barry and Tillman are joked by fellow Chesapeake Street residents (l-r) Bob Barry, AI Truman, Kathy King and Ire King. Superior Court Judge Henley Graves ordered th/s past Tuesday that the path remain open to the pub- lie, despite the efforts of the owners of four Silver Lake homes and the Delaware Department of mnsportat/en (DelDO. Silver Lake Continued from page I into a conservation easement with public access limited to a small pathway." Graves cited a 1992 Chancery Court decision in which it was termined that Lake Drive was a dedicated public and common highway. The court-ordered access route extended Lake Drive at Penn Street in Rehohoth Beach around the eastern edge of Silver Lake to the developer Richard Judge's property. "The importance of the Chancery Court decision is that it recognized Lake Drive as a public road and common highway," Graves wrote. "Being a public highway, it 'belongs to the public and is open to all.'" Graves also sympathized with the petitioners. "This convenience [of the right- of-way] to the public translates in- to an understandable inconve- nience to the four property owners directly affected," noted Graves. Graves wrote that he recognizes the fact that the pedestrian traffic "brings noise, litter, fears about the safety of the landowners' properties and concerns that the continued usage of the road is having a negative environmental impact." However, he also added that the degree of ecological impact may be "impossible to quantify" be- cause of development in the area. In his decision, Graves said that not only would the public's inter- est be met if the path remain open, but the roadway would continue to be used as it was meant to be. 'There is significant interest in the public using this roadway, as this portion of Lake Drive has sig- nificant public utility," cited Graves. "Lake Drive encircles Silver Lake. That is what it is meant to do. To remove lg7 feet would hinder the public's right to use the road as originally envi- sioned." Members of the public who op- posed the vacation said they think Graves'ruling was just. "I'm exhilarated that the public can make progress up against such strong forces like what we were up against," said Marte Tillman, a Dewey Beach resident who has spearheaded opposition to the va- cation. "It took five months, but it was five months of a rewarding experience." Vivian Barry said she feels that the needs of the public have been met by not closing the path. "I'm glad it's over," she said. "I hope the town will work with us to make sure that it's a safe and clean path, and to show the petitioners that it's going to be a clean path that's safe for them." William Manning, attorney for the petitioners, was unable to be reached for comment. The peti- tioners have within 30 days of the decision to file an appeal. Sussex Council receives good marks for land use plan from state By Michael Short Sussex County Council re- ceived generally good comments on its land use plan from state cab- inet committee members on Tues- day. But the cabinet level committee on state planning still has until the end of May to submit its final rec- ommendations on the county's plan Members of the committee at- tended the April 15 meeting of Sussex County Council. "In many ways, it takes some very signifi- cant steps forward," said commit- tee chair Jeffrey Bullock. "You deserve congratulations." The cabinet committee will make recommendations and County Council must then consid- er those recommendations. But te County Council is not required to follow their recommendations when it votes on final adoption. Members of the committee in attendance included Bullock, Delaware Department of Trans- portation (DelDOT) Secretary Ann Canby, Delaware Depart- ment of Agriculture Secretary Jack Tarburton and State Housing Authority Director Susan Frank. Several praised the plan which was completed March 25 and sub- mitted for state comments. 'Where is a good bit of work ahead of us. I think we have made a strong start," said Bullock, who was re- luctant to give specifics of how the state should best deal with land use issues. He was asked if the state would set land use and planning priori- ties by County Councilman George Cole. He replied that transportation is a priority, but it's very hard to de- termine where the priorities best lie between so many issues. "Should we target money we have better? We probably could do that," according to Bullock. For example, transportation is a priority. But so is providing af- fordable housing, protecting the inland bays and preserving open space and farmland. "It seems like you are trying to make everyone a little bit happy," Cole said. "They are not easy answers," said Dale Dukes, the Sussex County Council president. Other members of the commit- tee agreed. "We have to reconcile what we want to do and what we can do with what resources we do have," said Canby. Sussex Planners deny minimum lot size, C-2; approve sunsetting By Michael Short Sussex County Planning and Zoning is dealing with the after- math of the county land use plan---the bucketful of ordinances needed to support the plan. The planners voted on three or- dinances on Thursday, April 10. Planners considered a minimum lot size for land not in areas with central sewer facilities, a new C-2 zoning and a sunsetting provision for subdivisions. The Planners make recommen- dations on the issues to County Council, which has the final say. The county sent its land use plan to the state for comments last month. When the plan is given ap- proval (the state cabinet commit- tee has until roughly the end of May to make recommendations), the county will have an additional year to develop ordinances to sup- port the plan. Ordinances will in- clude lot sizes, corridor preserva- tion ordinances, open space ordi- nances, residential planned com- munity changes, intergovemmen- tal coordination, strip develop- ment and manufactured home placement revisions. The Planners opposed the C-2 zoning and minimum lot sizes, but voted yes for sunsetting of subdi- visions. "I really do not see the need of having two commercial zones," said Commissioner Don- aid Ralph. "Maybe I am wrong, but that is the way I see it." That provision did not pass. It would have created some addi- tional requirements designed to boost safety and beau.ty for large commercial projects such as shop- ping centers or major retail stores. Those additionalrequirements were proposed for projects such as a Wal-Mart and would affect complexes of over 50,000 square feet in size. Councilman George Cole has argued that such large projects have much greater im- pact. There has been discussion of increasing the minimum project size to as much as 100,000 square feet in size. "Whether they want the benefits of our comments or not, I would like them [Sussex County Coun- cil] to have them," said Commis- sioner Robert Wheatley. Commissioners have wondered why ordinances were drafted so quickly before a land use plan was voted upon in some cases. They recommended denial of the minimum lot size of one acre in areas with individual septic sys- tems. They turned it down be- cause County Council has since decided to support a minimum lot size of three quarter acre, meaning the ordinance would be in direct conflict with the land use plan. But the commission did support sunsetting of subdivision approval after five years. That was support- ed despite concern over a provi- sion which means the county must determine when substantial work is done on any subdivision. If sub- stantial work is not done in five years, .then the approval would be rescinded and planners worried that the lack of specific guidelines could be a legal challenge waiting to happen. Classic Kitchens VISIT OUR SHOWROOM "We specialize in custom kitchen work, counters, cabinets, flooring. When I leave the job, it's done right." B Ron Connor, proprietor Classic Kitchens 1111 Five Pointe Plaza Next to Western Auto 645-5810 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday beginning May1  " .   ....... .-.:... .......  :: .. . ,- *...: .: : :- ? ".. " ' ..... : :: : :": : I ::': - i i!i '