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Lewes, Delaware
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April 21, 1995     Cape Gazette
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April 21, 1995

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 21 - April 27, 1995 Governor Carper unveils Shaping Delaware's Future Act Governor Thomas R. Carper has proposed legislation that would extend the date for comple- tion of county comprehensive plans by one year in order to bring their completion in line with schedules for major state planning activities. The proposal, .the "Shaping Delaware's Future" act, was trig- gered by Carper's concerns over the current practice of planning without coordinating - and invest- ing without planning - that fre- quently plagues Delaware land use decisions. To help shape a more coherent vision of Delaware's future, the governor has highlighted legisla- tion that will help rationalize land use planning, manage growth, re- duce traffic congestion and pro- tect the state's environment. It al- so clarifies the role in establishing state plans to guide land use deci- sions made by counties and mu- nicipalities. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. David P. Sokola (D-Newark) and Rep. Vincent A. Lofink (R- Bear), was crafted with input from all three counties working with the Governor's Cabinet Commit- tee on Statewide Planning Issues. Most notably, Senate Bill 116 would extend the date for comple- tion of county comprehensive plans by one year in order to bring their completion in to line with schedules for major state planning activities, such as the Long-Range Transportation Plan and the Wastewater Plan. Up until now, county land use plans have only been used as guides. The Quality of Life Act man- dates that the plans now carry the force of law and sets a December 1995 deadline for the counties to update their land use plans. The Cabinet Committee has re- quested a one-year,extension for county revision plans while the state works on its statewide trans- portation plan. County and state officials hope to mesh the plan- ning efforts of the state transporta- tion plan, as well as several plans being prepared by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, into the counties' land use plans. S.B. 116, which is expected to be introduced when state lawmak- ers reconvene in May, would amend the Quality of Life Act and • would outline a process by which the state reviews county plans. In addition to extending the deadline for completion of county comprehensive plans, S.B. 116 would: • Require coordination of coun- ty capital budgets and plans with state capital budget and invest- ment programs. • Mandate that county compre- hensive plans include some op- tional elements, such as communi- ty design, historical preservation and economic development ele- ments. • Require the state to complete plans within promised time flames and identify the types of information the state is obligated to provide to support county plan- ning efforts. Also, the legislation would en- sure that the location of public fa- cilities, such as schools and li- braries, would be determined in a cooperative way among mutually • acceptable guidelines. • Require the state to provide useful assessments and reporting concerning state land use and de- velopment goals, estimates of fu- ture financial capabilities, state fa- cility location plans, etc. • Specifically address the state's review and comment process, in- cluding the need for state review and timing thereof. • Outline that the state shall not be obligated to provide financial assistance or infrastructure im- provements to support county land use or development actions which are inconsistent with pre- approved state plans and policies. • Authorize the counties to amend their respective plans to provide for the creation of dis- tricts, from which and to which development rights may be trans- ferred. Members of the Cabinet Com- mittee and Sen. Sokola will hold a community meeting on Tuesday, April 25 to provide information about and solicit citizen input re- garding the act. The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the John Dickinson High School Au- ditorium in Wilmington. Carper has launched a statewide comprehensive planning effort, "Shaping Delaware's Future." The effort includes a series of public workshops and meetings eliciting input from hundreds of Delawareans on a wide array of development and planning issues. The results of that outreach ef- fort will help guide state agency planning and program activities, as well as create an ongoing process to involve the public and maximize limited resources. Carper has outlined a plan to in- vest a $220 million windfall, which made possible through a settlement with New York State over abandoned property. His pro- posed 21st Century Fund invest- ment strategy includes initiatives to improve Delaware's education- al system, support the state's economy, preserve and protect the environment, and enhance neigh- borhoods and communities. In addition to support for pro- jects ranging from educational technology to state park improve- ments, Carper's proposed 21st Century Fund investment strategy includes $40 million to acquire additional open space, $40 million to preserve rapidly depleting farmland, $25 million to invest in local water and wastewater pro- jects, $15 million for neighbor- hood revitalization and $15 mil- lion for community reinvestment. Planning Conference April 28 By Denise M. Marshall State officials will unveil a proposed 25-year vision plan for the state during the Second Statewide Planning Conference on Friday, April 28 in Dover. Gov. Thomas R. Carper's Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues, state and county agencies, and concerned citi- zens have worked since December to develop guidelines for the di- rection Delawareans want the state to take in guiding future devel- opment. The results of this effort have been documented in a report, Shaping Delaware's Future. The report is a statewide development blueprint for Delaware's future that will outline specifically what direction Delaware resi- dents want their state to go. The Cabinet Committee and state and county agencies will use this blueprint to guide them in their plan- ning efforts. State officials will present the Shaping Delaware's Future report and discuss plans for making the plan a reality during the Second Statewide Planning Conference. Cabinet Committee members will explain specific actions called for in the report, and a question and answer period will be provided. As of Thursday (April 20), more than 140 people had registered for the second conference, according to Donna Sharp, a spokesper- son for the Office of State Planning Coordination. The conference will focus on the presentation of the Shaping Delaware's Future re- port, she said. Sharp noted that the draft report is not final. "It's another phase; it's another step," she said. c Following the conference, public interactive open houses were scheduled in each county to encourage citizens to take part in devel- oping the vision for the future. More than 100 residents turned out for a workshop in Sussex County on March 8. Based on the results from the first conference, workshops in each county, a telephone survey and dozens of meetings with interest groups, the Cabinet Committee uncovered consensus views on top- ics related to development, infrastructure, economic development and quality of life issues. The Cabinet Committee has adopted a preliminary set" of goals re- lated to some of the major issues facing Delaware. Preliminary goals and issues identified by the committee include: • Directing growth to existing centers by focusing on existing communities and urban conceitrations; • Preserving farmland and open space; • Creating and maintaining quality jobs; • Providing access to educational opportunities and health care; • Streamlining regulatory processes; • Encouraging public water and sewer systems, including the revi- talization of existing systems; and • Preserving capacity of major transportation systems while meet- ing the goals identified in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Ef- ficiency Act (ISTEA) and the Clean Air Act. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on April 28 at the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center on U.S. 13 in Dover. Taco Bell plans to open two restaurants in the resort area By Denise M. Marshall A Taco Bell franchiser hopes to ring up sales in the resort area this summer. R&R Ventures East, Inc., based in Annapo- lis, Md., plans to open two Taco Bell restau- rants in the Rehoboth Beach area, according to Gary Houck, one of the owners of the fran- chise business. The company signed a lease last week to rent space where the Country Squire operated ill downtown Rehoboth for years before filing for bankruptcy last fall, according to Betty Gallo, of Prudential Joy-Gallo, Realtors. "I think it'll be a nice addition to Rehoboth Avenue," Gallo said. The second store would be located in the former John Hanson Bank building near Re- hoboth Mall, according to Houck. The franchise company hopes to open a Taco Bell in the former Country Squire site be- fore Memorial Day, Houck said. He projected that the company would need to hire 70 to 75 full- and part-time employees for the Rehoboth Avenue restaurant. "We're real excited about being in Re- hoboth," Houck said. "We've been trying to secure this territory for three years." Houck said his company is also looking for space in Dewey Beach to operate a Taco Bell. R&R Ventures East hopes to open a Taco Bell in the closed bank building near Rehoboth Mall by July 1, according to Houck. The com- pany will need a crew of close to 60 workers during the summertime, he said. The planned Taco Bell on Del. 1 will be open year round. However, the company may limit operating hours in the winter at the restaurant on Re- hoboth Avenue, Houck said. "Our intention is to try to be open year round, limited hours," he said. The Taco Bell on Rehoboth Avenue will have indoor seating, as well as a walk-up take- out window. The restaurant on Del. 1 will have indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a drive- through window. Unlike the limited menu available at Wawa Food Markets, the Taco Bell franchise restau- rants will offer a full menu. Taco Bell's menu includes Mexican pizzas, taco salads, burritos, hard and soft tacos. In addition, Taco Bell has introduced a new "Border Lights" menu, which is comprised of reduced fat products. "They taste just like the original products, but don't have all the fat," Houck said. The "Border Lights" menu offers low-fat taco salad, burritos and tacos. Customers can further reduce fat by requesting non-fat cheese and non-fat sour cream. R&R Ventures East is a franchise company that operates a dozen Taco Bell restaurants in Maryland and Delaware, including a restaurant in Seaford. Taco Bell plans to open in the former Country Squire on Rehoboth Avenue.